First Symposium on Compositional Structures (SYCO 1)

School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham
20-21 September, 2018

The Symposium on Compositional Structures is a new interdisciplinary series of meetings aiming to support the growing community of researchers interested in the phenomenon of compositionality, from both applied and abstract perspectives, and in particular where category theory serves as a unifying common language. We welcome submissions from researchers across computer science, mathematics, physics, philosophy, and beyond, with the aim of fostering friendly discussion, disseminating new ideas, and spreading knowledge between fields. Submission is encouraged for both mature research and work in progress, and by both established academics and junior researchers, including students.

Submission is easy, with no format requirements or page restrictions. The meeting does not have proceedings, so work can be submitted even if it has been submitted or published elsewhere.

While no list of topics could be exhaustive, SYCO welcomes submissions with a compositional focus related to any of the following areas, in particular from the perspective of category theory:

This new series aims to bring together the communities behind many previous successful events which have taken place over the last decade, including Categories, Logic and Physics, Categories, Logic and Physics (Scotland), Higher-Dimensional Rewriting and Applications, String Diagrams in Computational, Logic and Physics, Applied Category Theory, Simons Workshop on Compositionality, the Yorkshire and Midlands Category Theory Seminar, and the Peripatetic Seminar in Sheaves and Logic.

The steering committee hopes that SYCO will become a regular fixture in the academic calendar, running regularly throughout the year, and becoming over time a recognized venue for presentation and discussion of results in an informal and friendly atmosphere. To help create this community, in the event that more good-quality submissions are received than can be accommodated in the timetable, we may choose to defer some submissions to a future meeting, rather than reject them. This would be done based on submission order, giving an incentive for early submission, and avoiding any need to make difficult choices between strong submissions. Deferred submissions would be accepted for presentation at any future SYCO meeting without the need for peer review. This will allow us to ensure that speakers have enough time to present their ideas, without creating an unnecessarily competitive atmosphere. Meetings would be held sufficiently frequently to avoid a backlog of deferred papers.

Invited speakers

David Corfield Jules Hedges
Department of Philosophy, University of Kent Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford
The ubiquity of modal type theory Compositional game theory

Important dates

All times are anywhere-on-earth.


Submission is by EasyChair. To submit to SYCO 1, click on the this link:

Submissions should present research results in sufficient detail to allow them to be properly considered by members of the programme committee, who will assess papers with regards to significance, clarity, correctness, and scope. We encourage the submission of work in progress, as well as mature results. There are no proceedings, so work can be submitted even if it has been previously published, or has been submitted for consideration elsewhere. There is no specific formatting requirement, and no page limit, although for long submissions authors should be aware that reviewers may not be able to read the entire document in detail.

The call for papers is available here.


We are pleased to acknowledge financial support from Cambridge Quantum Computing and the Royal Society.


The meeting will run from 11:00 to 17:30 on Thursday 20 September, and from 9:30 to 16:00 on Friday 21 September. We hope that the late start on the first day, and early finish on the last day, will make it easier for participants to attend the entire meeting and still make convenient travel arrangements.

Local information

Local organizer. The local organizer is Jamie Vicary, who can be contacted at the email address <>. Please get in touch directly if you have any questions.

Venue. The meeting will be held at the University of Birmingham, in the Learning Centre and the School of Computer Science, which are situated opposite each other on University Road West on the main Edgbaston campus of the university, just 100 metres from the University train station. The walking route is shown on this map:

Registration. There is no registration fee, but please do register so that you can be given a name badge, and so that we can prepare the right quantity of refreshments. To register, send an email to with subject line "SYCO 1 registration", indicating in the body of the email the name and affiliation to put on your name badge. The registration deadline is Thursday 13 September 2018, one week before the meeting.

Trains. With the University train station just 100 metres from the conference venue, the best way to travel to the symposium is by train. Travel time is 11 minutes from Birmingham New Street, 27 minutes from Birmingham airport, 67 minutes from Leicester, 74 minutes from Sheffield, 77 minutes from Oxford, 94 minutes from London, and 134 minutes from Leeds.

Planes. If travelling from far afield, Birmingham airport has flights from all over Europe, and is 27 minutes by train from the conference venue. Birmingham is also conveniently serviced by several other airports: Manchester Airport, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Bristol Airport, and London Gatwick Airport are about 2 hours by public transport, Heathrow Airport is 2 hours 30 minutes, and Stansted Airport has a direct service to Birmingham New Street that takes 3 hours.

Automobiles. The university has some limited pay-and-display parking (see section "Visitor Parking"), but it is often very busy and it can be hard to find a space. A more reliable option is to park on one of the roads just south of the University which do not have parking restrictions, such as Hubert Road, Tiverton Road or Dawlish Road; these roads are a 10-minute walk to the conference venue.

Accommodation. We advise you to stay at a hotel near Birmingham New Street station, and travel to the conference venue using the quick and regular train service. A standard choice is the Holiday Inn Express. There are also many AirBnB places available in Birmingham.

Internet access. The best way to access the internet at the University of Birmingham is by using the Eduroam service; you can download a configuration tool for your device here. If you do not have access to Eduroam, you can get a guest WiFi password at the registration desk.


Some funding is available to cover travel and subsistence costs, with a priority for PhD students and junior researchers. To apply for this funding, please contact the local organizer Jamie Vicary at with subject line "SYCO 1 funding request" by the deadline given above, with a short statement of your current status, travel costs and funding required.

Programme committee

The symposium managed by the following people, who will serve as the programme committee for SYCO 1.