Look for the catalog of 2020-21IntroSems to roll out here in August.
Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students
Randomness: Computational and Philosophical Approaches
Is it ever reasonable to make a decision randomly? For example, would you ever let an important choice depend on the flip of a coin? Can randomness help us answer difficult questions more accurately or more efficiently? What is randomness anyway? Can an object be random? Are there genuinely random processes in the world, and if so, how can we tell? In this seminar, we will explore these questions through the lenses of philosophy and computation. By the end of the quarter students should have an appreciation of the many roles that randomness plays in both humanities and sciences, as well as a grasp of some of the key analytical tools used to study the concept. The course will be self-contained, and no prior experience with randomness or probability is necessary.