**#TMOA (The Metaness Of Algorithms, January 24, 2016):**

What is a (hard) problem? Can we know which problems do not have solutions? Is scheduling flights a hard problem? Is assembling cars an easy problem? Theoretically, are there more problems (uncountable) than solutions (countably many)? Are algorithms well defined? Are they a finite description for infinitely many possible inputs & processes? What is *not* an algorithm? Can processes be algorithmic and not computational? Does it matter how algorithms are embodied? Is every algorithm a Turing Machine? Is there a difference between equations and algorithms? Can algorithms be approximate? Where do heuristics come from? Are comparisons the easiest measurement? Do physical symbols always underlie any computation? Are the best algorithms exponential? Is there infinite richness of algorithms, & are computers infinitely reconfigurable machines? How is the real world abstracted (& discretized)? Do problems need analog computing, since (real life) variables are usually (?) continuous and not discrete? Is a recipe, then, an algorithm? Is the brain a computer? Is the world analog or digital? Do algorithms have an ontology? Are algorithms abstractions? Are they here to stay? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from logic & theoretical computer science (Prof. Anuj Dawar, Cambridge University, Cambridge), & operations research & industrial engineering (Prof. Ashok K. Mittal, ex-IIT Kanpur, New Delhi).

Listen in…

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (*in alphabetical order*) on its #TMOA show.

**Prof. Anuj Dawar** (logic, theoretical computer science) is the Professor of Logic and Algorithms, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge & a Fellow of Robinson College, Cambridge (UK). He received his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi and went on to receive a Masters and a Ph.D. in Computer and Information Science from University of Pennsylvania. His key research interests are – applications of logic in computer science and the areas of theoretical computer science where logical and combinatorial methods combine in the study of algorithms. These include finite model theory and its connection to the study of computational complexity, the theory of databases, the complexity of games and the expressive power of logical formalisms. Prof. Dawar serves as the president of the European Association for Computer Science Logic and also is on the editorial boards of ACM Transactions on Computational Logic, Computability & FoLLI LNCS series (published by Springer). He was the principal local organiser of the ‘Turing Centenary Conference: CiE 2012 – How the World Computes’. He is currently the chair of the jury for the ACM-India Doctoral Dissertation Award. He serves on the advisory board for the Vienna Center for Logic and Algorithms & also as the reviews editor of the Bulletin of Symbolic Logic.

**Prof. Ashok K. Mittal** (operations research, industrial engineering) is the President Emeritus of Quality Circle Forum of India, a NGO involved in training of grass root workers in quality concepts. He is also faculty director (part time) with ISB Hyderabad for the manufacturing programme and visiting faculty (part time) at IIIT, New Delhi. After completing his B.Tech & M.Tech from IIT Kharagpur, he went on to complete his M.S & Ph.D. in Operations Research from Case Western Reserve University, USA. His research interests include operations research, operations management and intellectual property rights. He retired as Professor from Industrial and Management Engineering Department at the India Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur in June 2013, where he served as faculty member for 38 years. He was the MHRD chair professor on Intellectual property for three years at IIT Kanpur. He also served as Head of the Industrial and Management Engineering Department, Dean of Planning and Resource Generation, and Dean of Research and Development at IIT Kanpur. He has been President of Operational Research Society of India for the years 2007-2008. He is also member of international advisory committee for SSE LUMS Lahore, finance committee of IIIT Delhi and IIITM Gwalior, IPR Committee for DEITY, Endowment fund committees of IIT Gandhinagar and IISER Mohali.

*Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.*

*#TMOA mentions: *Diophantus, David Hilbert, & Alan Turing, among others.