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Distinguished Professor of Computer Science Pierre Baldi of the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) was recently in Italy to discuss AI and deep learning. On May 19, 2022, the University of Padova kicked off a weeklong celebration of its 800th anniversary with various panels and talks. The University of Padova, founded in 1222, is the second-oldest university in Italy and the fifth-oldest surviving university in the world. Copernicus and Galileo were both students of Padova. So, it’s no surprise the celebration would include thought-provoking academic discussions of theory and practice.

Baldi, director of UCI’s Institute for Genomics and Bioinformatics, gave a talk on deep learning focused on “The Quarks of Attention,” and participated in a panel discussion comprised of leading experts addressing “Mathematical Challenges in an AI-Driven World.”

From left: Chair of the “Mathematical Challenges in an AI-Driven World” panel, Ernesto De Vito (Università di Genova), and panelists Tomaso Poggio (MIT), Yann LeCun (NYU/Meta) and Pierre Baldi (UCI).

“The focus of the panel was primarily on the relationships between AI and mathematics,” says Baldi. “We tackled questions such as how important is mathematics for AI? What are the main mathematical open questions and needs in AI? Can AI help mathematics?”

He was accompanied on the panel by Tomaso Poggio of MIT and Yann LeCun of New York University and Meta. The panelists were not always in agreement, and you can watch their in-depth discussion online.

— Shani Murray