Last Friday, I was at a “Symposium on the Nature of Proof” at UPenn, to give a popular talk about theoretical computer scientists’ expansions of the notion of mathematical proof (to encompass things like probabilistic, interactive, zero-knowledge, and quantum proofs). This really is some of the easiest, best, and most fun material in all of CS theory to popularize. Here are iTunes videos of my talk and the three others in the symposium: I’m video #2, logician Solomon Feferman is #3, attorney David Rudovsky is #4, and mathematician Dennis DeTurck is #5. Also, here are my PowerPoint slides. Thanks very much to Scott Weinstein at Penn for organizing the symposium.
In other news, the Complexity Zoo went down yet again this week, in a disaster that left vulnerable communities without access to vital resources like nondeterminism and multi-prover interaction. Luckily, computational power has since been restored: with help from some volunteers, I managed to get the Zoo up and running again on my BlueHost account. But while the content is there, it looks horrendously ugly; all the formatting seems to be gone. And the day I agreed to let the Zoo be ported to MediaWiki was the day I lost the ability to fix such problems. What I really need, going forward, is for someone else simply to take charge of maintaining the Zoo: it’s become painfully apparent both that it needs to be done and that I lack the requisite IT skills. If you want to take a crack at it, here’s an XML dump of the Zoo from a few months ago (I don’t think it’s really changed since then). You don’t even need to ask my permission: just get something running, and if it looks good, I’ll anoint you the next Zookeeper and redirect complexityzoo.com to point to your URL.
Update (Nov. 18): The Zoo is back up with the old formatting and graphics!! Thanks so much to Charles Fu for setting up the new complexity-zoo.net (as well as Ethan, who set up a slower site that tided us over). I’ve redirected complexityzoo.com to point to complexity-zoo.net, though it might take some time for your browser cache to clear.