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Applied Category Theory - The Emerging Science of Compositionality

YOW! Lambda Jam 2019

What do programming, quantum physics, chemistry, neuroscience, systems biology, natural language parsing, causality, network theory, game theory, dynamical systems and database theory have in common?

As functional programmers, we know how useful category theory can be for our work - or perhaps how abstruse and distant it can seem. What is less well known is that applying category theory to the real world is an exciting field of study that has really taken off in just the last few years. It turns out that we share something big with other fields and industries - we want to make big things out of little things without everything going to hell! The key is compositionality, the central idea of category theory.

This talk will introduce the emerging field of applied category theory, with the aims of:

  • Giving attendees a broad overview of cutting-edge applications of category theory
  • Building an understanding of a small number of the most important core concepts
  • Getting attendees excited, inspired to learn more, and equipped to apply some basic concepts to their work

Ken Scambler

Software Architect



Ken is a Melbourne-based software developer with 17 years experience, and an architect at MYOB. While best known as a functional programming advocate & community organiser, his real focus in the last 5 years has been to make teams function, through advising, supporting, building, mentoring and leading.