Wednesday April 17, 2024, 7 pm Palestine time

Prof. David Mumford (Brown and Harvard University)

Title: Are fully intelligent robots coming soon?

Abstract: Artificial Intelligence is a hot topic in the midst of major successes that everyone is discussing. It is also an area that can be studied anywhere: essentially all research is publicly available at, software to use GPUs and Python code on PCs or Macs can be purchased. Although huge data was needed for the so-called “large language models”, many experiments can be done with small data sets, hence I believe it is a suitable topic for independent researchers. I will discuss the representation of words and thoughts in neural nets, the concept of a transformer, the need for feedback, and the amazing scaling properties of both brains and code.

Short autobiography of David Mumford: I started my career doing pure math at Harvard but had always been intrigued by the brain and AI. I pursued computer vision at Brown in the second half of my career. Oddly though, my retirement coincided with the recent spectacular advances in AI!

Awards and Recognition: 

Prof. David Mumford was awarded a Fields Medal in 1974. He was a MacArthur Fellow from 1987 to 1992. He won the Shaw Prize in 2006. In 2007 he was awarded the Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition by the American Mathematical Society. In 2008 he was awarded the Wolf Prize; Mumford donated half of the prize money to Birzeit University in the Palestinian territories and half to Gisha, an Israeli organization that promotes the right to freedom of movement of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. In 2010 he was awarded the National Medal of Science. In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.