Tag Archives: The ICT Challenges

Global Systems Science in the FET draft work programme

The Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) draft work programme (as part of Horizon 2020) is now published and it contains the almost final version of the calls to be announced officially 2013-12-11. Global Systems Science is there under “FETPROACTIVE1” with a prel. budget of 10M EUR and an application deadline of 2014-04-01.

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CFP: Functional High-Performance Computing (FHPC 2013)

I just want to “advertise” the Functional High-Performance Computing workshop which this year has “Large-Scale Simulation” as their theme which I think fits very well with GSS. Half of the organizers (Fritz Henglein and Jost Berthold) are at the HIPERFIT research center in Denmark (HIPERFIT: research in tailor-made expressive programming languages, frameworks, tools and technologies for financial modeling, and effective use of modern parallel hardware without compromising correctness, transparency or portability.)


Kind regards,

Patrik Jansson



The FHPC workshop aims at bringing together researchers exploring uses
of functional (or more generally, declarative or high-level) programming
technology in application domains where large-scale computations arise
naturally and high performance is essential. Such computations would
typically — but not necessarily — involve execution on highly parallel
systems ranging from multi-core multi-processor systems to graphics
accelerators (GPGPUs), reconfigurable hardware (FPGAs), large-scale
compute clusters or any combination thereof. It is becoming apparent
that radically new and well founded methodologies for programming such
systems are required to address their inherent complexity and to
reconcile execution performance with programming productivity.


GSS Languages workshop

As part of the GSS conference in June, I’m chairing a workshop on “Formal Languages and Integrated Problem Solving procedures in GSS”. It is one of five parallel workshops on “Knowledge Technologies for GSS” on Tuesday 2013-06-11: 11.00 – 13.00. I’ve created a wiki-page with some more details about the workshop:


So far it contains the text below, but it will be completed within a few days.


Patrik Jansson


Global Systems Science (GSS) is about developing systems, theories, languages and tools for computer-aided policy making with potentially global implications. The focus of this workshop is the interaction between core computer science, software engineering and GSS. Topics covered include

  • Languages for policy formulation and enforcement
  • Software as a key to productivity and innovation in industry and academia
  • Domain Specific Languages for Financial IT

We will also touch upon

  • Dependable modelling
  • Verification and Validation of Simulation Models


Speaker: Piero Bonatti

Title: Languages for policy formulation and enforcement

Abstract: Policies govern and constrain a system’s behavior, and as such specify mappings from complex situation descriptions to decisions (or at least sets of options to support human decision making). The perfect languages for expressing such mappings should enjoy a number of features, including: clarity and conciseness, explainability, formal verifiability, and the ability of adapting to an enormous number of possible event combinations. The same requirements arise in the restricted domain of security policies. In this talk, the experience gathered in this field will be reported with the purpose of identifying the most effective languages for policy formulation.

Speaker: Jaana Nyfjord, Director Swedsoft, SICS, Sweden

Title: TBD

Speaker: Martin Elsman, HIPERFIT, DIKU, Denmark

Title: TBD


Testing versus proving in climate impact research

Another recent paper by Cezar Ionescu and Patrik Jansson is also freely available: Full text + abstract.


Higher-order properties arise naturally in some areas of climate impact research. For example, “vulnerability measures”, crucial in assessing the vulnerability to climate change of various regions and entities, must fulfill certain conditions which are best expressed by quantification over all increasing functions of an appropriate type. This kind of property is notoriously difficult to test. However, for the measures used in practice, it is quite easy to encode the property as a dependent type and prove it correct. Moreover, in scientific programming, one is often interested in correctness “up to implication”: the program would work as expected, say, if one would use real numbers instead of floating-point values. Such counterfactuals are impossible to test, but again, they can be easily encoded as types and proven. We show examples of such situations (encoded in Agda), encountered in actual vulnerability assessments.

ICT challenges for GSS, part 3

Notes from The Saturday ICT workshop (by Patrik Jansson, 2012-11-22)

(Ilan Chabay started out with a summary of the Thursday and Friday Narratives workshops – that part is reported elsewhere.)

Second topic was introduced by Jeremy Gibbons. We need robust modelling – we cannot assume a single shared context. Even for a long-lived single-person project, but more urgently for larger collaborations. We need assumptions to be explicit, documented, transparent, checkable. Challenge 1: make computational science results transparent and repeatable. Challenge 2: provide languages which let you write a high-level model of your program and let the computer generate the low-level code.

