And Logic Begat Computer Science: When Giants Roamed the Earth

  • 2011-01-26
  • Research

There has been extensive and growing interaction between logic and computer science. In fact, logic has been called "the calculus of computer science"


During the past fifty years there has been extensive, continuous, and growing interaction between logic and computer science. In fact, logic has been called “the calculus of computer science”. The argument is that logic plays a fundamental role in computer science, similar to that played by calculus in the physical sciences and traditional engineering disciplines. Indeed, logic plays an important role in areas of computer science as disparate as architecture (logic gates), software engineering (specification and verification), programming languages (semantics, logic programming), databases (relational algebra and SQL), artificial intelligence (automated theorem proving), algorithms (complexity and expressiveness), and theory of computation (general notions of computability). This non-technical talk will provide an overview of the unusual effectiveness of logic in computer science by surveying the history of logic in computer science, going back all the way to Aristotle and Euclid, and showing how logic actually gave rise to computer science.

Biographical Sketch

Moshe Y. Vardi is the George Professor in Computational Engineering and Director of the Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology Institute at Rice University. He is the co-recipient of three IBM Outstanding Innovation Awards, the ACM SIGACT Gödel Prize, the ACM Kanellakis Award, the ACM SIGMOD Codd Award, and the Blaise Pascal Medal. He is the author and co-author of about 400 papers, as well as two books: “Reasoning about Knowledge” and “Finite Model Theory and Its Applications”. He is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers. He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the European Academy of Science, and Academia Europea. He holds honorary doctorates from the Saarland University in Germany and Orleans University in France.


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