Note: Conference ended on Nov 02, 2008, final website can be found here.

Draft completed as of: Fri Aug 1 15:03:53 EDT 2008

For the purpose of setting up moderation and to better communicate with our guests we have put together the following (plausible, yet at this time entirely fictitious) conference program. This is not the actual conference program. It is a program composed of lectures that our guests have already given, elsewhere, perhaps more than once, perhaps in more than one place --- lectures which are now in the public domain and can be downloaded from the web via links like those we provide. The order or the contents of the presentations may differ substantially at the conference. Yet this mock program should count as a feasibility study, as inspiration for us, for our guests and for all prospective conference participants --- and it will help us calibrate the moderators' task of identifying interesting points of discussion and/or debate for the round table discussion. So it should be regarded as a proposed vision and as an exercise of imagination: essentially a thought experiment. The individual pieces are genuine, true, the mosaic is (for now) imaginary. With patience and luck and feedback from the guests themselves (who are reviewing this material now) and from the moderators, this vision will help turn this material from a thought experiment into an actual conference and a long-lasting landmark of inspiration.

Assume the conference starts on Friday at 8am with registration, breakfast and paper sessions.

Registration lasts until 10:00am as does the continental breakfast.

The first set of paper sessions end at 10:30am. Half an hour break.

The second set of paper sessions starts at 11:00am and lasts until 12:30pm.

Registration starts again at 1:00pm and lasts until 4:30pm.

The first talk is scheduled at 4:00pm until 5:00pm.

Martin Davis: The Church-Turing Thesis: Consensus and Opposition
(June 13, 2006: The Origins and Nature of Computation, 21st International Workshop on the History and Philosophy of Science, Research Workshop of the Israel Science Foundation)
Video of talk: available here (please use Internet Explorer)
References: History of Church-Turing Thesis (from Wikipedia)
More: the foreword written for Hilbert's Tenth Problem (book by Matiyasevich)
Photo: Calgary 1982 (with Julia Robinson and Yuri Matiyasevich)
Wikpedia article: Hilbert's Tenth Problem (see contributions by Davis and Putnam)

There is a break until 5:30pm. Lengths of talks are adjustable and entirely negotiable.

There is an opening reception scheduled between 5:30-6:30pm.

The next talk is scheduled between 7:00-8:00pm.

Gregory Chaitin: How real are the real numbers?
Video: parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine (Lisbon, 2004)
Related paper is available here (.pdf).
References: Chaitin's research -- a timeline
More: Elegant Lisp Programs (the limits of formal reasoning)
Also: Randomness and Mathematical Proof
Wikipedia: Gregory Chaitin's Wikipedia entry
List of publications of Gregory J. Chaitin: available here
Famous Chaitin lecture: A Century of Controversy over the Foundations of Mathematics
(Note: this is part 2, there are 8 parts in all. Intro by Manuel Blum. Lecture at CMU in 2000).
Science forecasts: Gregory Chaitin forecasts the future.

There's a 60 minute break, then the next talk is scheduled between 9-10pm.

Dana Scott: The Future of Proof: Must We Depend on Computers?
No video available yet, but here's an abstract of the talk
References: video of a lecture entitled: Social Constructivism as a Philosophy of Mathematics?
Another video of a talk entitled Duality in Projective Geometry
Turing award: lecture (citation) with additional links
Rogue reference to a similar topic.
(Compare NKS with Robin Milner's 1986 address.)

Let's say this is where Friday ends.

Saturday starts out with breakfast between 8-9am.

First presentation Saturday morning is between 9-10am.

Seth Lloyd: Programming the Universe
Video of the author: available here (short, posted in YouTube)
Video of the lecture: available here (precisely this lecture, from the Perimeter Institute)
References: audio of a discussion about his research
URL: video of a panel discussion with David DiVicenzo and others
(The link above from Will Computers Take a Quantum Leap? panel discussion)
Another panel discussion (discussion with Sir Anthony J. Leggett, Leonard Susskind and others)
The Susskind - Lloyd - Fuchs - Leggett - Bob McDonald panel is explained here.
(From The Physics of Information: From Entanglement to Black Holes, December 5, 2007 at 7:00 pm).
Useful link: past public lectures at the Perimeter Inst. for Theoretical Phys. ('t Hooft, Alain Aspect, Wilczek, Johnson etc.)

There is a one hour break and then the next lecture is scheduled between 11am-noon.

