Maths, AI and Intuition

Professor Geordie Williamson, The University of Sydney Mathematical Research Institute


Professor Geordie Williamson

The University of Sydney Mathematical Research Institute

Geordie Williamson works in Representation Theory, the mathematical theory of linear symmetry. He has made several fundamental contributions to the field including his proof (with Ben Elias) of the Kazhdan-Lusztig positivity conjecture, his algebraic proof of the Jantzen conjectures, and his discovery of counter-examples to the expected bounds in the Lusztig conjecture in modular representation theory.

For his work he has been awarded the Chevalley Prize of the American Mathematical Society, the European Mathematics Society Prize, the Clay Research Award and the New Horizons Prize in Mathematics (with Ben Elias). In 2018 he addressed the International Congress of Mathematicians as a plenary speaker. More recently, he received the medal of the Australian Mathematical Society and the Christopher Heyde Medal of the Australian Academy of Science.

Geordie is currently Professor of Mathematics at the University of Sydney. Prior to coming to Sydney he spent five years as an Advanced Researcher at the Max Planck Institute in Bonn. In 2020 he led a special year on Representation Theory at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.


Thursday, 30 JuneProf. Geordie WilliamsonWatch Now


Talk abstract

Artificial intelligence is one of the defining technologies of the 21st century. Over the last 15 years, machine learning models have learnt to perform tasks that humans find easy, such as speech and image recognition. However many problems are still out of the reach of AI, including most unsolved problems in pure mathematics.

Hear from University of Sydney Professor of Mathematics Geordie Williamson as he explores how machine learning can help with the intuitive aspects of mathematical research. Geordie recently carried out one of the first applications of AI in pure mathematics, in collaboration with Oxford University mathematicians and DeepMind, the AI company of AlphaGo fame. The results were published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature in December 2021.

Geordie and the DeepMind team used machine learning models to uncover surprising patterns in mathematical objects, leading to progress on problems that have puzzled mathematicians for decades.