#TPAD (The Patterns And Distributions, December 17, 2016):
Is 29 absolutely prime? Are the 26 letters of the English alphabet arbitrary? Can you learn a word in isolation? How are children able to learn languages without being taught? Why are there patterns at all, & which are more likely? Do objects with more symmetries occur more often? Can patterns be understood via distributions? (How) are constellations in the sky invariant? Are relations more fundamental than entities? Are prime numbers randomly distributed? Is transformation possible only in invariant systems? Which patterns are transitory? How is the multiplicative (rotation?) operation different from the additive (translation)? Do we know which computer program is most likely to produce a certain binary string? Are all languages equally complex? Do numbers (or, numerals) emerge from a language? Why is decimal number system efficient? How are vowels and consonants distributed? Can human language be ‘random’? Can there be patterns of change too? Is there a likely master program creating the Universe around us? How do we see beauty in (grammatically incorrect) poetry? Are nuances (really) rules? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from mathematics (Prof. Krishnaswami Alladi, University of Florida, Texas), computer science (Dr. Manoj Gopalkrishnan, IIT Bombay, Mumbai), & linguistics (Dr. Avinash Pandey, University of Mumbai, Mumbai). Listen in….
SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TPAD show.
Prof. Krishnaswami Alladi (mathematics) is currently a Professor with the Department of Mathematics, University of Florida, USA. His research area is number theory, & covers diverse areas such as analytic and probabilistic number theory, Diophantine approximations, sieve methods, and more recently, partitions and q-series. Prof. Alladi did his B.Sc. from Madras University and also began research in number theory at an early age of sixteen. His work attracted the attention of Prof. Paul Erdõs, who encouraged him further and recommended him for securing a Chancellor’s Fellowship for Ph.D. at UCLA (1978). Subsequently he held a faculty position at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc, Chennai), and then joined the University of Florida in 1987, where he was the Chairman of Department of Mathematics from 1998 to 2008. His research since the early nineties has been on Rogers-Ramanujan type identities. In particular, he has initiated two main streams of development: the method of weighted words and the theory of weighted partition identities. He has received several grants and recognitions, & lectured and taught widely around the world. Prof. Alladi is also an authority on the work of Srinivasa Ramanujan, and the Editor-in-Chief of The Ramanujan Journal. He has been actively involved in fostering the legacy of Ramanujan. In 2005, he helped launch the SASTRA Ramanujan Prize, an annual US $10,000 prize awarded to very young mathematicians for outstanding contributions to areas influenced by Ramanujan. Prof. Alladi is also an Inaugural Fellow of the American Mathematical Society (AMS).
Dr. Manoj Gopalkrishnan (computer science) is an Associate Professor with the Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT Bombay, Mumbai. He received his B.Tech. in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Kharagpur (2003), and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of Southern California (2008). Dr. Gopalkrishnan is interested in connections between information, statistics, learning, and evolution. His research efforts have focused on schemes for information processing with chemical reaction networks in a bid to understand how intelligence and sophistication at the level of single cells can emerge from molecular interactions. His working hypothesis is that machine learning is a fundamental new way of thinking about the world, and can inform how biological systems work, not just by churning biological data, but by suggesting new scientific paradigms for thinking about biological systems. His other research interests are cognition, scientific method, computational learning theory, evolution, algorithms, computational complexity theory, physics of computation, quantum computing, algebraic geometry, and category theory. Dr. Gopalkrishnan has held adjunct appointments at IIT Bombay, International Centre for Theoretical Sciences Bangalore (ICTS), and TIFR Hyderabad and a faculty position in TIFR Mumbai from 2009 to 2016. He has also been a research assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at Duke university. He is a recipient of the Ramanujan Fellowship (2010) from Government of India.
Dr. Avinash Pandey (linguistics) is Head of the Department of Linguistics at University of Mumbai, Mumbai. He received his Ph.D. from Deccan College, Pune, where his thesis was on ‘Evolution of the concept of Synchronic Linguistics and its effects on the study of language in the 20th century’. His areas of research interest include Development of Linguistic Theory, Language and Philosophy, Language Culture and Nation, and Linguistic Landscapes. He has recently published on Globalization and Language Conflicts, Right to Education and the future of our languages, Freedom, language and Right to Education Act. He has also initiated the Panini Linguistics Olympiad as an outreach program in the year 2012-13. Besides conducting the Panini Linguistics Olympiad at the national level, he also conducted basic workshops and the orientation cum selection workshop for the program. He is currently working on projects such as Pronunciation Lexicon of Marathi (in collaboration with TIFR, Mumbai, and supported by C-DAC), Structuralist conception of Orality (funded by ICPR, New Delhi) & Linguistic Landscape of Vasai (funded by UGC). Dr. Pandey was also the Associate Fellow of the UGC Inter-University Centre of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla (2012-15). [Note: Also a SynTalkr on #TNOAN (The Name Of A Name)]
Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.
#TPAD mentions: Richard Feynman, George Kingsley Zipf, Andrey Kolmogorov, & Andrew Wiles, among others.