Computational Models and Semantics, Autumn 2020

Course Setup

The course consists of weekly lectures, see schedule below, some practical assignments, self-study and some project work. The practical assignments are meant for deepening the understanding of lecture content. These are either pen-and-paper or implementation exercises.

You will also do some self-study of an advanced topic, which can be a chapter from the book Models of Computation by Bruni and Montanari, or another book or research paper. After developing some understanding of your topic, you will propose a project. The project can be, for example, the implementation of an aspect of your topic, a small research project that builds on what you studied, or a deeper literature research. This is up to you to propose.

At the end, you will then hand in a report and give a presentation of your studies and project. The length of the report depends on your project: a literature study or the development of a theory needs more details than the description of an implementation.

Course Schedule

Week 1: Organisation and Introduction

Lecture Tuesday, 01 September, 11:15

Practical Session Friday, 04 September, 15:00

Week 2: Denotational Semantics and Basic Terminology

Lecture Tuesday, 08 September, 11:15

Practicals Session Friday, 11 September, 15:00

Week 3: General Proof Systems

Lecture Tuesday, 15 September, 11:15

Practicals Session Friday, 18 September, 15:00

Week 4:

Lecture Tuesday, 22 September, 11:15

Practical Session Friday, 25 September, 15:00

Week 5: Domain Theory I

Lecture Tuesday, 29 September, 11:15

Practical Session Friday, 02 October, 15:00

Week 6: Domain Theory II

Lecture Tuesday, 06 October, 11:15

No on-site activity

Week 7: Domain Theory II

Lecture Tuesday, 13 October, 11:15

  • Fixed points in CPOs
  • Denotational Semantics of IMP

Practical Session Friday, 16 October, 15:00

  • Discussion of assignments

Week 8:

Picking Self-Study Topics

Pick or suggest study topic as group until Friday, 23 October, 23:59. Please suggest your favourite study topic as response to the assignment on Brightspace. There is a list with suggested available on Brightspace, from which you can pick papers or book chapters. In case you pick something from this list, please also provide an alternative in case we have some conflicts. We will sort out these conflicts then in the forum. Feel free to communicate your choice also beforehand in the Self-Study and Project forum.

We will finalise on Monday, 26 October the study topic assignment. Then you can start studying your chosen topic.


  • Implementation of HOFL

Lecture Tuesday, 20 October, 11:15

  • Syntax HOFL
  • Free variables
  • Substitution
  • Operational Semantics

Practical Session Friday, 23 October, 15:00

Week 9:

Start Self-Study

We will finalise on Monday, 26 October the study topic assignment. Then you can start studying your chosen topic.

Lecture Tuesday, 27 October, 11:15

  • Constructions on domains: products, function spaces
  • Continuity theorems (lifting, composition, etc.)

Practical Session Friday, 30 October, 15:00


Week 10:

Lecture Tuesday, 03 November, 11:15

  • Denotational Semantics of HOFL

Practical Session Friday, 06 November, 15:00

Week 11:

Project proposal

Please submit your project proposal by Friday, 13 November, 23:59. The proposal should be of reasonable length, say, around 200 - 400 words long. You need to mention in your proposal what your study topic is and what you plan to carry out as project. Keep in mind that you have about three weeks for completing the project, which means that your proposal should be realistic.

The project should have a clear research question and a clear outcome that will answer your research question. I will give you some feedback by Monday, 16 November in the Afternoon on whether your proposal is realistic.

Lecture Tuesday, 10 November, 11:15

  • Equivalence Between HOFL Denotational and Operational Semantics

Practical Session Friday, 13 November, 15:00

Week 12: Category Theory

Lecture Tuesday, 17 November, 11:15

  • Categories and functors
  • Cartesian closed categories
  • Categorical semantics of STL

Practical Session Friday, 20 November, 15:00

Week 13: Monad Semantics

Lecture Tuesday, 24 November, 11:15

  • Monads
  • Categorical semantics of a simple probabilistic language

No on-site activity

Week 14:

No lecture

Practical Session Friday, 04 December, 15:00

Week 15:

Project Report Deadline Friday, 11 December, 23:59

Please hand in the report for your project via Brightspace. This report should contain a summary of your study topic, with enough explanation to understand the description of your project.

I will make a LaTeX template for the project report available.

No lecture

Practical Session Friday, 11 December, 15:00

  • Project Presentation?