A Logical Revolution

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 unsolvable 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.