Mathematical logic was developed in an effort to provide formal foundations for mathematics. In this quest, which ultimately failed, logic begat computer science, yielding both computers and theoretical computer science. But then logic turned out to be a disappointment as foundations for computer science, as almost all decision problems in logic are either undecidable or intractable. Starting from the mid 1970s, however, there has been a quiet revolution in logic in computer science, and problems that are theoretically undecidable or intractable were shown to be quite feasible in practice. This talk describes the rise, fall, and rise of logic in computer science, describing several modern applications of logic to computing, include databases, hardware design, and software engineering.
Moshe Vardi is the George Distinguish Service Professor in Computational Engineering and Director of the Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology Institute at Rice University. He is the co-recipient of three IBM Outstanding Innovation Awards, 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 400 papers, as well as two books: Reasoning about Knowledge and Finite Model Theory and Its Applications. He is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers. He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the European Academy of Science, and Academia Europea. He holds honorary doctorates from the Saarland University in Germany and Orleans University in France. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Communications of the ACM.