Philippos Papayannopoulos 2017-11-22T13:39:52+00:00

Project Description

Philippos Papayannopoulos


  • Philosophy of Computing

  • Philosophy of Mathematics

  • Philosophy of Science



Doctoral Student;
Department of Philosophy, Western University

Philippos Papayannopoulos is currently a doctoral student in the Philosophy Department and a resident member of the Rotman Institute of Philosophy, at the University of Western Ontario. His interests lie in computability theory as well as philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of computing, and general philosophy of science.

Philippos received a B.Sc./M.Sc. degree (five-year diploma) in applied mathematics and physics from Athens Polytechnic (Greece), with a specialization in the physics of applications. He also holds a master’s degree in the history and philosophy of science from the National University of Athens.

From 2016 – 2017, he was appointed Assistant Editor in the Center for Digital Philosophy at Western University (PhilPapers) as well as Media Outreach Graduate Student Assistant in the Rotman Institute of Philosophy. He has over 12 years experience teaching physics and mathematics to high school and university students.

I’m mainly interested in the notion of ‘computing’, but also in almost everything else that revolves around it.  My current research focuses on three aspects of computation: computation over the real numbers, analog computation, and connections between those two and scientific computing as well as the so-called `Physical Church-Turing Thesis’.

Regarding the first aspect, I’m interested in theories that extend the notion of ‘computable functions’ from the domain of non-negative integers to the domain of real numbers. There are two major traditions in mathematics and computer science that conceive and formalize the notion of ‘computation’ in different (and rather incompatible) ways. The first tradition –rather dominant in theoretical computer science– approaches computation in terms of Turing machines, recursive functions, etc., and is a cluster of mostly equivalent models, known under different names (`computable analysis’, `recursive analysis’, `domain theory’, etc.). The second tradition (mostly dominant in numerical analysis and computational geometry) approaches computation by means of models that are algebraic in nature; two main examples here being the BSS and Real-RAM models. My research focuses mainly on the interconnections between these two traditions as well as how the informal notion of an ‘algorithm’ is conceptualised and formalized within them.

Concerning the second aspect, I’m interested in the exact boundaries between analog and digital computation. Some questions I’m pursuing are the following: What is exactly meant by ‘analog computation’ and where does the distinction with digital computation exactly lie? What is the role of representation in these different kinds of computing and how crucial is it for understanding the distinction between them? Furthermore, what is the relationship exactly (if any) between analog computation and analogue models in science?

Finally, I’m interested in the different versions of the so-called `Physical Church-Turing Thesis’ and the connection between computation models and physical systems. Investigating ways and degrees to which the former should be informed and/or constrained by the latter, and vice-versa, is another major part of my research.

Conference presentations:

“Incompatible Models of Computation Over the Reals and their Importance for Scientific Computing” at European Philosophy of Science Association 2017 (biennial), 6-9 Sept, Exeter UK

“Rival Models of Computation over the Reals and their Importance for Scientific Computing” at the British Society for the Philosophy of Science 2017 (annual), 13-14 July, Edinburgh, UK

“Real Number Algorithms and Open Texture” at Triennial International Conference of the Italian Society for Logic and Philosophy of Science, 20-23 June 2017, Bologna, Italy

“The Open Character of Real Number Computability” at the Canadian Society for History and Philosophy of Mathematics (annual), 28-30 May 2017, Toronto, Canada

Written theses:

M.Sc. Thesis: Mathematical Explanations of Physical Phenomena. University of Athens, 2013

Diploma Thesis: Environmental Ethics: The Deep Ecology Movement. National Technical University of Athens, 2010

Introduction to Logic (TA), 2014-2016 (Western Ontario)

Understanding Science (TA), 2017-present (Western Ontario)