Sunday, January 23, 2011

Beauty, Approximation, and Inapproximability

This past week I attended a workshop on approximation and inapproximability at IHP. Once during a talk I stepped back. Usually when that happens the thought is: "Words, words, words. What is the point of all this? What am I doing here?". But this time the thought was one of awe: "Beautiful! This is beautiful".

The fog of unknowing covers the computational structure of the world. Sometimes a paper is published that sheds light on one problem or one technique, novel but highly specialized. Now the fog is lifting and we are discovering the structure connecting those problems and results. The scenery is coming into focus. It is an exciting time to be in TCS!


  1. Whose talk, and on what paper(s)?

  2. steurer, arora-barak-steurer paper, but it was really more a reflection of the topics covered that week overall and well they fit together (including that one).


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