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Sat 23 Jan 2016 15:00 - 15:20 at Room St Petersburg II - Session 3 Chair(s): Mitchell Wand

For about an year or so, we have been working on the semantics of higher-order probabilistic programming languages that support continuous distributions, such as Church, Venture and Anglican. Our goal was to verify the correctness of program optimisations that we developed for Anglican, and to understand unusual programming concepts in Anglican, such as nested query and distribution object. Defining the semantics of such a language turns out to be very challenging because the combination of higher-order functions and continuous distributions poses a nontrivial technical problem. In order to handle continuous distributions properly, we need to use tools from measure theory, but the standard setting of measure theory lacks a proper notion of function space: the category of measurable spaces is not cartesian closed. After a lot of struggles with this problem, we learnt that abstract tools from category theory can be used to resolve this problem and to lead to a semantics of a call-by-value higher-order probabilistic programming language with continuous distributions. Our two-page abstract below contains a summary of our findings. We plan to (and hope to) give a more accessible presentation of the work in PPS’16.

Sat 23 Jan

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
Talk
Johannes BorgströmUppsala University, Ugo Dal LagoUniversity of Bologna, Andrew D. GordonMicrosoft Research and University of Edinburgh, Marcin SzymczakUniversity of Edinburgh
Pre-print
pps-201614:20 - 14:30
Meeting
pps-201614:30 - 14:50
Talk
Leonidas LampropoulosUniversity of Pennsylvania, Benjamin C. PierceUniversity of Pennsylvania, Cătălin HriţcuINRIA Paris, John HughesChalmers University of Technology, Zoe ParaskevopoulouPrinceton University, Li-yao XiaENS Paris
Pre-print
pps-201614:50 - 15:00
Meeting
pps-201615:00 - 15:20
Talk
Sam StatonUniversity of Oxford, Hongseok YangUniversity of Oxford, UK, Chris HeunenUniversity of Edinburgh, Ohad KammarUniversity of Cambridge, Frank WoodUniversity of Oxford
Pre-print
pps-201615:20 - 15:30
Meeting