Virtual Meetup: Towards a DSL for formalising laws and regulations - intermediate findings and results

Hi Community,

I am happy to announce that the Virtual Meetup is back this Thursday (the 9th of September), L. Thomas van Binsbergen will hold a discussion about “Towards a DSL for formalising laws and regulations - intermediate findings and results”.

Also, remember that we changed the link to join the Meetup!

Following from the advancements of autonomous and distributed computing, software systems are increasingly more integrated with social systems. Compliance with laws, regulations and (contractual) agreements that attempt to regulate such systems is a top priority for many organisations and regulators, as is evidenced by the impact of the EU’s privacy regulations (GDPR) and the anticipated impact of the forthcoming regulations on the use of AI. The University of Amsterdam is experimenting with approaches to automate compliance in software systems through the integration of so-called regulatory services tasked with enforcing explicit, formal interpretations of relevant norms.

This presentation discusses the design of domain-specific languages for formalising norms, laying out important requirements and design choices. In particular, we will discuss the connection between fundamental notions in computer science and normative theory forming the basis of our approach. This analysis reveals interesting similarities between the processes of drafting regulations and software engineering. In particular, the importance of modularity, inheritance, versioning and specialisation are discussed.

As a running example, we will use the eFLINT language to formalise aspects of the GDPR regulation with applications in access control and auditing based on event logs.

Thomas van Binsbergen is an Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam specialised in modular techniques for the formal specification of the syntax and operational semantics of software languages. He has been involved with the PLanCompS project that developed CBS, a meta-language for the component-based specification of software languages based on fundamental programming constructs called funcons. The funcons are reusable and executable, enabling rapid prototyping of software languages as part of the design process.

Recently, Van Binsbergen is applying modular software language techniques in the context of data exchange systems with a focus on the automatic enforcement of regulations and contractual agreements. This research is performed in the context of the Amsterdam Data Exchange initiative, which aims to establish digital data marketplaces in which parties establish mutual agreements that lay out terms and conditions for the exchange of data and compute assets as well as the applicable regulations. To enable the automatic enforcement of the relevant norms, Van Binsbergen is designing and experimenting with domain-specific languages for formalising interpretations of norms and applying the resulting interpretations within software systems.

And if you are thinking of proposing a talk, it is time to come forward. Just let me know by replying to this message.

How to connect

To avoid other security issues is now necessary to register for the meeting. The registration should be necessary just once and be valid for all the next meetings you will participate in. I understand it is a little extra effort, but it would avoid problems like the ones we encountered:

Registration for the Virtual Meetup

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. It will also permit you to add it to your calendar.


It is hosted on Zoom at 6 PM GMT+1/CEST (you can use this link to figure out which time is in your timezone: Dateful Time Zone Converter).


P.S. We get a recurring question: “Are presentations recorded?”. The answer is not, and the reasons are explained here On recording Virtual Meetups - #7 by voelter

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Hi Community,

you can find attached the slides of the presentation here: _Strumenta__eFLINT(1).pdf (1.4 MB)

Have a great day,