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Princeton University Professor Brian Kernighan to Lecture at MCCC
on the World of Numeracy March 7

2/17/12

Brian Kernighan

West Windsor, NJ:  Princeton University Professor Brian Kernighan, renowned author and icon of the computer world, will discuss the importance of understanding numbers in a talk at Mercer County Community College on Wednesday, March 7, at 12 noon in the Communications Building, Room 109, at the West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.

The talk, entitled, “Millions, Billions, Zillions: Why (In)numeracy Matters,” is the second in the college's Spring 2012 Distinguished Lecture Series. 

Dr. Kernighan is a computer scientist  who previously worked at Bell Telephone Laboratories and contributed to the design of the pioneering AWK and AMPL programming languages, along with UNIX, a computer operating system.  He became widely known through his co-authorship of the first book on the C programming language with its creator, Dennis Ritchie.

First published in 1978, the book was central to the development and popularization of C programming and is still widely used today.Dr. Kernighan earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Princeton University, where he has held a professorship in the department of computer science since 2000.  Each fall he teaches a course called "Computers in Our World," which introduces the fundamentals of computing to non majors. 

Princeton University Professor Brian Kernighan.

Altogether he has authored 10 books related to computers and technology, and holds four patents.   According to Kernighan, technology has buried us in an avalanche of numbers, graphs and charts, many of which claim to present the truth about important issues in the news today.  At the same time, our personal facility with numbers has diminished, leaving us at the mercy of quantitative reasoning and presentation that is biased, misleading, and often wrong.  In this presentation, Kernighan will explore some of the central ideas attached to this, and offer some common sense principles for estimating when we are presented with inaccurate or incomplete information.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, click here.

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