**Cornell CS 6117: Category Theory for Computer Scientists (Fall 2022)** (#) Announcements - 08/24: **ROOM CHANGE**: We are moving to **Phillips 407**. - 08/22: Office hours, readings for first half - 08/03: Welcome to CS 6117! # Syllabus Category theory is an abstract theory of structures and transformations. While originally motivated by pure mathematics, category theory has since found applications across physics, philosophy, linguistics, logic, and more; the area is under active development and continues to evolve. The breadth of applications and high level of abstraction can make category theory difficult to approach. This course aims to introduce and motivate category theory by focusing on applications in computer science, and in particular programming language semantics. (##) Course Information This is 3-credit, graduate-level course. Undergraduates are welcome to enroll with permission of the instructor. The main pre-requisite for this course is CS 6110 or CS 4110. Although this course is offered in the computer science department, it is a **purely theoretical course**. There will be no programming involved, and students will be **required to do proofs for all homework assignments**. (##) Course Objectives After completing this course, students should be able to (a) give categorical semantics to different kinds of programming languages and programming language features, (b) carry out basic proofs in category theory, (c) learn and explore further applications of category theory on their own, building on their familiarity with basic concepts and methods in category theory, and (d) explain the basic concepts of a wide variety of denotational semantics. (##) Logistics - Lectures: **PHILLIPS 407** ~~Upson 152~~, Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM - Questions: [Edstem](https://edstem.org/us/join/3EnPQX) (##) Staff Instructor: Justin Hsu - Web: - Email: - Office hours: Wednesday 11-12 in Gates 446 TA: Keri D'Angelo - Email: - Office hours: Friday 11-12 in Gates 323 TA: Pedro H. Azevedo de Amorim - Web: - Email: - Office hours: Monday 4-5 in Gates 456 (##) Assessment Course grades will be based entirely on homework assignments. There are no exams. (###) Assignments There will be one assignment on most weeks. Submissions must be typeset in LaTeX (you can use [quiver](https://q.uiver.app/) for commutative diagrams). - Assignments are due **Thursdays anytime before class (1 PM)**. - Late assignments are not accepted. - Your lowest two assignments will not be counted. - Assignments will be posted and submitted on [CMS](https://cmsx.cs.cornell.edu). (###) Gold-Star Grading We will be using the simplified grading scheme from CS 6110. Our goal is to focus on giving you useful feedback, not on precisely scoring every granular facet of a homework problem. There are three possible outcomes: - **Gold star**: If you do everything reasonably well, whether you have lots of mistakes or are more or less perfect, you will receive a gold star. Congratulations! - **Sparkly star**: If you do something surprisingly awesome, you will receive a *sparkly* star. (This is uncommon.) - **No star**: If your work has major gaps or significant misunderstanding, you may receive no stars. (This is also uncommon.) As a rough guide, earning gold stars on every counted assignment will achieve an A in your course grade. If you are taking this course S/U, earning a gold star on at least six (6) assignments will achieve an S. # Resources For the first half of the course, we will follow **Categories for Types (CfT)** by Roy Crole. Cornell students should have access to the electronic version available [here](https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/categories-for-types/258841251C62FED1DACD20884E59E61C). For the second half of the course, we will follow selected research papers---see the schedule below. While CfT is self contained, the introduction of category theory material is terse. There are many good presentations and resources focused on just category theory. We suggest: - **Basic Category Theory (BCT)** by Tom Leinster. A good introduction to the basics. [Electronic version](https://arxiv.org/abs/1612.09375). - **Category Theory in Context (CTiC)** by Emily Riehl. More comprehensive, with many examples from mathematics. [Electronic version](https://math.jhu.edu/~eriehl/context.pdf). - **nLab**. A curated wiki for category theory and related topics. Extremely useful as a reference, but (a) it can be a bit hard to navigate/discover pages, and (b) articles use a terse and abstract style that takes some getting used to. [nlab](https://ncatlab.org). CfT (and our course) illustrate category theory through applications to programming language semantics. We will assume a working knowledge of the basics (e.g., as covered in CS 6110), and we will introduce more as we go. Here are some good references for PL semantics: - **Practical Foundations for Programming Languages** by Robert Harper. [Draft version](http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~rwh/pfpl/). - **Types