Informatics, TU Vienna

Vienna Gödel Lecture 2015

During this Vienna Gödel Lecture we enjoyed a fascinating talk of Peter Norvig, Research Director at Google Inc. in the field of intelligent computers.

How Computers Learn

Peter Norvig talked about his long experience in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Computer scientists have developed complex programming languages and systems to allow us to describe, step-by-step how to solve problems such as keeping bank statements balanced. But there are other problems that we can't articulate how to solve them: how do we recognize a person's face, or translate a paragraph from German to English? We can't describe how we do it, and so we can't easily program a computer to do it, but we can train a computer to learn how to do it. This talk explained how computers learn from examples and what are the promises and limitations of these techniques.

Biography of Peter Norvig


Peter Norvig is Director of Research at Google Inc. Previously he was head of Google's core search algorithms group, and of NASA Ames's Computational Sciences Division, making him NASA's most senior computer scientist. He received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Award in 2001. He has taught at the University of Southern California and the University of California at Berkeley, from which he received a Ph.D. in 1986 and the distinguished alumni award in 2006. He was co-teacher of an Artifical Intelligence class that signed up 160,000 students, helping to kick off the current round of massive open online classes.

Among his most relevant publications are:

Peter Norvig is also the author of the Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation and the world's longest palindromic sentence. He is a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the California Academy of Science and theAmerican Academy of Arts & Sciences.

He believes that a teaching revolution, fostered by computer tools, is pending.