The following laudatory speech was part of the presentation of the Ammodo KNAW Award to Barteld Kooi in 2015.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Barteld Kooi’s research combines the apparent impenetrability of abstract information science with the ordinariness of card games and mind puzzles.
His work is founded on “dynamic epistemic logic” – a complex concept, which essentially describes a school of philosophical inquiry which is seeking fundamental logical laws governing the sharing and transferring of information.
What knowledge can we precisely derive from information that we receive, whether it is a complex automation project or a mind puzzle? How does knowledge change when we share information with each other?
Kooi’s field of work involves analysing such processes and converting them into universal models and mathematical formulae. All kinds of complex knowledge problems can thereby be approached with common fundamental laws. Insights from dynamic epistemic logic can be applied in various scientific fields: information science, economics, robotics, artificial intelligence, network security, cryptography, linguistics and research into all kinds of interactions between individuals and human groups.
Kooi, working from the University of Groningen, has become an international authority in this field. Together with two colleagues, he wrote an international standard, which is widely used and quoted. It also added an important element to the existing theory: that of probability. In addition, he is using elements of game theory in original ways.
For example: are there logical strategies to pursue in card games to achieve the best possible outcome? What knowledge must you share with other people, either jointly or individually, to achieve optimal results? How do the odds change if information is shared or not?
Barteld Kooi has shown in his research a deep understanding and broad overview of the field. Armed with that knowledge, he is currently investigating whether different logical systems really are different or whether they are in fact offshoots of the same strain, and actually differ only in the way they are described mathematically.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The advisory committee was particularly charmed by the manner in which Barteld Kooi combines pioneering abstract research with a love of teaching and interaction with society. He has already organised three editions of a “Night of Philosophy,” in Groningen and has also invented playful questions for the National Science Quiz.
Please show your appreciation for Barteld Kooi, winner of an Ammodo KNAW Award for Humanities!