Several years ago I had the good fortune to visit the Boole Library at University College Cork. I've always thought of George Boole as one of the founders of my profession (software engineering). His insight that everything boils down to true or false was foundational in the formation of the computer industry.
Claude Shannon was born roughly 100 years after George Boole. Shannon was a mathematician, electrical engineer, and cryptographer who, among other things, took George Boole's mathematical logic and applied it into the electrical engineering domain. He then wrote one of the most famous theses in the history of MIT.
The link between Boole and Shannon was so prolific that University College Cork and MIT decided to celebrate the 100/200 year anniversaries of their birth by hosting a series of lectures and symposiums.
Last Friday I attended a Boole Shannon symposium at MIT and I thought I would share some of the cool things I learned at the event. I jotted down some of the main points made by each speaker:
Life and Legacy of George Boole by President Michael Murphy, UCC
Boolean Satisfiability to Sustainability by Professor Barry O'Sullivan, UCC.
Boole's contributions are foundational to solving Big Data problems like sustainability.
From Bru na Boinne and G. Boole to R.A. Bailey, Professor Patrick O'Shea, University of Maryland.
George Boole was a key contributor to the advancement of science in Ireland.
Boole/Shannon and Edmund Berkeley, Professor Robert Gray, Stanford and Boston University.
Edmund Berkeley's link to both Boole and Shannon was significant.
Mathematics and the Communications Industry, Dr. Philip Fleming, NOKIA
Mathematics is the Lingua Franca of Computing. Advances in Mathematics should be watched carefully because they often lead to innovation in new areas.
CoderDojo teaches youngsters to code and keeps the spirit of Boole alive.
Closing Remarks by Professor Michael Sipser, Dean of Science, MIT
For anyone interested the next Boole/Shannon lecture at MIT will be held on April 27. Irwin Jacobs of Qualcomm will be speaking on From Shannon’s Information Theory to Qualcomm: Anecdotes from an Amazing Journey.