Duality in Semantics and Verification 

Abstract: The concept of duality appears in many areas of Computer Science and  Mathematics. Examples include the duality between call-by-value and call-by-name, between least and greatest fixpoints, between denotational and operational semantics, and between algebras and coalgebras. In this talk, I want to explore how the general duality between algebra and coalgebra can be useful in programming language semantics and verification. I will illustrate the abstract framework and its use through Dana Angluin's L* learning algorithm, and I will discuss how more advanced variants of L* for weighted and register automata can be automatically derived.

Bio: 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 Professor of Algebra, Semantics, and Computation 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 Royal Society Wolfson Award 2019, Needham Award 2018, the Presburger Award 2017, the Leverhulme prize 2016, and an ERC starting Grant in 2015.