Applied Category Theory 2020

Applied Category Theory 2020

Tutorial Day, July 5
Remote Conference, July 6-10

The 3rd annual international Applied Category Theory Conference will take place online July 6 – 10, 2020. It will be preceded by the Adjoint School 2020 from June 29 to July 3, and a tutorial day on Sunday July 5. Note that the conference will take place virtually—online—rather than at MIT as originally planned.

Applied category theory is a topic of interest for a growing community of researchers, interested in studying many different kinds of systems using category-theoretic tools. These systems are found across computer science, mathematics, and physics, as well as in social science, linguistics, cognition, and neuroscience. The background and experience of our members is as varied as the systems being studied. The goal of Applied Category Theory is to bring researchers in the field together, disseminate the latest results, and facilitate further development of the field. ACT 2020 follows ACT 2018 in Leiden, and ACT 2019 in Oxford.

We seek submissions of either original research papers or extended abstracts of work submitted/accepted/published elsewhere. Accepted original research papers will be invited for publication in a proceedings volume. Some contributions will be invited to become keynote addresses, and best paper award(s) may also be given. The conference will include a business showcase.

Important dates

All deadlines are in the AoE time zone, in 2020.

  • Adjoint School Applications: January 15
  • Submission Deadline: Sunday May 10
  • Success Notification: Sunday June 7
  • Registration Deadline: Friday June 26 None
  • Adjoint School: Monday June 29 to Friday July 3
  • Tutorial Day: Sunday July 5
  • Main Conference: Monday July 6 to Friday July 10


Two types of submissions are accepted, which will be reviewed to the same standards:

  • Proceedings Track. Original contributions of high quality work consisting of a 5–12 page extended abstract that provides evidence for results of genuine interest, and with enough detail to allow the program committee to assess the merits of the work. Submissions of works in progress are encouraged, but must be more substantial than a research proposal.

  • Non-Proceedings Track. Descriptions of high-quality work submitted or published elsewhere will also be considered, provided the work is recent and relevant to the conference. The work may be of any length, but the program committee members may only look at the first 3 pages of the submission, so you should ensure these pages contain sufficient evidence of the quality and rigor of your work.

Submissions should be prepared using LaTeX, and must be submitted in PDF format. Submission has now closed.

One or more best paper awards may be given out at the discretion of the PC chairs. Selected contributions will be offered extended keynote slots in the program.

Adjoint School 2020

    Applications for the Adjoint School 2020 are now closed.

    The Adjoint School is an annual week-long collaborative research event, in which junior researchers work on cutting-edge topics in applied category theory, guided by expert mentors.

      Who should apply?

      Anyone, from anywhere in the world, who is interested in applying category-theoretic methods to problems outside of pure mathematics. This is emphatically not restricted to math students, but one should be comfortable working with mathematics. Knowledge of basic category, theoretic language, the definition of monoidal category for example, is encouraged.

      We will consider advanced undergraduates, PhD students, post-docs, as well as people working outside of academia. Members of minorities, and of any groups which are underrepresented in the mathematics and computer science communities, are especially encouraged to apply.

      Instructions for how to apply can be found on the School website.


    For more information, please contact the school organizers.

Tutorial Day

There will be a tutorial day on Sunday July 5, involving four 90-minute sessions. These sessions are meant for attendees who are newer to the subject and who may not yet have the background to get the most out of the main conference sessions. Tutors will introduce aspects of basic category theory that have concrete applications. Please register for this event here.

    What: Four 90-minute introductory tutorials
    Date: July 5
    Time: 9am – 6pm EDT
    Fabrizio Genovese


    Topic to be announced

    Paolo Perrone


    Topic to be announced

    Emily Riehl

    Johns Hopkins University

    Topic to be announced

    David Spivak


    Topic to be announced


The program will consist of the following components:

  • presentations of accepted contributed papers;
  • keynote talks selected from the contributed papers;
  • a business showcase event highlighting interactions between our community and industry.