Tony Leggett: Does The Everyday World Really Obey Quantum Mechanics?
URL of the lecture: available here see below
(Above link from the University of Sidney lecture, only audio, MP3, slides here)
URL: Tony Leggett's home page at the University of Illinois
URL: 2003 Nobel lecture by Sir Anthony J. Leggett
Here is a link to the Leggett Lecture Series: Superconducting Qubits at IQC - 12 videos
Announcement of a NIST lecture with the same title.
An earlier announcement on the same topic (and another one from the NIST talk).
Note: Tony Leggett is mentioned in this article, as is David Deutsch.
Some thoughts on the same topic from 1994.

There's lunch from noon to 1:00pm and then a new lecture at 1:30pm.

David Deutsch (videoconference from Oxford, UK 1:30-2:00pm plus Q&A)
Lecture: It from Qubit: on the various ways in which computation is, and, importantly, is not, fundamental in physics.
URL: lecture abstract (with an introduction by Paul Davies here)
It from Qubit at Google books (preview of the book, the book page at amazon)
David Deutsch's six lectures on quantum computation (produced by Quiprocone)
(The link above for the six lectures on quantum computation by David Deutsch - videos).
References: available here (link to various videos on David Deutsch's page)
Edge interview: A Talk with David Deutsch (It's a much bigger thing than it looks).
ESI interview: Quantum Cryptography (February 2002)
arXiv:quant-ph/0104033v1 paper: The structure of the multiverse (is determined by information flow).
Book review: Fabric of Reality (mentions the Wheeler paper, has links to other reviews).

The next lecture(r) is not yet entirely confirmed (either in person or via videolink).

Charles Bennett: Quantum information science. 3:00-4:00pm.
Author website: available here contains links to materials, talks and reports
Video of a Charles Bennett lecture: The Second Law and Quantum Physics
(Introduced by Seth Lloyd, at MIT, October 2007)
Another video: Towards a quantum reverse Shannon theorem (slides, .pdf)
(Search for Bennett in the list above, also Brassard in this list).
Search for Charles Bennett in this story on quantum teleportation.

There's a one hour break and a new lecture scheduled at 5:00pm.

Cristian Calude: Unconventional Models of Computation and Alternative Mathematicses
This is a fictitious title imagined based on books written by Prof. Calude and/or round table discussions he has been involved in.
It is also based on an interesting exchange with Stephen Wolfram during the panel discussion at NKS 2007 (see below).
The Rutherford Journal: A memorable talk with G. J. Chaitin.
Computing a Glimpse of Randomness: the paper (with Michael J. Dinneen, and Chi-Kou Shu).
Uncoventional Models of Computation: link to one of the volumes (1998, co-edited with Casti and Dinneen)
Reference: the York Proceedings (2006) co-edited with Dinneen, Paun, Rozenberg and Stepney
Tutorial: Computing with Randomness (York, UK -- 2006, see above)
Home page: available here with links to many more papers, materials
Computing with Cells and Atoms: An Introduction to Quantum, DNA and Membrane Computing (2000, with Gh. Paun)
De-quantizing the solution of Deutsch's problem: paper (Int. J. of Quant. Inf., 2007)
Computing the Incomputable: University of Auckland News (story) and New Scientist (story)
Unconventional Computation: the International Conference Series website
A Stephen Wolfram informal essay dedicated to Gregory Chaitin (NKS 2007)
Jeff Grote's NKS 2007 recordings, including the panel discussion mentioned above.
(Maybe one day I will transcribe part of it, especially the dialogue about alternative mathematicses).

The lecture is scheduled for 5:00-6:00pm.

Dinner is 6:00-7:00pm.

New lecture scheduled at 7:00pm (until 8:00pm).

Ed Fredkin: Finite Nature
Five Big Questions with Pretty Simple Answers: the paper (2004, IBM)
Finite Nature: a copy (Also, from IJTP: An introduction to Digital Philosophy)
Video: Ed Fredkin moderating a panel discussion (on a topic somewhat unrelated)
Video: Fifty Years of Hacks (courtesy Stanford Online)
Announcement of the colloquium whose video is shown above (2005, Stanford)
Video: Computer Consciousness, produced by Microsoft Research, in June 2004
Another abstract of the Fifty Years of Hacks talk.
Search for Fredkin in this page (but take a look at some of the other things as well)
Commentary on the finite nature hypothesis of Ed Fredkin

Break until 9:00pm when the new lecture starts.

