After this pre-recorded typecast, we learned of the tragic death of Alexey Chervonenkis, the C of VC dimension, a huge loss to the learning community. We’ll have a proper obit soon. Now onto the typecast.
Lance: Hello and welcome to Dagstuhl for our first typecast since the 2014 Complexity Conference. Howdy Bill.
Bill: Hi Lance. Are you enjoying Dagstuhl?
Lance: I always have fun at Dagstuhl especially when you are here Bill.
Bill: I have not seen you at many talks.
Lance: So maybe you should go to more talks Bill.
Bill: Never mind. As you told me Scott is writing a blog book. Should we too?
Lance: Something we discussed many times.
Bill: How about a slightly different idea? At the end of this year you will have had FIVE lists of TEN best theorems. (Doing math in his head) That’s FIFTY theorems. There’s a book with a unified theme.
Lance: And I’m glad you’re going to write it.
Bill: That’s not exactly what I had in mind. But I’m happy to help you write it?
Lance: Do you think there are people who would want to buy this book?
Bill: I need your help BLOG AUDIENCE. Leave a comment to say if you would read this book. Would you read the book if you have to pay for it?
Lance: I certainly wouldn’t.
Bill: You don’t count. But they (points to the audience) do. [Bill leaves to get ice cream and comes back] I’m sure it will sell well in Silicon Valley.
Lance: Speaking of Silicon Valley, that was one tough post to write on MSR-SVC, basically an obituary post for a research lab.
Bill: Isn’t rather grim calling it an obituary?
Bill: Do you always give one word answers?
Bill: You are man of few words.
Lance: You are a man of a few words too many.
Bill: Yes, I like to keep conversations flowing.
Lance: Indeed you are of the few extroverts in complexity. Introverts like me think deeply of what to say before we say it.
Bill: Did you just insult me? How did an introvert like you become a department chair?
Lance: I fake it well. [Quickly changing topic] I hear there’s exciting news out of Maryland. And I’m not talking about the Orioles.
Bill: We’re getting a new building, The Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation.
Lance: Because there’s no innovation in computer science. Brendan who?
Bill: He co-founded Oculus which was sold to Facebook for Ackerman of O(1) dollars.
Lance: Sounds exciting. It is one pretty ugly building you are in now.
Bill: Moving on, how the Complexity Conference in Vancouver?
Lance: You didn’t read my blog post?
Bill: [Reading blog post] Wow, no best paper and only 66 participants. Seems a bit lower than last year.
Lance: We were correlated with STOC last year and next year at FCRC as well. Though not with the IEEE anymore.
Bill: Is complexity theory dying?
Lance: The talks at this Dagstuhl alone prove otherwise.
Bill: I particularly liked David Zuckerman’s talk about using statistical sum-product theorems to create non-malleable codes. Why is it so empty in here?
Lance: It’s a rare sunny day at Dagstuhl and we’re inside doing this typecast. What other topics are exciting you at Dagstuhl?
Bill: There’s a resurgence of interest in VP and VNP, Valiant’s algebraic analogues of P and NP and genuine optimism that VP <> VNP might be provable in the near future.
Lance: There is some great work there but let’s wrap this up while we have still have some daylight.
Bill: You know what to say Lance.
Lance: In a complex world, best to keep it simple.