Berkeley Lecture 2018: Prof. Sándor Fekete 'The Age of Algorithms: From IDEA Instructions to Altruism'

Thursday, September 27, 2018 - 18:30
JHL4, North Campus, Maynooth University

What are algorithms? In this talk I will discuss them as the driving force behind our ongoing digital revolution that dramatically changes the fundamental connections between many aspects of our world and the way we interact, not just with other humans. I will show how algorithms can be understood without words, how algorithms shape new complex structures - and discuss the challenges and opportunities for unselfish and efficient cooperation in a digital world.

The 2018 Berkeley Lecture will be given by Professor Sándor Fekete, who holds the Chair for Algorithmics at TU Braunschweig, Germany and is Director of the interdisciplinary Center for Informatics, Information Technology and Digitalization ( His scientific work deals with the development and analysis of algorithms, including settings with incomplete information, distributed scenarios and game theory. His teaching (highlighted by the recent IDEA project, has won numerous awards.

The lecture will be followed by a wine reception.


The Berkeley Lecture
The Berkeley Lecture is an annual event at Maynooth University in which a talk on mathematics and philosophy is given by a high-profile visiting speaker. It is sponsored by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and the Department of Philosophy at Maynooth University.
It is named after the famous Irish philosopher George Berkeley(1685-1753), who made major contributions to several areas of philosophy and had a keen interest in the philosophy of mathematics. Bishop Berkeley's 1734 treatise, The Analyst, made a detailed criticism of the Calculus of Newton and Leibnitz. This caused a major headache for mathematics and, over the next century, many great mathematicians tried and failed to overcome the problems highlighted by Berkeley. But, by highlighting problems that were eventually overcome, Berkeley's criticisms ultimately benefited mathematics by putting calculus on a firmer footing and making it safer for use by non-experts by eliminating the possibility of error through plausible but incorrect arguments. It also made the subject easier to teach, although it is still challenging material for students!