The Wouk Lecture

March 15, 2019
Baxter Lecture Hall map
Reception, 3:30 p.m.
Lecture, 4:00 p.m.

Building the Computational Future

Computation is a powerful force that we're only just beginning to understand and harness, but that seems destined to define much of the future of science, technology and in the end our whole civilization. This talk will discuss a little of what I have learned about what's out there in the computational universe, as well as about my efforts to create a computational language that can harness it for human purposes. For every field X there either is now a Computational X, or there soon will be. This talk will discuss both my practical efforts to deliver ubiquitous computational intelligence through Wolfram Language, and my current thinking about AI, SETI, fundamental physics, the future of education, and more.

Stephen Wolfram

Stephen Wolfram
Founder and CEO of Wolfram Research

Stephen Wolfram is the creator of Mathematica, Wolfram|Alpha and the Wolfram Language, and the author of A New Kind of Science. He arrived at Caltech in 1978 as a physics graduate student when he was 18 years old. He received his PhD in 1979 and was then briefly a faculty member at Caltech, but left in connection with starting his first company. He continued as an academic at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, then founded a research center at the University of Illinois, but soon started Wolfram Research, which he has led as CEO for the past 32 years. Wolfram has been a pioneer in both the theoretical and practical aspects of computation, and the tools he has built are used by millions of people every day, and have been responsible for countless inventions and discoveries over the course of the past three decades. In addition to his work in science, technology and business, Wolfram "plays professor" for a few weeks each year at the Wolfram Summer School, livecodes and livestreams extensively, and regularly publishes essays on a wide range of topics from AI ethics to personal analytics and historical biography.

go to top

The Wouk Lecture is presented by the Division of Engineering & Applied Science.

Past Lectures

The Victor Wouk Lectureship, established by the Wouk family in December 2004 to bring to campus experts on the latest advances in science and technology, is named in honor of Caltech alumnus Victor Wouk, who received his master's and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from Caltech in 1940 and 1942, respectively. He devoted himself largely to developing hybrid motor vehicles and using semiconductors in electric vehicles. More than three decades ago, he designed and built a high-performance electric vehicle and a high-performance, low-emission, improved-fuel-use hybrid. Throughout his career, he promoted the continuing development of hybrid automobiles powered by both electricity and gasoline, such as the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, and Ford Escape Hybrid. The range of Wouk's activities was wide, and he consulted for several institutions and the government on the problems of energy. A space-travel buff since childhood, he also worked with the team that developed fuel gauges for the "dune buggies" that roamed the surface of the moon during the Apollo program.

©2017 California Institute of Technology. All Rights Reserved. last update: 03/04/2019


EAS home