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                            ”The physics of inference, phase transitions, and

                                   the detection of communities in networks”




 Thursday, 24 March 2022

    Video-Recording for any system with MP4-support

   - Video.mp4  (ca. 412 Mb)

 15:15 – 16:30



Speaker today:  Cristopher Moore  (Santa Fe Institute)



There is a deep analogy between Bayesian inference and statistical physics.

When we fit a model to noisy data, we can think about the “energy landscape"

of possible models, and look for phase transitions where the ground truth

suddenly gets lost in this landscape — either because of thermal equilibrium

(where “heat” is noise) or because of dynamics (e.g. a metastable state trapped

behind a free energy barrier). I’ll use this framework to describe phase transitions

in community detection in networks, where communities suddenly become hard

or impossible to find. If time permits, I’ll discuss related spectral algorithms,

and give a hint of similar phase transitions in other inference problems.



Cristopher Moore received his B.A. in Physics, Mathematics, and Integrated Science

from Northwestern University, and his Ph.D. in Physics from Cornell.

From 2000 to 2012 he was a professor at the University of New Mexico,

with joint appointments in Computer Science and Physics. Since 2012,

Moore has been a resident professor at the Santa Fe Institute.

He has also held visiting positions at the Niels Bohr Institute,

École Normale Superieure, École Polytechnique, Université Paris 7,

Northeastern University, the University of Michigan, and Microsoft Research.


Moore has written over 160 papers at the boundary between mathematics, physics,

and computer science, ranging from quantum computing, to phase transitions

in Bayesian inference and NP-complete problems, to the theory of  social networks.

He is an elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American

Mathematical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

With Stephan Mertens, he is the author of The Nature of Computation from Oxford

University Press.

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