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Teach me X: iOS Development

February 10, 2014 Leave a comment

The KCL Tech Society is running another in its very popular series of student-led learning sessions tonight, Teach Me X.   This session will be led by James Bellamy and is on mobile app development using iOS.   The session is at 6-7 pm tonight, Monday 19 February, in room K3.11 at the Strand campus of KCL.   Details from the Facebook page.

The Department of Informatics at King’s College London is proud to support this event through the provision of free pizza – since whoever heard of anyone coding without access to pizza!

Atomic Nordic Noir

February 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Copenhagen-canal

Intense rehearsals are underway for performances of Michael Frayn’s celebrated play, Copenhagen, by students at King’s College London.   The play concerns a famous meeting between atomic physicists Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr in Copenhagen during World War II, and deals with topics such as quantum physics, the nature of memory, and the responsibility of nuclear scientists for the atom bomb.   This production is an initiative of three King’s students, William Nash (Producer), Alister MacQuarrie (Director) and Aja Garrod-Prance (Producer).  They held open auditions last November for the parts and after auditions and call-backs selected three students for the play:  Ria Abbott, Fred Fullerton and Thomas Marsh.  Rehearsals began when term resumed last month.

The performances of the play will be on the evenings of Friday 14, Saturday 15, and Sunday 16 March 2014, in the Old Anatomy Museum of King’s Building at King’s College London, on Strand.   A panel discussion about the historic and scientific issues raised by the play will be held around the same time as these performances, with speakers from the Physics Department and the Department of War Studies.     Members of the public are very welcome to attend the performances and the panel discussion.

This production is proudly supported by the School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, and the Departments of Physics and Informatics at King’s College London.

In the meantime, if you would like to see some very professional theatre from the talented people at King’s, hot-foot it to the Greenwood Theatre on Guys’ Campus of King’s this week, where William Nash is directing a production of Romeo and Juliet.   (Wednesday 5, Thursday 6, and Friday 7 February 2014, at 7.45 pm).   People who have managed to sneak past the tight security into rehearsals tell me that the production is funny, exciting, and very definitely noir.

Dov Gabbay: You’re a legend!

June 25, 2012 4 comments

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Being Head of Department sometimes has its drawbacks, but kicking off the Distinguished Lecture Series of the Department of Informatics at King’s College London on 21 June 2012, and introducing our first speaker has to be one of the highlights so far. Emeritus Professor Dov Gabbay has had a remarkable career in Computer Science, and is rightly regarded as one of the outstanding minds in the area of logic. Dov retired in 2011, but I’m delighted that he remains with us at King’s as Emeritus Professor. Indeed, there’s no sign of him slowing down – he remains as active as he ever was.

As I said when I introduced his lecture, one of my prized possessions is one of Dov’s many volumes on logic in his series of handbooks. I acquired it as a PhD student way back, and have ensured that it stays on my shelf, despite being forced to downsize my book collection on several occasions. So it was an honour and a privilege to invite Dov to deliver his lecture.

Of course, the lecture was outstanding, both instructive and entertaining, and set a very high bar for those who will follow in the series of Informatics Distinguished Lectures (look out for future lectures!). We’ve recorded it on video, and I’ll post a link here (as well as several other places) once it’s available.

As Carlito’s nephew(?) in the film, Carlito’s Way, says to Carlito (played by Al Pacino), “You a ****ing legend, man!” I can think of no one to whom such a statement applies more than Dov.

24 October 2012: VIDEO LINK ADDED

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

Automated trading in London

April 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Welcome to InKings! This post is a quick shout to our work on automated trading systems and automated mechanism design.

A few weeks ago I gave an invited talk on competition between financial markets to a conference on Algorithmic Trading held in London. The conference was jointly organized by the Financial Computing Centre of University College London and LMAX, an innovative online financial trading marketplace. I spoke mainly about the CAT Market Design Tournament, an international research tournament established in 2007 to encourage research into the design of adaptive and automated market mechanisms. With the rapid recent growth of online financial trading, electronic marketplaces have proliferated, some under the labels “alternative trading platforms,” “upstairs markets,” or “dark pools of liquidity” (since many of these markets permit anonymous trades).

Competition between traditional stock exchanges and these alternative venues has intensified, and the need for adaptive responses by online markets to dynamic competitive conditions has therefore increased. The CAT Tournament has sought, through crowd-sourced research, to provide the theoretical and deployment underpinnings for the development of the science of automated and adaptive marketplace design. The tournament has been run successfully four times since 2007, under the aegis of the Trading Agent Competition, and has attracted entrants from every continent. The Tournament was undertaken as part of a major research project funded by the EPSRC, undertaken between the Universities of Birminghan, Liverpool and Southampton, with the involvement of Brooklyn College New York. A special issue of the academic journal, E-Commerce Research and Applications, devoted to reseach arising from the CAT Tournament, is due to appear in 2012.

The UCL/LMAX conference on Algorithmic Trading was very successful, and speakers pointed to the opportunities and risks arising from the deployment of sophisticated computing technology in economic and financial domains. Event co-sponsor LMAX is a newly-established multilateral online financial trading marketplace, created with a goal of enabling retail financial traders to undertake automated software trading through an open API. Videos of the talks can be found here (you will first have to register with LMAX). I recommend watching the talk by Dave Cliff of Bristol University, who summarizes compellingly the current lack of understanding we have of the workings of automated trading systems: we may be sitting at the confluence of four centuries of macro-economic crises and two centuries of technological disasters.

Categories: Automated Trading, Events
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