School of History and Philosophy of Science
[The University of Sydney]
The Liar paradox, the halting problem and the edge of chaos
Mikhail Prokopenko (USyd)

Dates: Monday, 18/9/2023
Time: 5:30pm
Venue: Madsen Building (F09), Level 3, Room 331
How to register: Free, no registration required

Abstract: We will explore several fundamental relations between formal systems, 
algorithms, and dynamical systems, focussing on the roles of self-reference and 
computational undecidability. This comparative analysis will emphasise three 
factors: (i) the program-data duality; (ii) the potential to access an infinite 
computational medium; and (iii) the ability to implement negation. Importantly, 
the program-data duality requires that a computational agent must be able to 
store and process encoded information, as well as create self-referential 
meta-level simulations. Finally, within Gödel – Turing – Post framework, we 
will argue that undecidability leads to novelty generation, via the emergence 
of functional self-descriptions across major transitions: genetic, linguistic 
and cultural.

Bio: Prof. Mikhail Prokopenko leads the Centre for Complex Systems at the 
University of Sydney. He holds PhD in Computer Science, MA in Economics, and 
MSc in Applied Mathematics. Mikhail has a strong international reputation in 
modelling and simulation of complex self-organising systems, with over 200 
publications and h-index of 43. His cross-disciplinary research in information 
theory, critical phenomena and artificial intelligence has been applied to 
pandemic and crisis modelling, systems biology, urban dynamics, and other 
diverse areas.


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