and Programming Languages** by Benjamin C. Pierce. [Website](https://www.cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/tapl/). - **PLS Lab**. Relatively new wiki on Programming, Logic and Semantics. [pls-lab](https://www.pls-lab.org/). - **Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy**. Extremely high-quality, peer-reviewed articles. Most useful for articles on logic, but also some overlap with PL. [sep](https://plato.stanford.edu/). # Schedule All dates and topics are tentative and subject to change. Date | Topic | Readings | Assignments :------:|-------|----------|:-----------: Aug 23 | CT: Basics | CfT 2.1-2.3 | Aug 25 | CT: Basics | CfT 2.4-2.6 | Out: A01 Aug 30 | Algebraic Type Theory | CfT 3.1-3.3 | Sep 01 | Algebraic Type Theory | CfT 3.4-3.6 | Due: A01
Out: A02 Sep 06 | Algebraic Type Theory | CfT 3.7 | Sep 08 | Algebraic Type Theory | CfT 3.7-3.8 | Due: A02
Out: A03 Sep 13 | Algebraic Type Theory | CfT 3.8-3.9 | Sep 15 | CT: Representable Functors | CfT 2.7 | Due: A03
Out: A04 Sep 20 | CT: Exponentials
Functional Type Theory | CfT 2.8, 4.1-4.3 | Sep 22 | Functional Type Theory | CfT 4.4-4.6 | Due: A04
Out: A05 Sep 27 | Functional Type Theory | CfT 4.7-4.10 | Sep 29 | Functional Type Theory | CfT 4.10 | Due: A05
Out: A06 Oct 04 | CT: Adjoint Functors | CfT 2.9-2.10 | Oct 06 | Polymorphic Type Theory | CfT 5.1-5.3 | Due: A06
Out: A07 Oct 11 | **FALL BREAK: NO CLASS** | **NO CLASS** | **NO CLASS** Oct 13 | Polymorphic Type Theory | CfT 5.4 | Due: A07
Out: A08 Oct 18 | Polymorphic Type Theory | CfT 5.5, 5.7, 5.8 | Oct 20 | CT: Limits and Colimits | | Due: A08
Out: A09 Oct 25 | Domain Equations | | Oct 27 | Domain Equations | | Due: A09
Out: A10 Nov 01 | CT: SMCC, Monads and Comonads | | Nov 03 | Linear Logic | | Due: A10
Out: A11 Nov 08 | Linear Logic | | Nov 10 | CT: More Monads | | Due: A11
Out: A12 Nov 15 | Monadic Effects | | Nov 17 | Monadic Effects | | Due: A12
Out: A13 Nov 22 | Algebraic Effects | | Nov 24 | **THANKSGIVING: NO CLASS** | **NO CLASS** | **NO CLASS** Nov 29 | Coalgebra | | Dec 01 | Coalgebra | | Due: A13 # Policies (##) Academic Integrity Cornell University has a Code of Academic Integrity (see [here](https://theuniversityfaculty.cornell.edu/dean/academic-integrity/)). Violations of this code are treated very seriously by Cornell and can have long-term repercussions. In this course, you are encouraged to discuss the content of the course with other students, and you may also discuss homework problems with other students. However: - You must do your own work and write up assignments individually, without shared notes of any kind. - If you discuss a problem with another student, you are expected to document this fact in your write-up. - Unless otherwise stated, you may freely use any of the resources above. However, searching for or copying solutions from other sources is not allowed. (##) Respect in Class Everyone—the instructor, TAs, and students—must be respectful of everyone else in this class. All communication, in class and online, will be held to a high standard for inclusiveness: it may never target individuals or groups for harassment, and it may not exclude specific groups. That includes everything from outright animosity to the subtle ways we phrase things and even our timing. For example: do not talk over other people; don't use male pronouns when you mean to refer to people of all genders; avoid explicit language that has a chance of seeming inappropriate to other people; and don't let strong emotions get in the way of calm, scientific communication. If any of the communication in this class doesn't meet these standards, please don't escalate it by responding in kind. Instead, contact the instructor as early as possible. If you don't feel comfortable discussing something directly with the instructor—for example, if the instructor is the problem—please contact the advising office or the department chair. (##) Special Needs and Wellness It is Cornell policy to provide reasonable accommodations to students who have a documented disability (e.g., physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, hearing, or systemic) that may affect their ability to participate in course activities or to meet course requirements. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact [Student Disability Services](http://sds.cornell.edu/) at 607-254-4545, or the instructor for a confidential discussion of their individual needs. If you are experiencing undue personal or academic stress at any time during the semester or need to talk to someone who can help, contact the instructor or: - [Engineering Academic Advising](https://www.engineering.cornell.edu/resources/advising/) at 607-255-7414, - [Learning Strategies Center](http://lsc.cornell.edu/) at 607-255-6310, - [Let's Talk Drop-in Counseling](https://health.cornell.edu/services/counseling-psychiatry/lets-talk) at Gannett at 607-255-5155 - [Empathy Assistance and Referral Service](http://orgsync.rso.cornell.edu/org/ears) at 607-255-EARS.