Annual Lecture

Life and Random Algorithms

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
Bruce Hajek

Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum
600 South Gregory, Urbana

Event Description


Life and random algorithms are intertwined. Individuals and communities are built upon random algorithms, through mechanisms of mutation and biological regulatory networks for evolution of individuals, to social order emerging from traditions, constitutions, and communication platforms. Random algorithms are increasingly exerting themselves in modern living. Distributed trust and social choice can be supported by algorithms, with randomization providing simplicity and tractability. Random selection is central to science as in thermodynamics and quantum mechanics. Humans embrace randomness, witnessed by the lure of lotteries and gambling. And humans are creating new random algorithms at an accelerating pace.

This talk explores the symbiosis between life and random algorithms, the moderating influence of the law of large numbers, randomness in religion, free will, and opportunities and pitfalls for the human condition.

A reception follows the talk

Bruce Hajek

Hajek at podiumCenter for Advanced Study Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Coordinated Science Laboratory
Hoeft Endowed Chair in Engineering