In this joint colloquium, Keith Evan Green will present "Architectural Robotics: Ecosystems of Bits, Bytes and Biology" at 4 p.m., and Nate Foster will follow with his talk, " Property Conveyances as a Programming Language," at 4:30 p.m.

At Cornell University, Keith Evan Green is professor in the Department of Design + Environmental Analysis and in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Green's Architectural Robotics Lab designs, prototypes, and evaluates cyber-physical environments that support and augment us at work, school, and home, as we roam, interconnect, and age. In addition to ACM and IEEE publications, Green’s book Architectural Robotics: Ecosystems of Bits, Bytes and Biology (MIT Press) defines this emerging field at the interface of design, computing, and psychology. More broadly, Green’s lab generates new vocabularies of design and new understanding of human-computer interaction in the spatial realm.  

Talk: Architectural Robotics: Ecosystems of Bits, Bytes and Biology

Abstract: Keith Evan Green looks toward a new frontier in human-machine interaction: partly intelligent, meticulously designed, cyber-physical environments responsive to the needs and opportunities of an increasingly digital society. These cyber-physical built environments—mostly manifested as robotic furniture and robotic rooms—exemplify “architectural robotics” in Green’s words, “cognitive environments” in Katherine Hayles’ words, and “robots for living in” in the words of William Mitchell. In architectural robotics, computation—specifically robotics—is embedded in the very physical fabric of our everyday living environments at relatively large physical scales, ranging from networked household devices to the metropolis. In this talk, Green examines how architectural robotics supports and augments us at work, school, and home, as we roam, interconnect, and age.

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Nate Foster is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Cornell University and a Principal Research Engineer at Barefoot Networks. The goal of his research is to develop tools that make it easy for programmers to build secure and reliable systems. His current work focuses on the design and implementation of languages for programming software-defined networks. He received a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania, an MPhil in History and Philosophy of Science from Cambridge University, and a BA in Computer Science from Williams College. His honors include a Sloan Research Fellowship, an NSF CAREER Award, the ACM SIGCOMM Rising Star Award, and several best paper and teaching awards.

Talk:  Property Conveyances as a Programming Language

Abstract: Anglo-American law enables property owners to split up rights among multiple entities by breaking their ownership apart into future interests that may evolve over time. The conveyances that owners use to transfer and subdivide property rights follow rigid syntactic conventions and are governed by an intricate body of interlocking doctrines that determine their legal effect. These doctrines have been codified, but only in informal and potentially ambiguous ways.

This paper presents preliminary work in developing a formal model for expressing and analyzing property conveyances. We develop a domain-specific language capable of expressing a wide range of conveyances in a syntax approximating natural language. This language desugars into a core calculus for which we develop operational and denotational semantics capturing a variety of important properties of property law in practice. We evaluate an initial implementation of our languages and semantics on examples from a popular property law textbook.