Bullitt Lecture in Mathematics by Erik Demaine, "Geometric Puzzles: Algorithms and Complexity"

When Mar 29, 2012
from 06:30 PM to 07:30 PM
Where Middleton Auditorium\: Strickler Hall 101
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Bullitt Lecture in Mathematics by Erik Demaine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "Geometric Puzzles: Algorithms and Complexity"

"Origami mathematics" could hold keys to other scientific problems

Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer scientist Erik Demaine, who is known for his interest in where art and math intersect, will talk about geometric puzzles  March 29 at the University of Louisville.

Demaine will give the free, public talk, "Geometric Puzzles: Algorithms and Complexity," at 6:30 p.m. in Room 101, Strickler Hall. Demaine's talk is the annual Bullitt lecture sponsored by the UofL mathematics department.

The Bullitt family endowed the general-interest lecture series to honor former U.S. Solicitor General William Marshall Bullitt's interest in mathematics.

Demaine’s research interests in problem-solving range from the geometry of how proteins fold to the data structures that improve web searches. He co-wrote the books “Games, Puzzles and Computation” about the computational complexity of games and “Geometric Folding Algorithms” about the theory of folding.

As a visual artist, he collaborates with his father in media including glass and paper sculpture. His curved-crease folded paper structures are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and he recently was featured in the “Between the Folds” documentary about the art and science of paper folding, or origami.

Demaine joined the MIT faculty in 2001 at age 20 and received a MacArthur fellowship in 2003.

For more information, call Jake Wildstrom at 502-852-5845

Erik Demaine

Erik Demaine-2012Abstract: I love geometry because the problems and solutions are fun and often tangible.  Puzzles are one way to express these two features, and are also a great source of their own computational geometry problems: which puzzles can be solved and/or designed efficiently using computer algorithms?  Proving puzzles to be computationally difficult leads to a mathematical sort of puzzle, designing gadgets to build computers out of puzzles.  I will describe a variety of algorithmic and computational complexity results on geometric puzzles, focusing on more playful and recent results.

Bio: Erik Demaine is a Professor in Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Demaine's research interests range throughout algorithms, from data structures for improving web searches to the geometry of understanding how proteins fold to the computational difficulty of playing games.  He received a MacArthur Fellowship (2003) as a "computational geometer tackling and solving difficult problems related to folding and bending--moving readily between the theoretical and the playful, with a keen eye to revealing the former in the latter".  Erik cowrote a book about the theory of folding, together with Joseph O'Rourke (Geometric Folding Algorithms, 2007), and a book about the computational complexity of games, together with Robert Hearn (Games, Puzzles, and Computation, 2009).

His interests span the connections between mathematics and art, including curved origami sculptures in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.


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