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Reactive systems: a powerful paradigm for modelling and analysis from engineering to biology


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18:30 - 19:30


The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG


Professor Thomas Henzinger, Institute of Science and Technology, Austria

Join Professor Henzinger to find out about the systems and science behind the buttons and levers in aircraft and the brake pedal in our cars, systems collectively known as ‘reactive systems’. Professor Thomas A Henzinger was awarded the 2015 Milner Award for fundamental advances in the theory and practice of formal verification and synthesis of reactive, real-time, and hybrid computer systems.

To find out more about the lecture take a look at the Royal Society Inside Science blog.

The lecture

A reactive system is a dynamic system that evolves in time by reacting to external events. Hardware components and software processes are reactive systems that interact with each other and with their physical environment. Computer science has developed powerful models, theories, algorithms, and tools for analyzing and predicting the behavior of reactive systems.

These techniques are based on mathematical logic, theory of computation, programming languages, and game theory. They were originally developed to let us build a more dependable computer infrastructure, but their utility transcends computer science. For example, both an aircraft and a living organism are complex reactive systems. Our understanding and the design of such systems can benefit greatly from reactive modeling and analysis techniques such as execution, composition, and abstraction. 

The award

The Royal Society Milner Award, supported by Microsoft Research, is given annually for outstanding achievement in computer science by a European researcher. It replaces the Royal Society and Académie des sciences Microsoft Award and is named in honour of Professor Robin Milner FRS (1934-2010), a pioneer in computer science. The recipient is chosen by the Council of the Royal Society on the recommendation of the Milner Award Committee. The Committee is made up of Fellows of the Royal Society, Members of the Académie des sciences and Members of Leopoldina (Germany). 

Reactive systems: a powerful paradigm for modelling and analysis from engineering to biology

2015 Milner Lecture by Professor Thomas Henzinger.

The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK
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