Informatics, TU Vienna

Steps of Logic at the 5th Vienna Ball of Sciences

The Vienna Center for Logic and Algorithms (VCLA) at the TU Wien is for the fourth time cooperating with the Vienna Ball of Sciences. Computer Scientist Anna Lukina is visualizing the message of the Ball: the pursuit of knowledge goes beyond the linguistic, ethnic, gender, and academic borders.

Anna Lukina, PhD student of the FWF-funded Doctoral College on Logical Methods in Computer Science at TU Wien, has designed a custom 3D projection which will transform the staircases of the Ball´s venue into a living organism. The projection is inspired by the complex and beautiful motion of bird flocks which are swooping or as some call it “dancing” in unison. Lukina has been designing algorithms to mimic this group behavior called flocking in her doctoral thesis. 

Steps of logic

Logic is a tool which is shared across the academic disciplines. Moreover, even though people rarely have to mathematically prove things in real life, they are using logic anyway. In computer science, logic is used to examine algorithms for errors, and to enable computer programs to reason about the world. Especially in the growing field of Artificial Intelligence, one can see an increasing use of the methods of logic. Computers which can learn on their own without the corrupt or biased data could be seen as the step towards joining the statistical techniques of machine learning and logic-based automated decision making. 

Curiosity of the ancient Greeks led to the usage of logic to explain natural phenomenons on the basis of observation, and thus creating the basis of the systematic study of logic. Logic as a powerful reasoning tool reached its maturity in the early 20th century, with significant contributions from the Vienna Circle, which attracted some brilliant intellectuals including Moritz Schlick, mathematicians Kurt Gödel and Ludwig von Wittgenstein, economist Otto Neurath, logician Rudolf Carnap or philosopher of science Sir Karl Popper. In the last two decades, the Institute for Logic and Computation (Faculty of Informatics at TU Wien), ranked among the five best institutes worldwide, is making important contributions in that field. 

Projection mapping on the staircases of Vienna Town Hall 

Anna Lukina and the VCLA have been designing the projection for the staircase of Vienna Town Hall. Consisting of sequences like logical symbols, figures of dancers, diagram of an atom and basic geometric elements such as cubicles, interacting with each other in a pattern called flocking, it means the very definition of an algorithm which everybody knows – the Viennese waltz. The connection between the academic community and the general public is also symbolized, as Lukina explains: “When atoms bond together, they can make larger building blocks of matter called molecules. At the same time when scientist from different disciplines come together, they create research which has been changing how we think, work, and live.”