Inaugural Lecture by Professor Thore Husfeldt



I fell in love with algorithms as aesthetically and intellectually enjoyable solutions to abstract and somewhat obscure problems many years ago. Today, these algorithms are in everybody’s pockets. Literally.

I will try to explain my view of the cognitive development that led us here, the development that transformed us from cave-dwellers to mobile phone users: The civilization-spanning history of our discovery of universal descriptions for quantities, words, and music, culminating in the descriptions of processes. That is what algorithms are: universal descriptions of how to do things. 

Narrowing the focus from 25,000 years to the last 50 or so, to the fledgling academic discipline of Computer Science, I will then describe the changing values in the analysis of algorithms, "from correctness and efficiency to privacy and fairness." Explainability plays a big role for me in these values, and I will briefly present my own research and teaching agendas through that lens, looking both backward and forwards.

I hope that much of this makes sense to a general audience.