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Professor Prakash Panangaden – research lunch

Professor Prakash Panangaden will review the concept of probabilistic bisimulation and its extension to systems with continuous state spaces. 

Surprisingly, it turned out that one can prove a striking logical characterization theorem: a theorem that pins down exactly what differences one can ‘’see’’ in process behaviours when two systems are not bisimilar.  I will outline the ideas behind the proof.

However, it is questionable whether a concept like equivalence is the right one for quantitative systems. If two systems are almost, but not quite, the same, bisimulation would just say that they are not equivalent. One would like to say in some way that they are “almost” the same.  Metric analogues of bisimulation were developed to capture a notion of behavioral similarity rather than outright equivalence. This development uses ideas from optimal transport theory and exploits the so-called Wasserstein metric invented by Kantorovich.

I will conclude with a brief discussion of current work aimed at representation learning and also at extensions to continuous time systems like diffusions.


Speaker Bio

Prakash Panangaden primarily works on Markov processes: approximation, metrics, logics and reasoning principles.  He obtained his MSc from IIT Kanpur, an MS from the University of Chicago on radiation from black holes, a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on quantum field theory in curved spacetimes and an MS computer science from the University of Utah on the semantics of dataflow programming.  He has been an assistant professor in computer science at Cornell University, and is currently a professor in the School of Computer Science at McGill University, Montreal, Canada and a Core Member of the Montreal Institute of Learning Algorithms (MILA).  He has held visiting positions at the University of Paris VII, CWI Amsterdam, the Computer Laboratory at Cambridge University, the University of Oxford and the University of Edinburgh.  He has been a Honorary Professor at the University of Edinburgh.

He is known for his work on: quantitative equational logic, probabilistic bisimulation and metrics, approximation of Markov processes, renormalization of quantum field theory in curved spacetime, causality and topology in relativity, quantum information theory, causal quantum mechanics, semantics of concurrent computation, type theory, knowledge in distributed systems, and for some topics in pure mathematics (nuclear ideal systems).  He
was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2013 and a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery in 2021.



Miniforum 2, Informatics Forum, The University of Edinburgh, 10 Crichton Street, Newington EH8 9AB

Date and time

23 March at 1pm

Link to Eventbrite Tickets


Zoom link
Meeting ID: 824 9560 6031
Passcode: 5XRXhkKB



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