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  • Colloquium on Digital Transformation Science
  • August 20, 3 pm CT

    Lessons from COVID-19: Efficiency vs. Resilience

    Moshe Y. Vardi, University Professor, Karen Ostrum George Distinguished Service Professor in Computational Engineering, Rice University


    In both computer science and economics, efficiency is a cherished property. In computer science, the field of algorithms is almost solely focused on their efficiency. In economics, the main advantage of the free market is that it promises "economic efficiency." A major lesson from COVID-19 is that both fields have over-emphasized efficiency and under-emphasized resilience. Professor Vardi argues that resilience is a more important property than efficiency and discusses how the two fields can broaden their focus to make resilience a primary consideration. He will include a technical example, showing how we can shift the focus in formal reasoning from efficiency to resilience.

    Moshe Y. Vardi is a University Professor and the Karen Ostrum George Distinguished Service Professor in Computational Engineering at Rice University. He is the recipient of three IBM Outstanding Innovation Awards, the ACM SIGACT Goedel Prize, the ACM Kanellakis Award, the ACM SIGMOD Codd Award, the Blaise Pascal Medal, the IEEE Computer Society Goode Award, the EATCS Distinguished Achievements Award, the Southeastern Universities Research Association's Distinguished Scientist Award, and the ACM SIGLOG Church Award. He is the author and co-author of over 600 papers and the books Reasoning about Knowledge and Finite Model Theory and Its Applications. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Mathematical Society, the Association for Computing Machinery, the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science, the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the European Academy of Science, and Academia Europaea. He holds six honorary doctorates. He is currently a Senior Editor of the Communications of the ACM, after having served for a decade as its Editor-in-Chief.

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