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 industry showcase.


The program will consist of the following components:

Here is the schedule of presentations and community events in UTC time; join now on Zoom:

Current UTC Time:

Global time zone reference bar:

The talks will take place on Zoom, and be simultaneously live-streamed on YouTube Live; they will remain on YouTube (not live) 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 Zoom and Zulip chats 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.

All participants can gather and chat on a dedicated Zulip channel throughout the conference. 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.

A Zulip Account for the Category Theory Zulip channel can be created at this link.

Discussion rooms will be available for participants to join throughout the conference, where they can engage in public discussions and interact with new people. For this we'll use an open source video conferencing platform called "jitsi". Rooms:

  • Coffee – casual chatting
  • Pub – casual chatting
  • Dynamical – things occurring in time, Petri nets, robotics, etc.
  • Quantum – all things quantum
  • Linguistics – language, NLP
  • Types – type theory, programming language theory
  • Probability – random topics are welcome and encouraged
  • Philosophy – what is behind it all?
  • Tools – what software do we need? how do we design it?
  • PureCT – pure category theory discussions
  • AppliedApplied – like actually applied
  • Flourish – strategies for the flourishing of ACT
  • Ethics – what makes a good world and how do we fit into that?

During the values session we discussed this ACT Community Statement of Values, which was subsequently endorsed by the ACT Conference Steering Board. A working group was formed to create a community code of conduct for future meetings, and to do further work to help us align with these values.

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


Keynote presentations (35 minutes)

Poster session

Here is a spreadsheet of poster presenters, each of which has provided links for a video, either an article or a blog post, and a URL at which you can find them during the poster session (July 8, 20:00 -- 22:00 UTC).

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 60-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. If interested, please fill out this form so we know a little about you.


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: