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Workshop on probabilistic programming semantics

Probabilistic programming is the idea of expressing probabilistic models and inference methods as programs and transformations, to ease use and reuse. The recent rise of practical implementations as well as research activity in probabilistic programming has renewed the need for semantics to help us share insights and innovations.

This workshop aims to bring programming-language and machine-learning researchers together to advance the semantic foundations of probabilistic programming. Topics include but are not limited to:

  • the denotational semantics of probabilistic functions, open universe, loops, and conditioning;
  • the operational semantics of sampling, exact inference, and MCMC transitions;
  • axiomatic and equational reasoning;
  • types and polymorphism;
  • and last but not least, how semantics informs any aspect of probabilistic programming, be it design, theory, implementation, or applications.

Discussion guidelines for speakers and other participants

This workshop aims to bring programming-language and machine-learning researchers together. The accepted presentations are gathered at http://pps2016.soic.indiana.edu/. The blog format there invites everyone to ask questions and leave comments before and after the in-person workshop. Or read the abstracts and bring your questions!

To foster collaboration and establish common ground, the posters, the discussion period after each talk, and the breaks are crucial. If you are giving a talk, please abide by the time limit of 20 minutes, and consider encouraging clarification questions during your talk. Each discussion period is 10 minutes—longer than usual, because interaction is key. Please ask questions.

Because probabilistic programming is a research area that bridges multiple communities with different vocabularies, it is especially useful for everyone to ask questions like “What do you mean by X?” and “How is X useful to you?”, where X is a term that occurs in a presentation. Of course, it is also useful for presenters to explain terms proactively.

If you are in the workshop room during a talk, please give the speaker your full attention. Otherwise, please enjoy the posters and snacks in the hallway. We accepted 10 submissions as posters and 10 as talks, not on the basis of reviewer scores but based on which medium we thought would be most effective in conveying the material. So, some highly ranked submissions that are more technical in nature are accepted as posters.

Accepted extended abstracts

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Call for extended abstracts

We expect this workshop to be informal, and our goal is to foster collaboration and establish common ground. Thus, the proceedings will not be a formal or archival publication, and we expect to spend only a portion of the workshop day on traditional research talks. Nevertheless, as a concrete basis for fruitful discussions, we call for extended abstracts describing specific and ideally ongoing work on probabilistic programming semantics.

Extended abstracts are up to 2 pages in PDF format. Please submit them by October 16 using EasyChair: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=pps2016

Sat 23 Jan

pps-2016
09:00 - 10:00: PPS 2016 - Session 1 at Room St Petersburg II
Chair(s): Cameron FreerGamalon
pps-201609:00 - 09:20
Talk
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pps-201609:20 - 09:30
Meeting
pps-201609:30 - 09:50
Talk
Jan-Willem van de MeentUniversity of Oxford, Brooks PaigeUniversity of Oxford, David TolpinUniversity of Oxford, Frank WoodUniversity of Oxford
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pps-201609:50 - 10:00
Meeting
pps-2016
10:30 - 12:15: PPS 2016 - Session 2 at Room St Petersburg II
Chair(s): Chad ScherrerGalois, Inc.
pps-201610:30 - 10:50
Talk
Robert RandUniversity of Pennsylvania, Steve ZdancewicUniversity of Pennsylvania
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pps-201610:50 - 11:00
Meeting
pps-201611:00 - 11:20
Talk
Avi PfefferCharles River Analytics, Brian RuttenbergCharles River Analytics
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pps-201611:20 - 11:30
Meeting
pps-201611:30 - 12:15
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Angelika KimmigKU Leuven, Oleg Kiselyov, Jan-Willem van de MeentUniversity of Oxford, Avi PfefferCharles River Analytics, Frank WoodUniversity of Oxford
pps-2016
14:00 - 15:30: PPS 2016 - Session 3 at Room St Petersburg II
Chair(s): Mitchell WandNortheastern University
pps-201614:00 - 14:20
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Johannes BorgströmUppsala University, Ugo Dal LagoUniversity of Bologna, Andrew D. GordonMicrosoft Research and University of Edinburgh, Marcin SzymczakUniversity of Edinburgh
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pps-201614:20 - 14:30
Meeting
pps-201614:30 - 14:50
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Leonidas LampropoulosUniversity of Pennsylvania, Benjamin C. PierceUniversity of Pennsylvania, Cătălin HriţcuINRIA Paris, John HughesChalmers University of Technology, Zoe ParaskevopoulouPrinceton University, Li-yao XiaENS Paris
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pps-201614:50 - 15:00
Meeting
pps-201615:00 - 15:20
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Sam StatonUniversity of Oxford, Hongseok YangUniversity of Oxford, UK, Chris HeunenUniversity of Edinburgh, Ohad KammarUniversity of Cambridge, Frank WoodUniversity of Oxford
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pps-201615:20 - 15:30
Meeting
pps-2016
15:30 - 16:30: PPS 2016 - Poster Session at Room St Petersburg II
pps-201615:30 - 16:30
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Aleksey KligerXamarin, Inc., Sean StromstenBAE Systems, Inc.
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pps-201615:30 - 16:30
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Theophilos GiannakopoulosBAE Systems, Inc., Mitchell WandNortheastern University, Andrew CobbNortheastern University
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pps-201615:30 - 16:30
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Larry MossIndiana University, Chung-chieh ShanIndiana University, Alexandra SilvaRadboud University Nijmegen
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pps-201615:30 - 16:30
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Faris Abou-SalehUniversity of Oxford, Kwok-Ho CheungUniversity of Oxford, Jeremy GibbonsUniversity of Oxford, UK
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pps-201615:30 - 16:30
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Johannes HölzlTechnische Universität München
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pps-201615:30 - 16:30
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Yohei MiyamotoGraduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University, Kohei Suenaga, Koji NakazawaGraduate School of Information Science, Nagoya University
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pps-201615:30 - 16:30
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Ryan CulpepperNortheastern University
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pps-201615:30 - 16:30
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pps-201615:30 - 16:30
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Adam ŚcibiorUniversity of Cambridge, Andrew D. GordonMicrosoft Research and University of Edinburgh
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pps-201615:30 - 16:30
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Adam ŚcibiorUniversity of Cambridge, Bernhard SchölkopfMPI Tuebingen
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pps-2016
16:30 - 18:00: PPS 2016 - Session 5 at Room St Petersburg II
Chair(s): Chung-chieh ShanIndiana University
pps-201616:30 - 16:50
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Nathanael L. AckermanHarvard University, Cameron FreerGamalon, Daniel RoyUniversity of Toronto
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pps-201616:50 - 17:00
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pps-201617:00 - 17:20
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Daniel HuangHarvard University, Greg MorrisettCornell University
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pps-201617:20 - 17:30
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pps-201617:30 - 17:50
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Friedrich GretzRWTH Aachen University, Nils JansenRWTH Aachen University, Benjamin Lucien KaminskiRWTH Aachen University, Joost-Pieter KatoenRWTH Aachen University, Federico OlmedoRWTH Aachen University
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pps-201617:50 - 18:00
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