Write a Blog >>

History of the PPS Workshop

While there have been a number of recent probabilistic programming meetings at Dagstuhl, NIPS, for the DARPA PPAML program, and elsewhere, many participants were interested in a deeper focus on semantics and other programming language issues. This lead to the formation of the PPS meeting colocated with POPL, which promotes the investigation of probabilistic programming from these PL perspectives, and exposes others in the PL community to probabilistic programming.

The first PPS workshop was held January 23, 2016 in St. Petersburg, FL, colocated with POPL and immediately before the DARPA PI meeting for the PPAML program:

The second PPS workshop was held January 17, 2017 in Paris, colocated with POPL, and sponsored by SIGPLAN and SIGLOG:

Each year has two chairs, one from the previous year, and the other of whom stays on for the next year. Other program committee members are different from the previous year, to promote a variety of perspectives on probabilistic programming.

Call for Extended Abstracts

PPS 2018: Probabilistic Programming Languages, Semantics, and Systems

Probabilistic programming is the idea of expressing probabilistic models and inference methods as programs, to ease use and reuse. The recent rise of practical implementations as well as research activity in probabilistic programming has renewed the need for semantics to help us share insights and innovations.

This workshop aims to bring programming-language and machine-learning researchers together to advance all aspects of probabilistic programming languages, semantics, and systems. Topics include but are not limited to:

  • design of probabilistic programming languages;
  • inference algorithms for probabilistic programming languages;
  • semantic foundations of probabilistic programming;
  • the denotational semantics of probabilistic functions, open universe, loops, and conditioning;
  • the operational semantics of sampling, exact inference, and MCMC transitions;
  • axiomatic and equational reasoning;
  • types and polymorphism;
  • efficient and correct implementation;
  • and last but not least, applications of probabilistic programming.

For a sense of the talks and posters in past years, see:

In the tradition of the previous meetings, we anticipate that work on semantic foundations of probabilistic programming will be at the core of PPS 2018, but we are explicitly broadening the scope of PPS to embrace all aspects of probabilistic programming languages.

We expect this workshop to be informal, and our goal is to foster collaboration and establish common ground. Thus, the proceedings will not be a formal or archival publication, and we expect to spend only a portion of the workshop day on traditional research talks. Nevertheless, as a concrete basis for fruitful discussions, we call for extended abstracts describing specific and ideally ongoing work on probabilistic programming languages, semantics, and systems.

Extended abstracts are up to 2 pages in PDF format. Please submit them by October 17 (using EasyChair at a link soon to be provided).

Important dates and the Program Committee (not yet complete) are listed elsewhere on this page.