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CSC - A Probability Perspective

  • 18 Nov 2010
  • 2:30 PM
  • Jacob Slonim Conference Room (430), Computer Science
                       COMPUTER SCIENCE SEMINAR
Speaker:   Dr. Eric Hehner
           University of Toronto
Title:     A Probability Perspective    
Date:      Thursday, November 18, 2010
Time:      2:30 p.m.
Location:  Jacob Slonim Conference Room (430), Computer Science
           Dalhousie University
           6050 University Avenue, Halifax]
Note:      Coffee and cookies will be provided, courtesy of Faculty of
           Computer Science.


This talk could be called "probability meets programming". It draws together four perspectives that contribute to a new understanding of probability and solving problems involving probability. The first is the Subjective Bayesian perspective that probability is affected by one's knowledge, and that it is updated as one's knowledge changes. The problem of assigning prior probabilities disappears according to the Information Theory perspective, which equates probability with
information. The main point of the talk is that the formal perspective (formalize, calculate, unformalize) is beneficial to solving probability problems. And finally, the programmer's perspective provides us with a suitable formalism. To illustrate the benefits of these perspectives, the previously open problem of the two envelopes is completely solved.

Speaker Bio:

Eric Hehner is a professor of computer science at the University of Toronto. He is the author of two books, an editor of two journals, a member of two IFIP working groups, the son of two parents, and the father of two children. His work has been mainly on formal methods of programming. He invented "predicative programming", which is a method of program derivation and proof. He has extended the work to the automatic generation of proven circuits from programs, to probabilistic programming, and to quantum programming.

Speaker URL:
Host contact: Evangelos Milios eem@cs.dal.ca

1301-1809 Barrington Street, Halifax, NS B3J 3K8

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