From logic to computer science: a linguistic journey

Royal Society Milner Award lecture by Professor Gordon Plotkin FRS

Event details

Professor Gordon Plotkin FRS is Professor of Computer Science at the University of Edinburgh. 

Artificial languages gave rise to one of the great intellectual endeavours of the 20th century. They came to maturity in mathematical logic, around the 30's, in pursuit of metamathematics, the mathematics of mathematics. The first modern programming languages arose in the 50's; they made it possible to write today's complex software systems, which perform the myriad tasks we all now rely on. 

The study of artificial languages forms a fascinating mix of science and engineering. Professor Plotkin will look at this story, and the interplay between logic and computer science, explaining what it takes to understand an artificial language. As well as its syntax, its form, one must also give an account of its semantics, its meaning, itself tied intimately to its use. He will illustrate what can be done in computer science using semantical methods, and speculate on what else may be done. Finally, he will ask what the future developments of artificial languages may be, and look at a 21st century example, where they are beginning to be used in systems and synthetic biology, itself part of a broader movement connecting computer science and biology.

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From logic to computer science: a linguistic journey 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK

Events coming up

  • The interaction of fire and mankind 14 September 2015 at The Royal Society, London Scientific discussion meeting organised by Professor Andrew Scott, Professor William Chaloner FRS, Professor Claire Belcher and Dr Chris Roos
  • The interaction of fire and mankind - further discussion 16 September 2015 at The Royal Society at Chicheley Hall, home of the Kavli Royal Society International Centre, Buckinghamshire Scientific discussion meeting organised by Professor Andrew Scott, Professor William Chaloner FRS, Dr Claire Belcher and Professor Chris Roos
  • Open House Weekend 2015 19 September 2015 at The Royal Society, London The Royal Society's building will be open to the public on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 September 2015.

For more events please see the events diary.

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