Piet Hut

Executive Director

(Photo Credit: Nerissa Escanlar)

Piet Hut is one of the founders of YHouse, and currently its Executive Director.  He is also a Professor of Astrophysics and the Head of the Program in Interdisciplinary Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ.  He has been invited to give talks at various conferences on science and consciousness for more than twenty years, and he was the main organizer for the first ISSA summer school in 2015 in Kobe, Japan “Towards an Integrative Approach to the Study of Awareness“.  Asteroid 17031 Piethut is named after him.  He is known for the Barnes–Hut  algorithm, developed with Joshua Barnes, and the concept of pseudo-synchronization, and various other algorithms.


Piet’s main speciality in research is large scale computer simulations in the stellar dynamics of galaxies and star clusters.  In addition, he has worked on several multidisciplinary projects, from studies of mass extinctions to origins of life. His latest research combines his earlier interest in philosophy and cognition, and ways of knowing in general, with new developments in cognitive systems and AI, especially connections between machine learning and evolution.


  • Astrophysics
  • Theoretical Physics
  • Computational Science
  • Complex Systems and Thermodynamics
  • Husserlian Phenomenology
  • Contemplative Traditions