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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 Freer
pps-2016145353600000009:00 - 09:20
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pps-2016145353720000009:20 - 09:30
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pps-2016145353780000009:30 - 09:50
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pps-2016145353900000009:50 - 10:00
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pps-2016
15:30 - 16:30: PPS 2016 - Poster Session at Room St Petersburg II
pps-2016145355940000015:30 - 16:30
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pps-2016145355940000015:30 - 16:30
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pps-2016145355940000015:30 - 16:30
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pps-2016145355940000015:30 - 16:30
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pps-2016
16:30 - 18:00: PPS 2016 - Session 5 at Room St Petersburg II
Chair(s): Chung-chieh Shan
pps-2016145356300000016:30 - 16:50
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pps-2016145356420000016:50 - 17:00
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pps-2016145356480000017:00 - 17:20
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pps-2016145356600000017:20 - 17:30
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pps-2016145356660000017:30 - 17:50
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pps-2016145356780000017:50 - 18:00
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