Friday, 22 January 2016

Thinking about Grothendieck

On n-Category Cafe is a post by John Baez linking to a short article on the late, great mathematician (and human being by all accounts) Alexander Grothendieck written by Barry Mazur.

I want to quote from that paper because I think the statement here is fundamental to everything we do, particularly in engineering and mathematics, be it category theory, trying to model the information flows in a system to better understand privacy or even linking privacy engineering with the legal aspects (emphasis mine):

The mathematical talks I had with him—as I remember them now—were largely, perhaps only, about viewpoint, never about specifics (with the exception of a conversation about differential structures on conjugate complexifications of an algebraic variety over a number field). Grothendieck’s message was clear throughout: that everything important will follow easily, will flow, from the right vantage. It was principally ‘the right vantage,’ a way of seeing mathematics, that he sought, and perhaps only on a lesser level, its by-products. 

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

DSummit, Stockholm, May 2016

One for the CEOs, CIOs and CxOs of the world. This year DSummit is in Stockholm on 26th-27th May and has an impressive array of speakers and a strong focus on #privacy engineering!

"Disruptology is the art and science behind disruption. We study disruption and its impact on business and society. With a network of change makers, technology moguls and innovation evangelists we assist companies of all sizes with guidance, advisory and resources to become true disruptors. As an non profit academic institution and research foundation, Disruptology is a pioneer of new and disruptive business models, such as the F2W free-to-win model. With a vast network of industry professionals on call, we are able to inject new ways of thinking, working and playing into the DNA of companies throughout the world."

And further details of the event here:

Saturday, 9 January 2016


First post of the year and a little look back in time.  I used the formal methods tools BToolkit from BCore extensively during my PhD studies back in the late 90s. BToolkit at the time had very nice animation capabilities that I was utilising in order to formalise parts of the UML and OCL languages.

Later on I got to work with AtelierB and Rodin (B#) for hardware-software co-design and mapping UML into B and then Bluespec - and then into SystemVerilog for hardware synthesis.

While formal methods and hardware were extremely fun, I got called away to work on something called the "Semantic Device" and moved heavily into some weird stuff called "The Semantic Web" - that's another story of course...

Anyway, BToolkit's source code is available on github and it compiles without problem under Ubuntu 15.04.

Here's a screenshot of a little piece of formal methods history:

BToolkit running under Ubuntu 15 on VirtualBox