News articles

Vienna Gödel Lecture 2014

Youngest professor of computer science, Erik Demaine, at the Vienna Gödel Lecture.

Algorithms Meet Art, Puzzles, and Magic
The "Vienna Gödel Lecture of the Faculty of Informatics 2014" will be held on June 4th, 2014 by Erik Demaine from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He became with 20 years the youngest professor of computer science. Already in his childhood Erik Demaine designed and made puzzles together with his father, and distributed them as the Erik and Dad Puzzle Company to toy stores across Canada. So began the journey into the interactions between algorithms and the arts. More and more, Erik Demaine and his father find that their mathematical research and artistic projects converge, with the artistic side inspiring the mathematical side and vice versa.

Mathematics itself is an art form, and through other media such as sculpture, puzzles, and magic, the beauty of mathematics can be brought to a wider audience. These artistic endeavors also provide us with deeper insights into the underlying mathematics, by providing physical realizations of objects under consideration, by pointing to interesting special cases and directions to explore, and by suggesting new problems to solve.

This talk will give several examples in each category, from how the first font design led to building transforming robots, to how studying curved creases in origami led to sculptures at MoMA. The audience will be expected to participate in some live magic demonstrations.

17:30 Welcome
Johannes Fröhlich, Vice Rector for Research, TU Wien
Gerald Steinhardt, Dean of the Faculty of Informatics, TU Wien

17:45 Algorithms Meet Art, Puzzles, and Magic
Erik Demaine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

Moderation: Stefan Szeider, Institute of Information Systems, TU Wien

The Vienna Gödel Lectures
The Faculty of Informatics at the Vienna University of Technology established, starting with a talk by Donald E. Knuth in 2013, the annual "Vienna Gödel Lectures of the Faculty of Informatics". The aim of this series is to render Vienna attractive to world-renowned computer scientists, raising its profile as an academic hotspot. Furthermore, this series emphasizes the importance of computer science and its significant contribution to explaining and shaping the world in which we live today.

The lecture series is named after the famous mathematician and logician Kurt Gödel, who accomplished essential parts of his scientific work while in Vienna.

Photo: © Erik Demaine