Third Michael Resch talked about “Verification and Validation of Simulation Models”. There is a chain (or tower) of models from theory, through modelling, numeric modelling (like discretization), programming, running and interpreting the results. To be sure about the validity of the results we need Challenge 3: validation and verification at each step (each level). This is a major challenge with many sub-parts. If we carefully explain all the potential “bugs” which could in principle invalidate our results we could easily project the image that “they have no credibility”. Thus there is the pedagogical Challenge 4: how to present results with uncertainties? There is also a historical dimension as science moves forward and consensus changes (due to improvements of theory, models and data). Journalists dig up old results (which we now know are incorrect) and make headlines based on the “contradictions” found.

Last discussion topic was introduced by David De Roure: “Knowledge Infrastructure for Global Systems Science”. This comes back to the transparency and repeatability (and multiple meanings of that) mentioned by Jeremy. The main message was that methods are as important as the data. Bundles of workflows, documents and data make up “computational research objects”. An important Challenge 5 here is how to represent these research objects so that they can be mixed and matched freely. Some support for automatic curation and repair would also be needed.

Saturday ICT chairs + presenters

  • Patrik Jansson – Chalmers Univ. of Techn., patrikj@chalmers.se
    • Co-chair of “Models and Narratives in GSS”
  • Ilan Chabay
    • Co-chair and talk: “Models and Narratives in Global Systems Science”
  • Jeremy Gibbons
    • Talk: Dependable Modelling
  • Michael Resch
    • Talk: Verification and Validation of Simulation Models
  • David De Roure;
    • Talk: “Knowledge Infrastructure for Global Systems Science”

Other participants:

  • Ulf Dahlsten (first hour)
  • Ralph Dum
  • David Tabara
  • several others (unfortunately I did not make a list)

Information Society Workshops

Chairs: Prof. Patrik Jansson and Ulf Dahlsten

The overall aim of the three workshops (Thu, Fri, Sat) is to identify “ICT Challenges to Global Systems Science”. In each case there are three  workshops in parallel (the ICT workshop + two others) so out of the 55-65 conference participants present perhaps 15-25 will be at “our” workshop. We have 1.5-2 hours scheduled for each workshop, and we should use around half that time for presentations and half for discussions.

This means that each speaker has 15 minutes for the prepared interventions and 15-20 minutes for discussion. In your presentations, please try to highlight opportunities, challenges and open questions and end with a slide (or a hand-out) summarizing these as a basis for the discussion.

Thursday, 8th November 2012, 17.00 – 16.30:


Information Society (1):  The  ICT challenges  to  Global  Systems  Science  – Chair:

Ulf  Dahlsten, former Director at the European Commission, Global Climate Forum


Main topics and questions:


What are the main ICT  challenges for GSS research and evidence-building?

How to enlarge the research community and involve more ICT experts?

How should the challenges be tackled?


Please provide insights on key questions for future Research and Development directions relevant for: 1) ICT and 2) policy areas.




Per Öster: E-science and European Grid Computing.

Vittorio Loreto: ICT and Global online communities.

Chris Barrett: Verification and validation of simulation models: the roles of theory, experimentation and observation.

Other participants: Martin Elsman, Patrik Jansson, Wolfgang Boch





Friday, 9th November 2012, 10.30 -12.30:

Information Society (2) – Computer Science meets Global Systems Science – Chair: Prof. P. Jansson, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden


Topics and questions:



What is the role of computer science in Global Systems Science?

What specification-, modelling- and implementation-languages are useful for GSS?

What visualisation and user interfaces are needed?

What is the role of open and transparent data, new ontologies and structured data?

What is the role of scientific code? (e.g. common languages, specifications and open implementations).

How can we make models and results easily accessible and deployable?

How can we make models and results of modelling – including their strengths and limitations – understandable and accessible to diverse stakeholders?


Please provide insights on key questions for future Research and Development directions relevant for: 1) ICT and 2) policy areas.



Contributors / participants:


Patrik Jansson: Introduction

Martin Elsman: Scientific code: common languages, specifications and open implementations

Zhengang Han: Modelling and visualization

Johan Jeuring: E-learning and mathematics

Other participants: John Sutcliffe-Braithwaite, Katharyna Szkuta,
Sat, Nov 10, 09.00 – 10.30:

ICT, Models and Narratives – Co-chairs:Patrik Jansson & Ilan Chabay


Topics and questions:


Verification and validation of simulation models: the roles of theory, experimentation and observation

Models and Narratives: bringing stakeholders into the process of GSS and GSS into societal processes via ICT

Jeremy Gibbons: “Dependent types for dependable modelling”

Michael Resch: “Verification and validation of simulation models:  the roles of theory, experimentation and observation”

David De Roure: “Software sustainability” or “myExperiment – sharing workflows