Aims and scope

Calculemus! Let us calculate! These are Leibniz’ famous words. He would probably not have imagined that about three centuries later almost anybody would actually rely on computations in his/her everyday life.

Especially since the development of the so-called personal computer in the ’80s, computing has penetrated the several levels of our society, going from scientific research to the organization of our social lives. Despite their widespread application, the computing sciences remain hidden behind layers of so-called user-friendly interfaces and require specialized knowledge.

The number of researchers working in fields related to computing is growing rapidly in many different directions. As Mahoney once stated, “the computer is not one thing but many different things, and the same holds true of computing”. As a consequence, the computing sciences collect the most diverse complex of experts: philosophers, logicians, historians, mathematicians, computer scientists, programmers, engineers. The number of involved subjects grows accordingly: from the foundational issues to their applications; from the philosophical questions to problems of realizability and design of specifications; from the theoretical studies of computational barriers to the relevance of machines for educational purposes.

Given the significance of computing for modern society, the relevance of its history and philosophy can hardly be overestimated. Both the history and philosophy of computing only started to develop as real disciplines in the ’80s and ’90s of the previous century, with the foundation of journals (e.g. the IEEE Annals on the History of Computing, Minds and Machines and the like) and associations (SIGCIS, CAP, . . . ), and the organization of conferences and workshops on a regular basis. A historical awareness of the evolution of computing not only helps to clarify the complex structure of the computing sciences, but it also provides an insight in what computing was, is and maybe could be in the future. Philosophy, on the other hand, helps to tackle some of the fundamental problems of computing, going from the limits of the “mathematicizing power of homo sapiens” to the design of feasible and concrete models of interactive processes. The aim of this conference is to bring together these two streams: we are strongly convinced that an interplay between the researchers with an interest in the history and philosophy of computing can crucially add to the maturity of the field.

Topics of the Conference include:

  • The history of computation
  • Philosophical, foundational and practical issues of computability in logic, mathematics and computer science
  • Computation in the sciences

We refer to the Call for Papers for a full (and non-exhaustive) list of possible topics for submissions.