Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

DLS: Computer Science in 6/10ths of a Second

30 Oct
Tuesday, 10/30/2018 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Computer Science Building Room 150/151
Distinguished Lecturer Series
Speaker: Lance Fortnow


From the point of view of what happens behind a Google search we step back and take a broad look at computer science and how ideas old and new have transformed how we think about computing. We look at how we get your questions to the cloud, how to keep track of the massive amount of information to answer your questions, how algorithms and machine learning figure out what your question meant and how to best respond, all while keeping your information secure and private. All of this happening in those six-tenths of a second from when you make the query until you get what you want to know.

We look at the dramatic changes in computing over the past fifteen years and, as we embark on a future based on data, connectivity and automation, how should we prepare for the next fifteen and beyond.


Lance Fortnow is professor and chair of the School of Computer Science of the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research focuses on computational complexity and its applications to economic theory.

Fortnow received his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics at MIT in 1989 under the supervision of Michael Sipser. Before he joined Georgia Tech in 2012, Fortnow was a professor at Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, a senior research scientist at the NEC Research Institute and a one-year visitor at CWI and the University of Amsterdam. From 2007 to 2018 Fortnow held an adjoint professorship at the Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago.

Fortnow's research spans computational complexity and its applications, most recently to microeconomic theory. His work on interactive proof systems and time-space lower bounds for satisfiability have led to his election as a 2007 ACM Fellow. In addition he was an NSF Presidential Faculty Fellow from 1992-1998 and a Fulbright Scholar to the Netherlands in 1996-97.

Among his many activities, Fortnow served as the founding editor-in-chief of the ACM Transaction on Computation Theory, served as chair of ACM SIGACT and on the Computing Research Association board of directors. He served as chair of the IEEE Conference on Computational Complexity from 2000-2006. Fortnow originated and co-authors the Computational Complexity weblog since 2002, the first major theoretical computer science blog. He has thousands of followers on Twitter.

Fortnow's survey The Status of the P versus NP Problem is CACM's most downloaded article. Fortnow has written a popular science book The Golden Ticket: P, NP and the Search for the Impossible loosely based on that article.

Faculty Host