Third Symposium on Compositional Structures (SYCO 3)

University of Oxford, UK
27-28 March 2019

The Symposium on Compositional Structures is a new interdisciplinary series of meetings aiming to support the growing community of researchers interested in the phenomenon of compositionality, from both applied and abstract perspectives, and in particular where category theory serves as a unifying common language. We welcome submissions from researchers across computer science, mathematics, physics, philosophy, and beyond, with the aim of fostering friendly discussion, disseminating new ideas, and spreading knowledge between fields. Submission is encouraged for both mature research and work in progress, and by both established academics and junior researchers, including students.

Submission is easy, with no format requirements or page restrictions. The meeting does not have proceedings, so work can be submitted even if it has been submitted or published elsewhere. You could submit work-in-progress, or a recently completed paper, or even a PhD or Masters thesis.

While no list of topics could be exhaustive, SYCO welcomes submissions with a compositional focus related to any of the following areas, in particular from the perspective of category theory:

This new series aims to bring together the communities behind many previous successful events which have taken place over the last decade, including Categories, Logic and Physics, Categories, Logic and Physics (Scotland), Higher-Dimensional Rewriting and Applications, String Diagrams in Computational, Logic and Physics, Applied Category Theory, Simons Workshop on Compositionality, the Yorkshire and Midlands Category Theory Seminar, and the Peripatetic Seminar in Sheaves and Logic.

This event follows SYCO 1 held in Birmingham in September 2018, and SYCO 2 held in Strathclyde in December 2018. The subsequent event will be SYCO 4 in Los Angeles in May 2019.

Invited speakers

Marie Kerjean Alessandra Palmigiano
Marie Kerjean Alessandra Palmigiano
INRIA Bretagne Atlantique,
Equipe Gallinette
Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management,
Delft University of Technology

Department of Pure and Applied Mathematics,
University of Johannesburg
Differentiating proofs and programs From parametricity to modularity and back in correspondence theory: preliminary considerations

Best student presentation award

Maaike Zwart
Maaike Zwart
University of Oxford
Don’t try this at home: No-Go Theorems for Distributive Laws
(joint work with Dan Marsden)

Important dates

All deadlines are 23:59 anywhere-on-earth on the given dates.


TimeTuesday 26 March
19:30 Pre-meeting drinks, The Royal Oak, 42-44 Woodstock Rd
TimeWednesday 27 MarchThursday 28 March
9:30–10:00 Marie Kerjean, "Differentiating proofs and programs" (invited talk) (slides)
10:30–11:00 REGISTRATION Mario Alvarez-Picallo and C.-H. Luke Ong, "Change Actions: Models of Generalised Differentiation" (slides)
11:00–11:30 BREAK
11:30–12:00 Alessandra Palmigiano, "From parametricity to modularity and back in correspondence theory: preliminary considerations" (invited talk) (slides) Chad Nester, "Constructing Cryptocurrency Ledgers with Monoidal Categories" (slides)
12:00–12:30 Antonin Delpeuch, "Autonomization of monoidal categories" (slides)
12:30–13:00 Chase Bednarz, "Occlusion Operads for Image Segmentation" (slides) Thorsten Altenkirch, "Naturality for free – the category interpretation of directed type theory" (slides)
13:00–13:30 LUNCH LUNCH
14:00–14:30 Maaike Zwart and Dan Marsden, "Don't Try This at Home: No-Go Theorems for Distributive Laws" (slides) Sharwin Rezagholi, Tobias Fritz and Paolo Perrone, "The support is a morphism of monads" (slides)
14:30–15:00 Lukas Heidemann, Nick Hu and Jamie Vicary, "Introducing" (slides) Neil Ghani, Clemens Kupke, Alasdair Lambert and Fredrik Nordvall Forsberg, "Compositional Game Theory with Mixed Strategies: Probabilistic Open Games" (slides)
15:00–15:30 Martha Lewis, "Compositionality for Recursive Neural Networks" (slides) Stefano Gogioso, "Categorical Quantum Dynamics" (slides)
15:30–16:00 BREAK
16:00–16:30 Tai-Danae Bradley, Martha Lewis, Jade Master and Bradley Theilman, "Translating and Evolving: Towards a Model of Language Change in DisCoCat" (slides)
16:30–17:00 Fosco Loregian and Ivan Di Liberti, "On the unicity of formal category theories"
17:00–17:30 Samson Abramsky, Rui Soares Barbosa, Martti Karvonen and Shane Mansfield, "A comonadic view of simulation and quantum resources" (slides)



