Prof. Moshe Y. Vardi

Rice University




Lessons from COVID-19: Efficiency vs Resilience



In both computer science and economics, efficiency is a cherished property. In computer science, the field of algorithms is almost solely focused on their efficiency. In economics, the main advantage of the free market is that it promises “economic efficiency”. A major lesson from COVID-19 is that both fields have over-emphasized efficiency and under-emphasized resilience. I argue that resilience is a more important property than efficiency and discuss how the two fields can broaden their focus to make resilience a primary consideration.

I will include a technical example, showing how we can shift the focus in formal methods from efficiency to resilience.



Short Bio

Moshe Y. Vardi is University Professor and the George Distinguished Service Professor in Computational Engineering at Rice University. He is the recipient of several awards, including the ACM SIGACT Goedel Prize, the ACM Kanellakis Award, the ACM SIGMOD Codd Award, the Blaise Pascal Medal, the IEEE Computer Society Goode Award, and the EATCS Distinguished Achievements Award.  He is the author and co-author of over 650 papers, as well as two books. He is a fellow of several societies, and a member of several academies, including the US National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Science.  He holds seven honorary doctorates. He is a Senior Editor of the Communications of the ACM, the premier publication in computing.

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