--- tags: chapman, projects --- # Ideas for Ongoing and Future Research (... under construction ...) The art of programming is the art of organizing complexity. (Edsger Dijkstra, Notes on Structured Programming, 1969) At Chapman, we do not have courses on [logic in computer science](https://hackmd.io/@alexhkurz/SyhGzLI5Y) and [category theory](https://hackmd.io/@alexhkurz/r18dMLIqK) but I touch on some of this in my courses [Programming Languages](https://github.com/alexhkurz/programming-languages-2021) and [Compiler Construction](https://github.com/alexhkurz/compiler-construction-2022) which introduce some aspects of [programming language research](https://hackmd.io/@alexhkurz/rJzTP7s2F). In the following, I list areas I am interested in and which have (existing or potential) connections to programming langauges research. I am also more than happy to pick up on suggestions as long as I can connect them with my own interests and expertise. ## Blockchain, Crypto, Smart Contracts Logic of Smart Contracts Decentralized Social Media, Community Social Media Digital Trust ## Rules as Code, Online Courts Independently of distributed ledger technology, but related to it, there are ideas such as [Rules as Code](https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/3afe6ba5-en.pdf) and [Online Courts](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/online-court-and-tribunal-services-for-professional-users-and-the-public) and [Online Dispute Resolution](https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/center-for-innovation/odrvisualizationreport.pdf) (ODR). While the above links do not point yet to impressive applications, Prof Rabinovich-Einy argues in [The Past, Present and Future of Online Dispute Resolution](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ae9HFcdca-Q) that technology will dramatically change the future of how we practice law, both increasing access and fairness. [A Bug in Early Creative Commons Licenses Has Enabled a New Breed of Superpredator](https://doctorow.medium.com/a-bug-in-early-creative-commons-licenses-has-enabled-a-new-breed-of-superpredator-5f6360713299) has a fascinating story about robo-lawyers (we are already living in a sci-fi world). I think this will be an interesting topic of research in the future. ## Category Theory of Accounting, Compositional Economics Accounting is still done with spreadsheets or monolithic proprietary software. This is not well suited for the dynamic requirements of the 21st century (such as, for example, a decentralized energy grid with millions of largely independent prosumers. I am currently involved in a project that aims at building tools for compositional accounting, based on category theory. And as the example of the energy grid shows, it is not only the accounting aspect for which compositional tools are needed ... ## Natural Language Processing I teach a 1 credit course in Spring on NLP and I am interested in supervising projects on this topic. Some interesting links: [Programming in Natural Language](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGUCcjHTmGY#t=13m8s) [Natural Language Querying](https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&as_ylo=2018&as_vis=1&q=natural+language+database+databases&btnG=) and [Neural Databases](https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&as_vis=1&q=%22natural+language%22+%22neural+database%22+%22neural+database%22&btnG=) [NLP for the Law](https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&as_vis=1&q=NLP+%22natural+language+processing%22+law+&btnG=) ## The Power and Dangers of AI The links are taken from Waltzman's talk [Automated influence (AI?) – what could go wrong? ](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AELSE0MFkmk) - Language: [New Age Bullshit Generator](https://sebpearce.com/bullshit/) - Text and Images: [DALL·E](https://openai.com/blog/dall-e/) - Pictures of People: [thispersondoesnotexist](https://thispersondoesnotexist.com/) - Speech: [Deep Fake Text to Speech](https://vo.codes/) - Fake news game: [getbadnews](https://www.getbadnews.com/#intro) I don't have any concrete ideas at the moment, but the question about the dangers of AI is an important one and I'd be happy to supervise a project on this topic. [^powerofAI] Some interesting articles on [machine ethics](https://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_ylo=2018&q=machine+ethics&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5&as_vis=1). Here is a talk on whether [AI can learn morality](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsPFgXeaeLI). Btw, behavioural economists also have some interesting results that shed light on these questions. ## Explainability in AI [Explainability in AI](https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&as_ylo=2018&as_vis=1&q=explainability+machine+learning&oq=explainability+) is one of the major challenges of our times. To get started on this topic, I thought of investigating the possibilities of an [Explaining Chess Engine](https://hackmd.io/@alexhkurz/rJB43Ht2K) (not least because I love to play chess). ## VR and Computer Games in Research One of the strengths of Chapman Engineering are applications of VR and Games to various research areas such as health care. Another strength is Chapman's research in [experimental economics](https://www.chapman.edu/research/institutes-and-centers/economic-science-institute/index.aspx). I have had discussions with both groups and if you are interested in a project on **VR/Computer Games in Experimental Economics**, get in touch. There are other areas where one can apply similar ideas. For example in philosophy, psychology and neuroscience. ## Economics and Computer Science I have more ideas about projects combining these fields, get in touch if you are interested. ## Agent-Based Modelling Agent-based modelling is a methodology used in social science at least since [Schelling's influential work](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schelling%27s_model_of_segregation). The main idea is related to what we discussed in the previous item, but this time, instead of running experiments with real people, one builds a mathematical models and runs simulations. In economics and political philosophy there is a debate of whether human beings can be modelled as rational agents, that is, utility maximizers, or whether human behaviour is also determined by ethical considerations. Can the difference between the two conceptions be accounted for using agent-based models? More concretely, it has been estimated that we currently would need an Earth 1.6 times bigger to sustain current consumption levels. This provides a strong argument that we need to change direction in the way we run our economy if we want to preserve the ecosystems we need for our survival. Can that be done by measuring the utility provided to us by Nature, or do we need to change our ethics and grant Nature intrinsic value? ## Data Science I have some ideas about drawing maps of science and, in particular, computer science. ## Climate Modelling With [Josh Fisher](https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=L-xs06gAAAAJ), Presidential Fellow of Ecosystem Science, we have an expert on ecology, space exploration and climate modelling at Chapman. Josh and I have some initial ideas about using techniques from Programming Languages and Software Engineering for Climate Modelling. This is not yet a research programme, but if you are interested in starting one in this area, get in touch. ## Logic and Category Theory Obviously, if you want to learn logic and/or category theory, we can find all kind of interesting projects. In logic, to list only some non-mainstream ideas, I have an interest in making theorem provers more usable for mathemaiticians, or in implementing Aristotelian syllogistic logic or in using "experimental philosophy" to better understand [Frege's Begriffsschrift](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begriffsschrift). In category theory, I am interested in applications that test the ideas of applied category theory in a wide variety of scenarios ... [anything goes](https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feyerabend/), as long as it is good science. ## Other Interdisciplinary Research Ideas After roughly 100 years of computer science, I believe our discipline is mature enough to interface with all other sciences. Obvious points of contact are data science, domain specific programming languages, virtual reality/computer games, agent-based modelling. More generally, the introductory quote by Dijkstra strikes me as central as to what our expertise is, even after 50 years. I believe there are many possibilities I never thought about and **I would love to hear from you**. Btw, as I say above, we are already living in a sci-fi world, so I am also interested in creative writing that explores the new present and future. [^powerofAI]: [Now Physical Jobs Are Going Remote Too](https://www.wired.com/story/now-physical-jobs-going-remote/) ...