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Randomness as Circuit Complexity (and the Connection to Pseudorandomness)

Summary: Randomness as Circuit Complexity (and the Connection to
Eric Allender
May 12, 2010
This material was generated for the book Randomness through Computation, edited
by Hector Zenil. The format of the book calls for various contributors to give responses to five
Why were you initially drawn to the study of computation and randomness?
I started out my undergraduate studies majoring in theater. However, I also knew that I enjoyed
math and computers, thanks to a terrific high school math teacher (Ed Rolenc) who installed a
computer in one of the classrooms in my high school in Mount Pleasant, Iowa in the 1970's. Thus,
when I was an undergrad at the University of Iowa and I decided to pick a second major that
might make me more employable in case theater didn't work out, I picked Computer Science. My
initial computing courses didn't really inspire me very much, and I continued to think of computing
as a "reserve" career, until two things happened at more-or-less the same time: (1) I worked in
summer theaters for a couple of summers, and I noticed that there were incredibly talented people
who were working at the same undistinguished summer theaters where I was working, leading me
to wonder how much impact I was likely to have in the field of theater. (2) I took my first courses
in theoretical computer science (with Ted Baker and Don Alton), which opened my eyes to some


Source: Allender, Eric - Department of Computer Science, Rutgers University


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences