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Simons Institute Event: What Do the Theory of Computing and the Movies Have in Common? February 21, 2023 (06:00 PM PST - 07:30 PM PST)
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Location: David Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley
Speaker(s) Alvy Smith
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Registration is required to attend.

What does theoretical computer science have to do with art and the movies? Alvy Ray Smith, who has done it all, tells that story. Born before computers and pixels, he has ridden the Moore’s law supernova wave all the way from the first pixels to the first digital movie, Toy Story, from Pixar, the company he cofounded. But before that, he was an oil painter in New Mexico and then took a decade-long voyage through computation theory for his PhD work and early professorhood. A cover of Scientific American brought him an early fame of sorts and a request to design the cover for the annual proceedings of the Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science. Smith’s talk for the Simons Institute will feature that FOCS cover, used for 38 years in print and three more as the proceedings went digital. He executed it with pre-digital technology but uses it to explain the central dogma that drives much of modern computer graphics. Smith spent the last 10 years writing a book called A Biography of the Pixel. His talk will reference the book, but many parts of his discussion will be UC Berkeley specific, having to do with the computation-theory crowd and its influence.

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