Here are some photographs of the event.
Group Photo 1
Alasdair Lambert
Alasdair Lambert
Alessandra Palmigiano
Alessandra Palmigiano
Antonin Delpeuch
Antonin Delpeuch
Chad Nester
Chad Nester
Chase Bednarz
Chase Bednarz
Jamie Vicary
Jamie Vicary
Maaike Zwart
Maaike Zwart
Marie Kerjean
Marie Kerjean
Mario Alvarez-Picallo
Mario Alvarez-Picallo
Martha Lewis
Martha Lewis
Martti Karvonen
Martti Karvonen
Sharwin Rezagholi
Sharwin Rezagholi
Stefano Gogioso
Stefano Gogioso
Thorsten Altenkirch
Thorsten Altenkirch


Registrations are still accepted but the amount of food and refreshments we can provide may be limited.

Please register by filling in the registration form. There is no registration fee, but please register so that we can order the right amount of catering, and give you a badge.

Local information

The local organizers are Fatimah Ahmadi, Christopher Dean, Antonin Delpeuch, Jean-Simon Lemay, Benjamin Musto and David Reutter.

Venue. The meeting will take place at the University of Oxford in Lecture Theatre B of the Department of Computer Science which can be accessed from Keble Road.


Trains Oxford Station is 20 minutes walk from the venue. More information on times and fares can be found at National Rail Enquiries and TheTrainLine.

Planes Oxford is well connected to both London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports. The Airline bus service from Heathrow to Oxford takes approximately 90 minutes. The Airline bus service from Gatwick to Oxford takes about 2½ hours. National Rail also connects all these airports to Oxford.

Birmingham airport is also connected to Oxford by National Express and National Rail services.

Coaches Oxford Gloucester Green Bus Station is 15 minutes walk from the venue. National Express services connect Oxford to many other locations. The Oxford Tube and X90 services both connect Oxford to central London including London Victoria and take about 90 minutes. They take slightly different routes. See Oxford Tube route information and X90 Route Information.

Cars Parking in central Oxford is extremely limited. There are a number of Park and Ride locations. Buses from Pear Tree and Water Eaton stop quite close to the venue.

Local Buses Information on local buses can be found at the Oxford Bus Company. Buses now accept contactless payment (using, for example, contactless credit card or ApplePay) and no preliminary setup is required.

Taxis There are taxi ranks at Gloucester Green Bus Station and Oxford Station. A1 Taxis can be booked by phone at 01865 248 000 or booked online.

Internet access. The best way to access the internet is by using the Eduroam service; you can download a configuration tool for your device here. If you do not have access to Eduroam, please ask for login details at the registration desk.


We are pleased to acknowledge financial support from EPSRC.


The intention is for SYCO to be a community meeting, where people have enough time to explain their ideas, and with a friendly and non-competitive atmosphere. To encourage this, in the event that more submissions are received of an acceptable standard than can be accommodated in the timetable, the programme committee may choose to defer some submissions to a future meeting, rather than reject them. This would be done based largely on submission order, giving an incentive for early submission, but would also take into account other requirements, such as ensuring a broad and inclusive scientific programme. Deferred submissions can then be re-submitted to any future SYCO meeting, where they will be prioritised for inclusion in the programme, and where they will not need to be re-reviewed. Meetings are held sufficiently frequently to avoid a backlog of deferred papers.


Submission is now closed.

Submissions should present research results in sufficient detail to allow them to be properly considered by members of the programme committee, who will assess their interest to the SYCO community. We encourage the submission of work in progress, as well as mature results. There are no proceedings, so work can be submitted even if it has been previously published, or has been submitted for consideration elsewhere. There is no specific formatting requirement, and no page limit, although for long submissions authors should be aware that reviewers will not be able to read the entire document in detail. Think creatively—you could submit a recent paper, or a draft notes of a project in progress, or even a recent Masters or PhD thesis.

