Christos Papadimitriou: From Informatics to Storytelling and Back

Speaker: Christos Papadimitriou, UC Berkeley
Title: From Informatics to Storytelling and Back
Debate: How to Popularize Informatics and Mathematics?
Time: Friday 24th of August at 18:00
Place: Egget, Student Centre

Christos H Papadimitriou, photo from Wikimedia

Stories are delightful and fundamental — and so is Informatics.  In this talk I shall explore the fascinating interplay between the two:  Is there something computational about story-telling?  And what kind of stories can you tell about Informatics?   Naturally, I shall mention early and often my graphic novel Logicomix ( which tells the epic story of the quest for the Foundations of Mathematics

Debaters: Christos Papadimitriou and Randi Taxt

After the formal debate we will retreat to a nearby bar for informal discussions.

Christos Papadimitriou is the Lester C. Hogan Chair at the University of California at Berkeley.
He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, fellow of the US National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

His research work is in the theory of algorithms, computational complexity and game theory, fields in which he is one of the leading international experts. His books, Elements of the Theory of Computation, Computational Complexity and Combinatorial Optimization: Algorithms and Complexity, are the standard textbooks in their fields, while his first novel, Turing, was published in 2003.

He is known amongst others from the books Computational Complexity, Alan Turing (A Novel About Computation) and Algorithms, not to mention many big contributions to the fields computer science, game theory, mathematics and science in general.

His contributions have been acknowledged by awarding him, amongst other, the Knuth Award (2002) and the Gödel Award (2012).

Randi Taxt is vice-president of Bergen Teknologioverføring and leader of the NFR programme PROREAL that aims for the popularization of the hard sciences in Norway.

In 2009, Papadimitriou co-authored and appeared as a narrative character in the comic book Logicomix, a book about the story and history of mathematics and logic, fields Alan Turing made significant contributions to.

Christos Papadimitriou depicted in yellow


The book centers around the mathematician, logician and philosopher Bertrand Russel, one of the pioneers whose work was fundamental in Alan Turing’s later discoveries.

Bertrand Russell's apple-in-the-head moment, when he realized that naïve set theory was inconsistent.