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Go Figure: Predicting the World with Math

Sunday, June 1, 2014
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Algorithms are the unsung heroes of everything from fighting crime and searching the world’s information to selecting movies and even choosing mates. These complex digital decision-making mechanisms mine mountains of data to make predictions for, well, nearly anything. And analysts thus armed are revealing unexpected connections between widely disparate systems. Join an exploration of the surprising predictive power of math, and probe the theoretical limits of even the most promising computers of tomorrow. We’re tackling ever more complex problems-but are there some problems simply beyond the reach of machines?

This program is part of the Big Ideas Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.

Moderator

Ira FlatowRadio Host

Ira Flatow is the host of Science Friday on PRI, Public Radio International. He anchors the show each Friday, bringing radio and Internet listeners worldwide a lively, informative discussion on science, technology, health, space and the environment. Flatow is president of ScienceFriday, Inc. and founder and president of Science Friday Initiative.

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Participants

James FowlerSocial Scientist

James Fowler is a social scientist studying networks, behavior, evolution, and genetics. He is a professor of political science and medical genetics at the University of California, San Diego, and a 2010 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

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Steven StrogatzMathematician

Steven Strogatz is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of applied mathematics at Cornell University. He studied at Princeton, Cambridge, and Harvard and taught at MIT before moving to Cornell. He is a renowned teacher and one of the world’s most highly cited mathematicians.

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Andrew W. LoFinancial Engineer

Andrew W. Lo is a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, the director of MIT’s Laboratory for Financial Engineering, a principal investigator at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, and an affiliated faculty member of the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

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Seth LloydMechanical Engineer, Author

Seth Lloyd is currently the professor of quantum-mechanical engineering at MIT and the director of the W.M. Keck Center for Extreme Quantum Information Theory. Lloyd is the first person to develop a realizable model for quantum computation.

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