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11/04/23: Logic in Color with Christian Williams

Boston Computation Club

November 4, 2023

57 minutes

Today Christian Williams joined us to talk about his dissertation project, Logic in Color.  This is a really exciting project which he is now working on post-graduation, which aims to re-frame the way we think about logic, and logics, using a largely visual medium.  The key insight is that certain mathematical observations are made completely obvious simply by adding color to the areas enclosed by arrows in monoidal string diagrams.  But from this key observation comes the more foundational view that really, all of mathematics and logic not only can be expressed visually, but in some sense, perhaps _is_ visual; that the medium is exposing something fundamental about the nature of thought itself.  This sounds a little pretentious but it's actually just the opposite: it's a fairly radical effort to _simplify_ logic and category theory using a visual medium.  And it's enormously exciting.  We were really happy Christian gave us this ground-floor view on his project and we're super excited to see where it develops.

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