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August 7, 2023 |
Written by Rafael de la Llave
Edited by Sal Barone
Georgia Tech will host in September three national conferences in the areas of algorithms, approximation, optimization and randomness.
These apparently separate areas have surprising synergies. Clearly, optimization is important for applications where we try to do as well as possible. One needs algorithms to actually compute effectively these optimal results. One also needs to develop systematically simpler models that capture the essential features but are more tractable. Somewhat more surprising is that sometimes including a bit of randomness in the algorithms can help them perform better than a purely deterministic one. Jiggling the algorithmic steps a bit can lead to paths that were difficult to predict, and this can sometimes be more effective than a purely deterministic method. Of course there are other times that noise will confuse the results which makes both methods valuable in different situations.
Understanding and taking advantage to choose between these two possibilities and avoiding the pitfalls of each requires deep mathematics, mathematics that unify these apparently different objects and make quantitative predictions. New paradigms of computation are needed.
GT has been a leader in developing this area of mathematics, and in particular the ACO program has been nationally prominent for decades.
Two series of conferences (RANDOM and APPROX) had been run annually for the last 25+ years. Recently, they have been held jointly, even if they have different history and a different team of organizers.
A third event will be a celebration of the 60 birthday of Prof. Prasad Tetali, who has been a leader in these areas for decades. His career provides a wonderful example of unifying different areas and discovering important synergies.
Prof. Tetali has had most of his career (so far) at GT arriving as a junior assistant professor and leaving as a Regents professor. Prasad has left a profound mark on GT and the School of Mathematics. He is now the head of the Mathematical Sciences Department of Carnegie Mellon. Besides his outstanding scientific contributions and mentoring of students and junior colleagues, organization of national conferences and special years, Prasad performed outstanding service to GT, being director of ARC, director of ACO, and interim chair of the School of Mathematics.
For a joint page for the three events see:
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