Automata learning is a technique that has successfully been applied in verification, with the automaton type varying depending on the application domain. Adaptations of automata learning algorithms for increasingly complex types of automata have to be developed from scratch because there was no abstract theory offering guidelines. This makes it hard to devise such algorithms, and it obscures their correctness proofs. We introduce a simple category-theoretic formalism that provides an appropriately abstract foundation for studying automata learning. Furthermore, our framework establishes formal relations between algorithms for learning, testing, and minimization. This is joint work with Gerco van Heerdt and Matteo Sammartino.


Alexandra Silva is a theoretical computer scientist whose main research focuses on semantics of programming languages and modular development of algorithms for computational models. A lot of her work uses the unifying perspective offered by coalgebra, a mathematical framework established in the last decades.  

Alexandra is currently a senior lecturer at University College London. Previously, she was an assistant professor in Nijmegen and a post-doc at Cornell University, with Prof. Dexter Kozen, and a PhD student at the Dutch national research center for Mathematics and Computer Science (CWI), under the supervision of Prof. Jan Rutten and Dr. Marcello Bonsangue. 

She was the recipient of the Presburger Award 2017, the Leverhulme prize 2016, and an ERC starting Grant in 2015.