Archive for April, 2012

Computation and Intension

April 20, 2012 Leave a comment

The first programmable device was a Jacquard Loom, a textile loom invented by Joseph Jacquard in 1801 which used punched cards to control the pattern woven by the machine.   Changing the punched cards meant the same machine could be used to weave different patterns.      In the 1980s in a factory in Zimbabwe I saw a very similar manufacturing process – relying on punched rubber belts rather than on punched cards – to place bristles into floor brushes; this was on machines made in Sheffield in the 1880s.

As is so often the case in computer science, practice comes before theory, and often long before.  Despite the widespread use of such programmable machines, a mathematical theory of programming languages only made an appearance  in the 1960s.  One of the ways we have to understand a computer program is to translate the statements made in the programming language into some other form, such as statements about mathematical objects.  We would call these statements the semantics of the computer program.

It turns out the the process of doing this may also be applied to understanding human languages, and so there is an area of common interest between theoretical computer science, lingustic theory and the philosophy of language.    This brief introduction is just to point to an interesting seminar series in this area of overlap taking place in London, organized by  Walter Dean (of Warwick University) and Sean Walsh (of Birkbeck College, London).  The series is called Computation and Intension, and the seminars will mostly be held on Friday afternoons.

Speakers in the seminar series include computer scientists, logicians and philosophers: Samson Abramsky (Computer Science, Oxford), Melvin Fitting (Philosophy, Math, Computer Science, CUNY), Peter Fritz (Philosophy, Oxford), Leon Horsten (Philosophy, Bristol), Kevin Klement (Philosophy, UMass), and Raymond Turner (Computer Science, Essex).

As always with the Humanities, no one seems able or willing to place the program on a simple web-page, only making it available as a document.  (To read a document, we need first another application, and then we need to open the document in the application, with all the attendant risks and hassle.   Why not use the browser instead?)

To do what the organizers themselves should have done, here is the program on the web:

Session 1: Friday 27 April (London Week 1)
Location: McFetridge Room, 14 Gower St., Philosophy Department, Birkbeck [map]
Seminar (13:15-14:45): Introduction: intension versus extension and the role of procedures.

Session 2: Friday 4 May (London Week 2)
Location: McFetridge Room, 14 Gower St., Philosophy Department, Birkbeck
Seminar (13:15-14:45): Background on intensional logic (Frege, Church, Montague, Tichy).

Session 3: Friday 11 May (London Week 3)
Location: McFetridge Room, 14 Gower St., Philosophy Department, Birkbeck
Seminar (13:15-14:45): Two-Dimensional Semantics and the Method of Intension and Extension (session led by Mahrad Almotahari).

Session 4: Friday 18 May (London Week 4)
Location: McFetridge Room, 14 Gower St., Philosophy Department, Birkbeck
Seminar (13:15-14:45): Russell-Myhill Paradox & Tucker-Thomason on Paradoxes of Intensionality
Speaker (15:00-16:30): Peter Fritz (Oxford), TBA.

Session 5: Friday 25 May (London Week 5)
Location: STB2 (basement level) Stewart House [map]
Seminar (13:15-14:45): Epistemic Arithmetic, Reinhardt’s argument, and Church’s Thesis
Speaker (15:00-16:30) Kevin Klement (UMass Amherst) “Russell’s Theory of Incomplete Symbols and the Paradoxes”

Session 6: Friday 1 June (London Week 6)
Location: S264 (second floor) Senate House [map]
Seminar (13:15-14:45): The recursion theorems and domain theory
Speaker (15:00-16:30): Leon Horsten (Bristol) “Epistemic Church’s Thesis”

Session 7: Friday 8 June (London Week 7)
Location: STB3 (basement level) Stewart House
Seminar (13:15-14:45): Around and about programming language semantics
Speaker (15:00-16:30): Samson Abramsky (Oxford) “Programs as data and intensional recursion”

Session 8: Friday 15 June (London Week 8)
Location: G35 (ground floor) Senate House
Seminar (13:15-14:45): Moschovakis’ theory of algorithms, intensional logic, and synonymy
Speaker (15:00-16:30): Raymond Turner (Essex) TBA.

