Now reading: Artificial Intelligence and the Complexity Frontier: Roger Melko Public Lecture

Take a self-guided tour from quantum to cosmos!

Artificial Intelligence and the Complexity Frontier: Roger Melko Public Lecture

Can computers think? They can certainly calculate – with staggering speed and ever-increasing power – and they have driven scientific and technological advances that would have been impossible without them. Even so, we would like to believe that, for some puzzles, there’s no substitute for old-fashioned human intuition. But this view may be changing.

A new breed of machine learning algorithms have begun knocking down cognitive milestones that, until recently, scientists believed were still decades away. Major advances are being made in computer vision, language translation, autonomous robotic action and other complex applications. At the same time, these new algorithms are helping scientists accelerate discovery in physics.

This stunning progress poses as many questions as answers: what are the fundamental possibilities and limits of machine learning? Can we create true human-level artificial intelligence, and how might its thoughts differ from our own? What new breeds of computer will fuel artificial intelligence – and, conversely, how will artificial intelligence enable new forms of computing?

In his May 2 public lecture at Perimeter Institute, Roger Melko will explore how computers have helped humanity solve increasingly complex puzzles, and ask which challenges, if any, only human intuition is equipped to tackle.

Melko is an Associate Faculty member at Perimeter Institute and the University of Waterloo, whose research examines the interplay of large-scale computer simulations, quantum mechanics, and other complex problems in physics. Originally from Northern Manitoba, Melko received a BSc from the University of Waterloo, and a PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He returned to Waterloo as a professor in 2007, and became the Canada Research Chair in Computational Quantum Many-Body Physics in 2013. He was awarded the Canadian Association of Physicists’ Herzberg medal in 2016 for his work on computer simulations of quantum entanglement.

General Information:

Attendance to the lecture is free, but advance tickets are required. Due to the overwhelming response to past lectures, tickets will be honoured until 6:45 pm only. If you have not arrived by 6:45 pm your reservation may be filled by guests in our waiting line, and you may be asked to join the end of the waiting line.

Waiting Line Experience:
There will be a waiting line for last minute cancelled (or ‘no show’) seats on the night of the lecture. Doors open at 5:30 pm. Come to Perimeter and pick-up a waiting line chit at the Waiting Line sign and then participate in pre-lecture activities – no need to wait in line. An announcement will be made in the Bistro at 6:45pm if theatre seats are available. Note: you must arrive in person to be part of the waiting line and be in the Bistro when the waiting line announcement is made.

No Disappointments:
Everyone who comes to Perimeter will be able to participate in the lecture. The public lecture will be shown simultaneously on closed circuit television in the comfort of the licensed Black Hole Bistro for any members of the waiting line who are not able to get a theatre seat.

Live Webcast:
Enjoy the live webcast of Perimeter Institute Public Lectures from the comfort of your own home. Join us at 7pm ET night of the lecture and be part of the online audience.

For most lectures, the on-demand playback will be online within 24 hours of the live event. Check Perimeter’s YouTube channel for the on-demand videos.


On July 27, Juan Maldacena, a luminary in the worlds of string theory and quantum gravity, will share his insights on black holes, wormholes, and quantum entanglement.

/Jul 12, 2023

On May 16 and 18, Perimeter’s theatre will be transformed into a 3D cinema for screenings of the acclaimed science documentary Secrets of the Universe.

/Apr 14, 2023

On April 14, 2023, Stephon Alexander will explore the unexpected similarities between fundamental physics and jazz improvisation.

/Mar 31, 2023