The logic of identity and copy for computational artefacts

What does it mean for two programs to be identical to each other and in what sense can one computational artefact be said to be a copy of another one? This is the fundamental question tackled in the following paper that is now on-line:

Nicola Angius and Giuseppe Primiero, The logic of identity and copy for computational artefacts, Journal of Logic and Computation,

The philosophical problem of identity has a long history which can be traced back to the work of people like Quine, Frege and Martin-Löf. In computing the problem of identity concerns the question when two programs are identical. The approach of this paper is to revisit the computational problem by (re-)connecting it to the more philosophical literature by studying in how far the different identity criteria from philosophy can be re-applied to the problem in the computational setting. The result is the determination and formal definitions using process algebras of several types of identity relations. The issues raised in this paper connect quite naturally to some other fundamental problems that came to the fore during the prelaunch roundtable of PROGRAMme at CNAM such as the questions of copyright; the relative difference between programs and algorithms and issues of simulation (see the report). Looking forward to more results in this direction!

An earlier version of the paper is available here.

Launch event – slides

The launch of the PROGRAMme project was an intense first meeting with some great discussions on a variety of topics. The slides of the talks on wednesday February 7 and thursday February 8 are now available here:

February 7, session of the HEPIC séminaire :

Cliff Jones, A brief history of formal methods
Samuel Goyet, Of Bits and Blocks : a historic and semiotic approach of web Application Programming Interface (APIs)

February 8, Workshop Models between structures and meanings of programs:
(Note that two talks were canceled due to circumstances)

Liesbeth De Mol, Introduction to the project and its members
Mark Priestley, Program structure and its graphical representation c. 1946
Tomas Petricek, The Inner Life of Programming Concepts. Also available here.
Edgar Daylight, Towards a History of Model-Modellee Conflations in Computer Science
Maël Pégny, Are machine learning algorithms programs?
Ray Turner, The Ways of Computational Abstraction

What is a computer program?

Welcome to the site of the ANR research project “What is a program? Historical and philosophical perspectives”. The aim of this project is to develop a coherent analysis and pluralistic understanding of “computer program” and its implications to theory and practice. On this site you can find all relevant information related to the project as well as other news, events and publications that are relevant to the project.

The site is currently under construction given that the project will start on February 1, 2018 but a pre-launch event is already planned on October 20, 2017.

More to follow soon…