Session 9: Friday 22 June (London Week 9)
Location: McFetridge Room, 14 Gower St., Philosophy Department, Birkbeck
Seminar (13:15-14:45): Kripke and de re beliefs about natural numbers

Session 10: THURSDAY 28 June (London Week 10)
Location: TBA
Seminar (13:15-14:45): Fixed point semantics, bilattices, and PROLOG (session led by Jonne Speck)
Speaker (15:00-16:30): Melvin Fitting (CUNY) “Bilattices in Logic Programming and the Theory of Truth”

MathsJam London

April 16, 2012 Leave a comment

MathsJam is a monthly meeting in a pub of people interested in Mathematics problems.   The next London MathsJam is tomorrow night, Tuesday 17 April 2012, at 1900, upstairs at the Devonshire Arms, near Piccadilly Circus.


Categories: Events

Social networks on the Internet

April 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Our very own Katarzyna Musial has a recent paper in the refereed academic journal, World Wide Web, which is now the most-downloaded paper in the journal (in the past 30 and the past 90 days). The paper, written with Przemysław Kazienko, is entitled, “Social networks on the Internet” (World Wide Web, in press, published online January 2012), and is available here.

The abstract:

The rapid development and expansion of the Internet and the social–based services comprised by the common Web 2.0 idea provokes the creation of the new area of research interests, i.e. social networks on the Internet called also virtual or online communities. Social networks can be either maintained and presented by social networking sites like MySpace, LinkedIn or indirectly extracted from the data about user interaction, activities or achievements such as emails, chats, blogs, homepages connected by hyperlinks, commented photos in multimedia sharing system, etc. A social network is the set of human beings or rather their digital representations that refer to the registered users who are linked by relationships extracted from the data about their activities, common communication or direct links gathered in the internet–based systems. Both digital representations named in the paper internet identities as well as their relationships can be characterized in many different ways. Such diversity yields for building a comprehensive and coherent view onto the concept of internet– based social networks. This survey provides in–depth analysis and classification of social networks existing on the Internet together with studies on selected examples of different virtual communities.

Bridging the Gaps

April 6, 2012 Leave a comment

Great progress is being made on our EPSRC inter-disciplinary seed-funding research project, Bridging the Gaps, which aims to strengthen the many connections between Informatics and other disciplines at King’s College London. More information here.  Please contact us if you want to be involved.

King’s at AAMAS 2012

April 6, 2012 Leave a comment

We have just received news of successes for our papers at AAMAS 2012 workshops, to be held in Valencia, Spain, in June 2012.  The topics range from adaptive and self-organizing systems, through network science, to automated trading.  This range gives some idea of the diversity in contemporary computer science research.

Martin Chapman, Gareth Tyson, Katie Atkinson, Michael Luck and Peter McBurney [2012]: Social networking and information diffusion in automated markets. In: C. Kiekintveld, O. Shehory, E. David, S. Stein and V. Robu (Editors): Joint International Workshop on Trading Agent Design and Analysis (TADA 2012) and Agent-Mediated Electronic Commerce (AMEC 2012).

Samhar Mahmoud, Michael Luck, Jeroen Keppens and Nathan Griffiths [2012]:  Overcoming hub effects in scale free networks.  In: H. Aldewereld and J. Simão Sichman (Editors):   14th International Workshop on Coordination, Organisations, Institutions and Norms (COIN 2012).

Matthew Shaw, Jeroen Keppens, Michael Luck and Simon Miles [2012]:   Towards a general model of organisational adaptation: pipelines.   In: H. Aldewereld and J. Simão Sichman (Editors):   14th International Workshop on Coordination, Organisations, Institutions and Norms (COIN 2012).

Congratulations to all involved!

Photograph:  Copyright
Update: there’s yet another paper at an AAMAS workshop:
Maria Emila Garcia, Gareth Tyson, Simon Miles, Michael Luck, Adel Taweel, Brenda Delaney and Tjeerd Van Staa [2012]:  An Analysis of Agent-Oriented Engineering of e-Health Systems. In Proceedings of the 13th International Workshop on Agent-Oriented Software Engineering (AOSE 2012).

Jaw, jaw about cyber weapons

April 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Some discussion here on the Security Affairs blog of our recent paper on Cyber Weapons.

Categories: Security
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