[SIGCIS-Members] Project Launch: What is a (computer) program? Historical and Philosophical perspectives

ldemol liesbeth.demol at univ-lille3.fr
Mon Jan 22 05:49:17 PST 2018

Dear all,

I hope that the following announcement could be of interest to some 
members of this list,

with very best wishes,
Liesbeth De Mol

Apologies for multiple postings

It is my pleasure to announce the start of the ANR project "What is a 
(computer) program?" (http://programme.hypotheses.org) with a two days 
event to be held on February 7-8 at MESH, rooms 1 and 2, Espace Baïetto, 
2 Rue des Canonniers, 59000 Lille.

On February 7, we will have a session of the Lille-Paris séminaire 
"History and Philosophy of Computer Science and Computing (HEPIC)" with 
participation of Cliff Jones and Samuel Goyet (see 
http://calcul.hypotheses.org for more details). On February 8 we will 
have the workshop "Models between structures and meanings of programs" 
which introduces the project followed by several talks from members of 
the project.

In order to register (February 7 and/or 8), please send a mail with your 
affiliation to: liesbeth.demol at univ-lille3.fr. Registration is free but 
required in order to attend.

/Abstract for the workshop/ What is a (computer) program? This is a 
deceivingly simple question which today has many different answers that 
affect quite basic societal issues such as problems of responsability 
and accountability. The main assumption of the project PROGRAMme is that 
in order to give a proper analysis of the notion of program, one needs 
to give an account and take into account the following three structuring 
and historically-developed modalities of "program":

(1) physical: program as stored and executed on a machine
(2) formal: program as (formal) text
(3) socio-technical: program as used and made by people

The ambition then is to offer a historico-philosophical analysis of 
"program", structured along these three modalities. One basic 
methodological approach is to focus on "models" and their abstractions, 
where "models" are understood in their most generic sense and can refer 
to both concrete machine models (and how these shape, for instance, 
program code) as well as to more abstract models like lambda-calculus.
The aim of this workshop is then to introduce the project as well as to 
offer a set of more in-depth studies focusing on the issue of how models 
are reciprocally developed and shaped by both the structures and 
meanings of programs where both structure and meaning can relate to each 
of the three program modalities. As such, this workshop will deepen the 
discussions initiated at the roundtable "What is a (computer) program?" 
(https://programme.hypotheses.org/prelaunch_en) as well as develop some 
basic themes to be included in future research collaborations.

09.00-11.00: Introduction of the project and its members
11.00-11.30: BREAK
11.30-12.15: Mark Priestley, "Program structure and its graphical 
representation c. 1946"
12.15-13.00: Giuseppe Primiero, "Identity criteria for programs"
13.00-14.30: LUNCH
14.00-14.45: Edgar Daylight, "Towards a History of Model-Modellee 
Conflations in Computer Science"
14.45-15.30: Pierre Mounier-Kuhn, "Les notions de 'programmes" dans la 
machine de Couffignal"/The notion of `programs' in the Couffignal machine"
15.30-16.00: BREAK
16.00-16.45: Ray Turner, "The Ways of Computational Abstraction"
16.45-17.30: Maël Pégny, "Are machine learning algorithms programs?"
17.30-18.15: Tomas Petricek, "The Inner Life of Programming Concepts"

The workshop and séminaire are supported by the platform DATA of MESHS 
and the the ANR project PROGRAMme.

with best wishes,
Liesbeth De Mol

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