If you have a submission which was deferred from a previous SYCO meeting, it will not automatically be considered for SYCO 3; you still need to submit it again through EasyChair. Such a submission will be prioritised for inclusion in the SYCO 3 programme. When submitting, enter the author and title information as usual into the EasyChair submission form, but in the "abstract" field, just state that it is a deferred submission, and give the meeting and submission number where it was originally reviewed. There is no need to attach any documents, but you can if you like, for example if the work has developed since the previous submission; in this case, please give a one-sentence summary in the "Abstract" field of the EasyChair submission form of the way it has changed.

Travel support

Some funding is available to cover travel and subsistence costs, with a priority for PhD students and junior researchers. To apply for this funding, please contact the local organizer Antonin Delpeuch ( with subject line "SYCO 3 funding request" by 13 March, with a short statement of your current status, travel costs and funding required


In total 73 participants (66 listed below)

Samson Abramsky, University of Oxford
Fatimah Ahmadi, University of Oxford
Thorsten Altenkirch, University of Nottingham
Mario Alvarez-Picallo, University of Oxford
Pablo Andres-Martinez, University of Edinburgh
Miriam Backens, University of Oxford
Chase Bednarz, Northwestern University
Nicolas Blanco
Vikraman Choudhury, University of Cambridge, Indiana University
Bob Coecke, University of Oxford
Christopher Dean, University of Oxford
Antonin Delpeuch, University of Oxford
Elena Di Lavore, University of Oxford
Ivan Di Liberti, Masaryk University
Nuiok Dicaire, University of Edinburgh
Davide di Micco, Università degli Studi di Milano
Maximilian Doré, LMU Munich
Bruno Gavranović, University of Zagreb
Stefano Gogioso, University of Oxford
Peter Guthmann, University of Leicester
Jules Hedges, University of Oxford
Nick Hu, University of Oxford
Martti Karvonen, University of Edinburgh
Marie Kerjean, INRIA Bretagne Atlantique, Equipe Gallinette
Vitaly Kurin, University of Oxford
Alasdair Lambert, University of Strathclyde
Martha Lewis, University of Amsterdam
Eliana Lorch, University of Oxford
Carol Mak, University of Oxford
Shane Mansfield, LIP6, Sorbonne Université
Dan Marsden, University of Oxford
Benjamin Musto, University of Oxford
Chad Nester, University of Edinburgh
Fredrik Nordvall Forsberg, University of Strathclyde
Adam Ó Conghaile, Cambridge
Alessandra Palmigiano, Delft University of Technology, University of Johannesburg
Simona Paoli, University of Leicester
Paolo Perrone, Max Planck Institute
Robin Piedeleu, University College London
Nicola Pinzani, University of Oxford
Stuart Presnell, University of Bristol
Adam Przepiórkowski, University of Warsaw, Polish Academy of Sciences, University of Oxford
David Reutter, University of Oxford
Sharwin Rezagholi, Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences
Alex Rice, University of Oxford
Mario Román, University of Oxford
Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh, Queen Mary University of London
Nick Sale, University of Oxford
Igor Siveroni, Imperial College London
Andrew Smith, University of Leicester
Toby Smithe, University of Oxford
Rui Soares Barbosa, University of Oxford
Sam Staton, University of Oxford
Shaun Steenkamp, University of Cambridge
Dario Stein, University of Oxford
Markus Strasser
Calin Tataru, University of Oxford
Dominic Verdon, University of Bristol
Jamie Vicary, University of Birmingham and University of Oxford
Dominik Wagner, University of Oxford
Harny Wang, University of Oxford
Yanying Wu, University of Oxford
Si Yu How, University of Oxford
Noam Zeilberger, University of Birmingham
Stefan Zetzsche, PhD Student
Maaike Zwart, University of Oxford

Programme committee

Steering committee

The symposium is managed by the following people. If you have a general question about SYCO, or if you want to propose to host a future version, please get in touch with a member of the steering committee.