27 Jun

Marc Mezard, “Boole, Shannon, and the challenge of data science: A statistical physics perspective”

Wednesday June 29 2016
Scuola Normale Superiore
Aula Azzurra

Marc Mezard
École Normale Supérieure, Paris


In 1854, in his treatise on the Laws of Nature, George Boole had stated a clear goal : « to investigate the fundamental laws of those operations of the mind by which reasoning is performed ». This led him to study the foundations of logic and of probabilities. A century later, Claude Shannon opened the way to a mathematical understanding of information and of its communication. The fields of research initiated by these two giants play a major role in contemporary science, and in particular in the handling of large amounts of data, and in the extraction of information out of these data. However, in large-size problems, collective phenomena of the type studied in statistical physics, like phase transitions, start to play a major role. This talk will study the importance of phase transitions in some core problems of Boolean logics and of information theory, with a special focus on the importance of glassy phases.