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Noted Mathematician Will Present Davidson's Bernard Lecture


Lenore Blum
Lenore Blum

October 5, 2000
Contact: Bill Giduz 704/894-2244 or bigiduz@davidson.edu

Lenore Blum, an internationally renowned mathematician and computer scientist, will present Davidson College's annual Bernard Mathematics Lecture on Thursday, October 19. Blum's free public talk, entitled "Complexity and Real Computation -- Where Turing Meets Newton," begins at 7:30 in Chambers Gallery.

Blum's lecture will be an introduction to computer science concepts (computability and maybe P=NP) applied to the idea of computing with real numbers, not just 0 and 1. Our computers operate exclusively with binary numbers and only approximate reals. Dr. Blum will show how the theory of computing can be extended to true real number algorithms, with origins in Newton, Euler, Gauss, et al. A fractal ends up being an important example of such "computation."

A professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, Blum is a former vice-president of the American Mathematical Society, and former president and co-founder of the Association for Women in Mathematics.

Raised in New York City and Caracas, Venezuela, Blum studied at Carnegie Tech University and received her Ph.D. in 1968 from M.I.T., where she had been previously denied undergraduate admission because there were only 20 beds available for women. In 1973 she joined the faculty at Mills College, where she founded a computer science major and several innovative programs to encourage high school and undergraduate women in mathematics.

In her research, Blum has worked with other well-known mathematicians to merge seemingly unrelated areas of mathematics and computer science. At the University of California-Berkeley, she was part of the theory group of the International Computer Science Institute and served as deputy director of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI). Her work with Shub and Smale culminated in the recent book Complexity and Real Computation.

Blum's career has also taken her to the CUNY Graduate Center, the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, and City University of Hong Kong. Her international work helped develop links between the American mathematical community and counterparts in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Reaching beyond mathematics, she is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and recently served as chair of the AAAS Math Section.

For more information on Blum's lecture at Davidson, call 894-2419.

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