UCL Engineering


Logical Journeys Webinar (World Logic Day Event)

14 January 2021, 2:00 pm–4:00 pm

The UNESCO World Logic Day logo (square).

Logical Journeys is a one day event organised by Renato Neves, Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh, and Alexandra Silva (UCL) for discussing the past use of logic in different domains and the challenges it faces from emerging paradigms, such as machine learning, probabilistic, cyber-physical, and quantum computing. The event is framed in the context of UNESCO’s World Logic Day, which was proclaimed (last year) to help develop and disseminate logic and what it entails to reasoning, syntax, and semantics.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Renato Neves, Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh, Alexandra Silva

Logical Journeys will consist of a keynote talk by Samson Abramsky and a discussion session on “the many facets of logic” which will be led by a panel of researchers with different backgrounds but with logic as a central pillar in their careers.

Date: 14th January 2021. Start Time: 14h00 (UTC). End Time: 16h00 (UTC).  

The event will be hosted online, via Zoom.

UCL uses third parties such as Zoom to administer virtual events and manage your personal information on our behalf. If you are happy for us to process your data solely for this purpose, please register for our webinar by clicking the booking link above. 

Outline of Programme 

  • 14.00-15.00: Keynote talk by Prof. Samson Abramsky. 
  • 15.00-15.30: Panelists' short talks/opinions about the discussion topics. 
  • 15.30-16.00: Discussion amongst the panel members with questions from the audience. 

Keynote Details 

  • Title: Logical Journeys.
  • Speaker: Prof. Samson Abramsky. 

Logic is an ancient subject, but it has developed a new life in providing a key part of the foundations of computer science. This has led to logic travelling into new areas, acquiring new applications, problems and methods, and new styles and registers. I will discuss some of these journeys, from the perspective of my own journeys in the light of logic. I will also offer some thoughts about the future of logic in computer science. On the one hand, the field is flourishing, but it is also faced by what some see as existential threats.
The future is up for grabs!


The panel will consist of researchers working in different areas where logic is applied: 

  • Samson Abramsky (Oxford University): Logic, quantum, and program semantics. 
  • Robin Hirsch (University College London): Logic and mathematical foundations. 
  • Nathan Klinedinst (University College London): Logic in linguistics. 
  • Pasquale Minervini (University College London): Logic in machine learning. 
  • Lavinia Picollo (National University of Singapore/UCL): Philosophical logic. 
  • Alessandra Russo (Imperial College): Logic in symbolic reasoning. 

Discussion points  

1- A contrarian “expansion” of World Logic Day: The World is noisy and uncertain: has Logic had its Day? 

The idea here is the challenge we currently see to logic in CS and AI coming from the rise in machine learning and probabilistic methods. Of course, we will all want to rebut this, but it might be fun to tension our positive story against this challenge, rather than ignoring it! 

2- Each panelist's personal journey into the world of logic:  

All panelists have experience in working with logic: some have enjoyed proving theorems in and about it, some have used machine learning and neural networks to automate the proofs. Some panelists have used the logic in exotic fields such as AI, linguistics, and philosophy. We would love to hear about each and everyone's stories. 

Please note, this webinar is open to all, but is aimed at an academic audience. Links on this page may lead to external sites. Visit UNESCO’s World Logic Day website for further information about the initiative.   

Featured image credit: UNESCO World Logic Day logo. 

About the Speakers

Prof Samson Abramsky FRS

Christopher Strachey Professor of Computing at University of Oxford

Samson Abramsky is Christopher Strachey Professor of Computing and a Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford University. Previously he held chairs at the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, and at the University of Edinburgh.

Samson has played a leading role in the development of game semantics, and its applications to the semantics of programming languages. Other notable contributions include his work on domain theory in logical form, the lazy lambda calculus, strictness analysis, concurrency theory, interaction categories, and geometry of interaction. More recently, he has been working on high-level methods for quantum computation and information. He introduced categorical quantum mechanics with Bob Coecke. He introduced the sheaf-theoretic approach to contextuality and non-locality with Adam Brandenburger, and has contributed extensively to developing a structural theory of contextuality and its applications.

More about Prof Samson Abramsky FRS

Prof Robin Hirsch

Professor of Mathematical Foundations of Computing, UCL Computer Science at UCL

My research has focused on the theory of binary relations.  The principal algebraic formalism for binary relations is relation algebra, I have written the key textbook on this topic.  Binary relations are much harder to deal with than unary relations, my approach (jointly with Ian Hodkinson) is based on a simple two player game to test consistency of assertions about binary relations.  Using these games I have established various complexity results, including the undecidability of the representation problem for finite relation algebras.  I have extensive research in other algebras of relations, e.g. cylindric, polyadic, domain, kleene algebras, etc. 

I have published research in a wide range of fields including graph theory, relativity theory, argumentation, constraint satisfaction and planning.

I am director of the London Logic Forum which brings together eminent logicians from various academic institutions in London.

More about Prof Robin Hirsch

Dr Nathan Klinedinst

Lecturer, UCL Psychology and Language Sciences at UCL

My primary research interest is in developing formal theories of meaning and communication, informed by theoretical and experimental linguistics, and the cognitive sciences more broadly.

More about Dr Nathan Klinedinst

Dr Pasquale Minervini

Senior Research Fellow, UCL Computer Science at UCL

Pasquale is a Senior Research Fellow at University College London (UCL). He received a PhD in Computer Science from University of Bari, Italy, with a thesis on relational learning. After his PhD, he worked as a postdoc researcher at the University of Bari, and at the INSIGHT Centre for Data Analytics (INSIGHT), where he worked in a group composed by researchers and engineers from INSIGHT and Fujitsu Ireland Research and Innovation. Pasquale published peer-reviewed papers in top-tier AI conferences, receiving two best paper awards, participated to the organisation of tutorials on Explainable AI and relational learning (three for AAAI, one for ECML, and others), and was a guest lecturer at UCL and at the Summer School on Statistical Relational Artificial Intelligence. He is the main inventor of a patent application assigned to Fujitsu Ltd, and recently he was awarded a seven-figures H2020 research grant involving applications of relational learning to cancer research. His website is neuralnoise.com.

Visit Dr Minervini's UCL IRIS profile. 

More about Dr Pasquale Minervini

Dr Lavinia Picollo

Lecturer, UCL Department of Philosophy at UCL

I am a lecturer in Philosophy at UCL. As per January 2021 I will be an Assistant Professor at NUS (National University of Singapore) Department of Philosophy. I received my PhD from the University of Buenos Aires in 2015. After that I spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies and two years as an Assistant Professor at the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, both at LMU Munich.

I'm a member of the Buenos Aires Logic Group, the Argentinian Society of Philosophical Analysis, and the Logicians' Liberation League.

Visit Dr Picollo's UCL profile

More about Dr Lavinia Picollo

Professor Alessandra Russo

Professor in Applied Computational Logic at Imperial College London

I am a Professor in Applied Computational Logic at the Department of Computing, Imperial College London, and academic member of the Distributed Software Engineering Section.

I lead the Structured and Probabilistic Knowledge Engineering (SPIKE) research group and my research interests are in the the areas of in  Computational Logic, Logic-based Symbolic Learning, Probabilistic and Distributed Inference, and their applications to Intelligent Adaptive Systems, Security, Network Management, Distributed Control Systems for Sensor Networks, and System Biology.

More about Professor Alessandra Russo