Dec 7, 2 PM in ICT-507-AB "Compositionality: a multidisciplinary challenge"
At Software Science Departmental seminar on Friday, Dec 7, 2018 at 2 PM Paweł Sobocinski (University of Southampton, UK) will talk about "Compositionality: a multidisciplinary challenge".
The seminar will take place in ICT-507-AB.
Compositional design is, roughly speaking, the requirement that the dynamic behaviour of a "system" – understood in a broad, inclusive and multidisciplinary sense – is compatible with the way that it is put together. Compositionality means that unexpected, emergent behaviour is ruled out by design. Moreover, formal reasoning about compositional systems is easier, and automatic verification can become algorithmically less complex.
Unfortunately, compositionality is not easy and sometimes requires us to re-examine our assumptions about systems’ behaviour. Moreover, non-compositional ways of thinking have become established in many fields. Sometimes it is necessary to fight inertia and go back to the drawing board. An example of this is Behavioural Control Theory, developed by Jan C. Willems, a pioneer of compositionality in systems theory. To successfully reason about compound systems, Willems needed to discard traditional human ways of analysis – for example, by reasoning in terms of "plugging" inputs into outputs – and instead concentrate on the underlying physics of interconnection.
In this talk I will define compositionality and give examples of compositional and non-compositional approaches in computer science and related fields. I will describe the mathematical context for the rigorous design of open and interconnected systems and highlight the successes (and the many remaining challenges!) of my own research in compositional design of concurrent systems. I will also highlight some recent work of an emerging compositionality community that includes computer scientists, engineers, physicists, mathematicians, economists and social scientists. I will argue that the development of the principles of compositional design is one of the major scientific challenges for the 21st century.