Informatics, TU Vienna

Vienna Gödel Lecture 2018

The Faculty of Informatics is welcoming the Turing Award Winner Manuel Blum to give this year's Gödel Lecture. The Venezuelan-born American mathematician and computer scientist will talk about the design of machines that truly experience joy and pain.

Towards a Conscious AI: A Computer Architecture Inspired by Neuroscience


Thanks to major advances in neuroscience, we are on the brink of a scientific understanding of how the brain achieves consciousness. Manuel Blum's talk will describe neuroscientist Bernard Baars' Global Workspace Model (GWM) of the brain, its implications for understanding consciousness, and a novel computer architecture that it inspires. The Model gives insight for the design of machines that truly experience (as opposed to simulate) the ecstasy of joy and the agony of pain. It also gives a reasonable explanation of free will in a completely deterministic world. This is joint work with Lenore Blum. Further information on the lecture can be found in the news section of the website.

The complete lecture is available on youtube.

Biography of Manuel Blum

Manuel Blum is the Bruce Nelson University Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a pioneer in the field of theoretical computer science and the winner of the 1995 Turing Award.

He was born in 1938 in Caracas, Venezuela, where his parents settled after fleeing Europe. In 1955, he started studying electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, simultaneously pursuing his desire to understand thinking and brains by working in the neurophysiology laboratory of Dr. Warren S. McCulloch and Walter Pitts, then concentrated on mathematical logic and recursion theory for the insight he believed it might give him into brains and thinking. He did his doctoral work under the supervision of Artificial Intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky, and earned a PhD from MIT in mathematics in 1964.

Blum began his academic career at MIT in 1966 as an assistant professor of mathematics. In 1968, he joined the University of California at Berkeley as a tenured associate professor of EECS. He accepted his present position at Carnegie Mellon in 2001. Blum has supervised the theses of 35 doctoral students who now pepper almost every major computer science department in the country. The many ground-breaking areas of theoretical computer science chartered by his academic descendants are legend.

Blum is a member of the NAS, the NAE, and the AAAS. He is not only a Turing Award winner himself, but was also the PhD advisor of 3 Turing Award winners.