Stephen Wolfram: Universality and the Principle of Computational Equivalence
Video of 2004 lecture: available here (MIT Applied Mathematics Colloquia Series)
Contains important quote: text of answer trying to relate the PCE with/and QC
Other references: Stephen Wolfram's official website with links to lectures, speeches, interviews and other publications
Example: AMS/MAA joint invited address (NKS and the Future of Mathematics)
Another example: interview and presentation from 1988.
Here's a recent essay on Universality and the PCE (Oct. 2007)
Another video: available here (audio starts at 3:59, Wolfram at 7:09).

And this is the end of Saturday.

No breakfast on Sunday, there is a Brunch at 10:30am in Tudor Room.

Coffee, doughnuts will be available however for the first lecture 9:00am-10:00am.

Notice that we were initially hoping for a Bruce Colin presentation here.
His presentation would have been based on the end of his book Schroedinger's Rabbits.
It would have had the very approximate title: The Multiverse as a Cellular Automaton.
This kind of title reminds me of "Collision-Based Computing" book edited by Adamatzki.
Brief reference at the book's website: The Many Worlds of Quantum
Colin has had some health issues and may not be able to travel to Bloomington.
He might be able to give his talk via videolink (before or after David Deutsch).
Note: if Roger Penrose had been able to give a talk, how would it have looked?
Guess: Does Mathematics Rule the World? (Still our thought experiment...)
Video: lecture at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (Univ. of Minnesota)
From the same source: interesting Strogatz video (Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order)
Another guess: Discover June 2005 cover story (Is Quantum Mechanics Definitive?)
Here's the lecture: Is quantum mechanics 'incomplete' and do Einstein's principles help complete it?
But, as we noted before, Roger Penrose won't be able to participate in person or via videolink.

So we plan (or, imagine, remember?) a lecture by William Bialek at this time, instead.

William Bialek: 9:00-10:00am
Pushing the Physical Limits: Optimization in Neural Coding and Computation
URLs: William Bialek's home page at Princeton
Lecture: various media available (From photons to perception: A physicist looks at the brain.)
Another lecture: available here (Filtering and Optimal Decision Strategies for Sensorimotor Control)
Look for occurrences of the name Bialek in this document (KITP News Winter '05)
William Bialek: Selected publications, with commentary (Feb. 2004)
A short course on theoretical problems in biophysics (lectures at the University of Rome, Spring 2008)
Somehow researching talks by William Bialek I was eventually led to this talk (on beauty and truth in physics)
Book: Spikes: Exploring the Neural Code (Computational Neuroscience) June 1999

There is a brunch at 10:30am until noon, in Tudor Room.

At 12:30pm a new lecture is planned, although the speaker is not sure he can attend.
Leonid Levin will turn 60 on Sunday Nov 2, 2008. We're not sure if he can come or not.
Meanwhile let's just assume (this is still a thought experiment, OK?) that he will.

Leonid Levin: 12:30-1:30pm
Home page of Leonid Levin at Boston University
Search for the name Leonid Levin in this document (Scott Aaronson's PHYS771 lecture notes)
Possible topics: Randomness and nondeterminism (additional details available here and here)
Search for occurrences of the name Leonid Levin in Scott Aaronson's lecture notes: P, NP, and Friends
Another interesting topic: the arXiv:cs/0203029 paper entitled Forbidden Information
And another one: dvi file for Self-Stabilization of Circular Arrays of Automata
SIAM Outstanding Paper Award announcement (" the magic of deterministic randomness...")
Paper: available here (.dvi), arXiv:cs/0012023v5 paper (.pdf), more available on the publications list page.

At this point there should be a one hour break, then the round table discussion.

Round table discussion: What is Computation? How does Nature compute?

Originally we had this scheduled for 4-6pm. Let's not discuss it here for now.

So this is the information we currently have on how the conference might be.

Based on this we can determine:

a) what should be the topics/questions to debate
b) how long the debate should be and how it should be moderated

These things should be worked out (roughly) during the month of August, September.

-- Instead of a disclaimer:

This website is listing a number of outstanding keynote speakers that have expressed an interest to participate in this unique conference. Some of those listed are already confirmed while a few cannot make a firm commitment at this time. And although we decided to list all the names of the guests that might come (regardless of their degree of confirmation) we remain at the same time fully aware that depending on how the last few remaining details are being worked out some of the guests that we are currently listing might, in the end, turn out to be unable to attend the conference.

For this reason, and until registration starts, the list presented here should be considered tentative and subject to change without notice. We will make every effort to let everyone know the clear status of each guest (if a guest is entirely confirmed, not entirely confirmed but interested, or otherwise) and promise to no longer list a guest as soon as we have information that the guest is unquestionably unavailable.

For any comments or questions of any nature about the compilation above

  • please send an e-mail to Adrian German (