Fourth Symposium on Compositional Structures (SYCO 4)

Chapman University, California, USA
22-23 May 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 in Birmingham, SYCO 2 in Strathclyde, and SYCO 3 in Oxford.

Invited speakers

John Baez Tobias Fritz Nina Otter
John Baez Tobias Fritz Nina Otter
Department of Mathematics
University of California, Riverside
Perimeter Institute for
Theoretical Physics
Department of Mathematics
University of California, Los Angeles
Props in Network Theory Categorical Probability:
Results and Challenges
A Unified Framework for
Equivalences in Social Networks
(abstract) (abstract) (abstract)

Best student presentation award

Jade Master
Jade Master
University of California, Riverside
Generalized Petri Nets

Important dates

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


TimeWednesday 22 MayThursday 23 May
9:30–10:00 Nina Otter, "A Unified Framework for Equivalences in Social Networks" (invited talk, abstract)
10:30–11:00 REGISTRATION Kohei Kishida, Soroush Rafiee Rad, Joshua Sack and Shengyang Zhong, "Categorical Equivalence between Orthocomplemented Quantales and Complete Orthomodular Lattices" (abstract, slides)
11:00–11:30 BREAK
11:30–12:00 John Baez, "Props in Network Theory" (invited talk, abstract, slides) Cole Comfort, "Circuit Relations for Real Stabilizers: Towards TOF+H" (abstract, slides)
12:00–12:30 Owen Biesel, "Duality for Algebras of the Connected Planar Wiring Diagrams Operad" (abstract, slides)
12:30–13:00 Jade Master, "Generalized Petri Nets" (abstract, slides) Joe Moeller and Christina Vasilakopoulou, "Monoidal Grothendieck Construction" (abstract, slides)
13:00–13:30 LUNCH LUNCH
14:00–14:30 Christian Williams and John Baez, "Enriched Lawvere Theories for Operational Semantics" (abstract, slides) Tobias Fritz, "Categorical Probability: Results and Challenges" (invited talk, abstract, slides)
14:30–15:00 Kenny Courser and John Baez, "Structured Cospans" (abstract, slides)
15:00–15:30 Daniel Cicala, "Rewriting Structured Cospans" (abstract, slides) Harsh Beohar and Sebastian Küpper, "Bisimulation Maps in Presheaf Categories" (abstract, slides)
15:30–16:00 BREAK BREAK
16:00–16:30 Samuel Balco and Alexander Kurz, "Nominal String Diagrams" (abstract, slides) Benjamin MacAdam, Jonathan Gallagher and Rory Lucyshyn-Wright, "Scalars in Tangent Categories" (abstract, slides)
16:30–17:00 Jeffrey Morton, "2-Group Actions and Double Categories" (abstract, slides) Jonathan Gallagher, Benjamin MacAdam and Geoff Cruttwell, "Towards Formalizing and Extending Differential Programming via Tangent Categories" (abstract, slides)
17:00–17:30 Michael Shulman, "All (∞,1)-Toposes Have Strict Univalent Universes" (abstract, slides) David Sprunger and Shin-Ya Katsumata, "Differential Categories, Recurrent Neural Networks, and Machine Learning" (abstract, slides)


Group Photo 1
(Click here for a full version, and here for another picture.)


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

Local information

The local organizer is Alexander Kurz (

Venue. The meeting will take place at Chapman University, Beckman Hall 101.

Accommodation. The Ayres Hotel Orange will hold 30 rooms until May 6 at the Chapman rate of $139 per night (follow this link for the rate) including breakfast and shuttle to Chapman (the hotel is close by car but not really walking distance). If you are willing to share a house and/or are short of funds to pay for accommodation there may be a small number of rooms available in private accommodation (contact

Airports. The nearest international airport is Los Angeles (LAX), approximately one hour by Uber, maybe two depending on traffic. There are also shuttle services from the airport which are cheaper if you travel alone but are also less convenient. The closest airport is John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana (SNA), just 20 min by car from campus.


We are pleased to acknowledge financial support from Chapman University.


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 can be made by EasyChair at the following link:

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, 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 4; you still need to submit it again through EasyChair. Such a submission will be prioritised for inclusion in the SYCO 4 programme. When submitting, append the words "DEFERRED FROM SYCO X" to the title of your paper, replacing "X" with the appropriate meeting number. There is no need to attach any documents.

Travel support

Application is now closed.

Some funding is available to cover travel and subsistence costs, with a priority for students and junior researchers. To apply for this funding, please contact the local organizer Alexander Kurz ( with subject line "SYCO 4 funding request" by Wednesday, 8 May, with a short statement of your current status, travel costs, and funding required.


Currently 42 participants are registered, including:

Natanael Alpay, Chapman
John Baez, Department of Mathematics, U.C. Riverside
Harsh Beohar, University of Duisburg-Essen
Owen Biesel, Carleton College
Daniel Briseno, Chapman
Darin Caggiano, Finance/Insurance
Lorenzo Catani, Chapman
Lu Chen, Umass Amherst
Daniel Cicala, University of California, Riverside
Cole Comfort, University of Calgary
Kenny Courser, University of California, Riverside
Fred Dashiell, UCLA
Jason Erbele, Barstow Community College
James Francese, Chapman University
Tobias Fritz, Perimeter Institute
Jonathan Gallagher, Dalhousie University
Oscar Hernandez, Spark Tank
Purbita Jana, The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, India
Kohei Kishida, Dalhousie University
Arseniy Klempner, Statebox
Alexander Kurz, Chapman University
Matthew Leifer, Chapman University
Benjamin MacAdam, University of Calgary
Jade Master, University of California, Riverside
Joe Moeller, University of California, Riverside
Lee Mondshein, Connection Analytics
Jeffrey Morton, SUNY Buffalo State
Drew Moshier, Chapman University
Nina Otter, UCLA
Marcello Sachs, Interested Layman
Joshua Sack, California State University Long Beach
Michael Shulman, University of San Diego
Cristhiano Silva, Chapman University
David Sprunger, National Institute of Informatics, Japan
Melissa Sugimoto, Chapman
Ted Theodosopoulos, Nueva School
Rany Tith, Spark Tank
Christina Vasilakopoulou, University of California, Riverside
Christian Williams, UC Riverside
Sebastien Zany, Ethereum Foundation

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.