Our goal is a conference that provides high quality, interactive talk sessions; generative, high bitrate discussions; and serendipitous interactions with new people. We've chosen three online platforms to best provide this experience:

  • Zulip: an online, text-based chat/coordination platform that supports LaTeX and is already heavily used by the ACT community (currently over 200 users and what seems to me about 1000 messages exchanged a day)
  • Zoom: a video-conferencing platform that permits screen-sharing, breakout rooms, and interactive whiteboards
  • YouTube Live: a video-streaming and playback platform

The central hub of the conference will be a dedicated Zulip channel. Here all participants can gather and chat, and particular threads can be devoted to each talk and each sub-community. Messages can be sent publicly and privately, and public threads are permanently available so discussions can talk place asynchronously if necessary.

Talks will be streamed on YouTube Live, and remain on YouTube for watching after the event. Each talk will be hosted by a session chair. A Zulip thread will be run concurrent with each talk, so the audience can ask questions and discuss the material. The chair will moderate, feeding questions from the Zulip chat to the speaker, leading to a moderated discussion-like atmosphere. YouTube introduces a short delay to the stream so that video and sound quality will be smooth; the one-way broadcasting means that large audience numbers will not impact the quality of the stream. Recordings will be done locally on the host machine, so that the final, YouTube videos (lightly edited), will be of the highest quality.

Zoom will be made available for conference participants to use whenever a Zulip discussion needs higher bitrate intrecation We will have publicly-accessible, topic specific Zoom rooms (eg. Categorical Quantum Mechanics, or Tool Support for ACT) so that participants may join public discussions and interact with new people. A list of public rooms will be kept up-to-date on Zulip.

We will place a schedule of presentations here when it becomes available.


Click here to register your intention to participate. We'll use this list to send out links for accessing the online platform, as well as for planning purposes and email updates. There is no fee for registering.


Program committee

  • Mathieu Anel, CMU
  • Miriam Backens, University of Birmingham
  • John Baez, Centre for Quantum Technologies
  • Richard Blute, University of Ottawa
  • Tai-Danae Bradley, City University of New York
  • Andrea Censi, ETH Zurich
  • Corina Cirstea, ETH Zurich
  • Bob Coecke, University of Oxford
  • Valeria de Paiva, Samsung Research America and University of Birmingham
  • Ross Duncan, University of Strathclyde
  • Eric Finster, University of Birmingham
  • Brendan Fong, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Tobias Fritz, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
  • Richard Garner, Macquarie University
  • Fabrizio Romano Genovese, Statebox
  • Jeremy Gibbons, University of Oxford
  • Amar Hadzihasanovic, IRIF, Université de Paris
  • Helle Hvid Hansen, Delft University of Technology
  • Jules Hedges, Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences
  • Kathryn Hess Bellwald, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
  • Chris Heunen, The University of Edinburgh
  • Alex Hoffnung, Bridgewater
  • Joachim Kock, UAB
  • Alexander Kurz, Chapman University
  • Martha Lewis, University of Amsterdam
  • Daniel R. Licata, Wesleyan University
  • David Jaz Myers, Johns Hopkins University
  • Paolo Perrone, MIT
  • Daniela Petrisan, University of Paris, IRIF
  • Vaughan Pratt, Stanford University
  • Peter Selinger, Dalhousie University
  • Michael Shulman, University of San Diego
  • David Spivak, MIT (co-chair)
  • John Terilla, Tunnel Technologies
  • Walter Tholen, York University
  • Todd Trimble, Western Connecticut State University
  • Christina Vasilakopoulou, University of Patras
  • Jamie Vicary, University of Cambridge (co-chair)
  • Maaike Zwart, University of Oxford


Gold sponsor of inclusivity

The following sponsors gave funding so that we could make this conference accessible to everyone.

Other sponsors

The following sponsors—listed in no particular order—also help make this event possible: