Perimeter Institute brings great thinkers from around the world to Canada to share their ideas on a wide variety of interesting and topical subjects. Each event is tailored for the general public and everyone is welcome to attend. No mathematical or scientific knowledge is necessary or assumed.

Climate Change, Chaos, and InExact Computing
Tim Palmer, University of Oxford

WEDNESDAY, May 4, 2016 AT 7:00 PM EDT

TICKETS To attend the lecture in person Are sold out

but you can SIGN-UP FOR 


How well can we predict the climate future? This question is at the heart of Tim Palmer’s research into the links between chaos theory and the science of climate change. Palmer will discuss climate modelling, the emerging concept of inexact supercomputing, and chaos theory during a live public lecture webcast on May 4 at 7 PM EDT.

The lecture, titled “Climate Change, Chaos, and Inexact Computing,” is part of the Perimeter Institute Public Lecture Series, and will be broadcast on the Perimeter Institute website and via partner organizations. 

Over his career, Palmer has studied the predictability and dynamics of weather and climate. “If the flap of a butterfly’s wings can change the course of weather a week or so from now,” Palmer writes, “what hope do we have trying to predict anything about our climate 100 years hence?”

The answer, he says, may require us to re-imagine our basic concept of computers as deterministic calculating machines, and to instead “embrace inexactness” in computing.

About Tim Palmer

A Royal Society Research Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford, and Professorial Fellow at Jesus College in Oxford, Palmer is an award-winning physicist. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2003, an International Member of the American Philosophical Society in 2015, and was made a Commander of the British Empire in 2014. 

Following his talk, Palmer will answer questions from the online and in-house audience – including questions submitted prior to and during the talk via Facebook  and Twitter (using the hashtag #piLIVE). Questions are welcomed from everyone – aspiring scientific explorers, school classes, physics and chemistry buffs, and general science enthusiasts.



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.


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.


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 licensed comfort of the Black Hole Bistro for any members of the waiting line who are not able to get a theatre seat.


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 virtual audience.

For most lectures the on-demand playback will be online within 24 hours after the live event. Check our YouTube page for the playbacks.