Call: HaPoC 2021: 6th International Conference on the History and Philosophy of Computing

Call for Abstracts

HaPoC 2021: 6th International Conference on the History and Philosophy of Computing
27-29 October 2021
ETH Turing Centre, Zurich, Switzerland [and online; see “Format and Fee” section below]

Submission deadline: April 15, 2021

While computing appears as a technological and scientific field in constant progression, our conception and knowledge of computers are also subject to change over time. In particular, digital machines of the 20th century were inspired by the biological individual, replacing with a solipsistic mental view the cultural and social aspects attached to the image of machines in the 19th century. However, the growing cultural import of computing practices has become ever more pressing in our days in all dimensions of social life. Not only have cultural phenomena increasingly become the object of computational analysis, but computational practices have also proved inseparable from the cultural environment in which they evolve.

Therefore, it is urgent to critically address the entanglement of computing practices with the main cultural challenges our epoch is facing. The global and collective nature of such problems (e.g. climate change, global pandemics, systemic inequalities, resurgence of totalitarianism, to name a few) requires a comprehensive perspective on computing, where social and cultural aspects occupy a central position. For these reasons, thinking about machines asks today for an interdisciplinary approach, where art is as necessary as engineering, anthropological insights as important as psychological models, and the critical perspectives of history and philosophy as decisive as the axioms and theorems of theoretical computer science.

For more than a decade, the “History and Philosophy of Computing” Conference (HaPoC, has contributed to building such an interdisciplinary community and environment. We aim to bring together historians, philosophers, computer scientists, social scientists, designers, manufacturers, practitioners, artists, logicians, mathematicians, each with their own experience and expertise, to take part in the collective construction of a comprehensive image of computing.


For HaPoC 2021, we welcome contributions from researchers from different disciplinary horizons who intend to participate in the debate on the impact of computers on culture, science, and society from the perspective of their area of expertise, and who are open to engage in interdisciplinary discussions across multiple fields. Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Historical and philosophical perspectives on computing knowledge, objects and practices
  • Social, cultural and pedagogical aspects of computing
  • Computing and the human sciences
  • Epistemological dimensions of computing
  • Impact of computing technologies
  • Computing and the arts

The Program Committee is available at the conference website:


Submission deadline: April 15, 2021
Notification of acceptance/rejection: June 15, 2021
Conference dates: October 27-29, 2021


We cordially invite researchers working in a field relevant to the main topics of the Conference to submit a short abstract of 180-200 words and an extended abstract of at most 1000 words (references included) through EasyChair at:

Accepted papers will be presented in 30-minute slots, including discussion. Abstracts must be written in English. Please note that the format of uploaded files must be in .pdf. Submissions without an extended abstract will not be considered.


Barbara Liskov (MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab)
Juliette Kennedy (University of Helsinki)
Thomas Haigh (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Mireille Hildebrandt (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)


A selection of revised contributions to the Conference will be published in a Special Issue of Minds and Machines (Springer), under the title “Computing Cultures”. The call is already available at:


Due to the current pandemic situation, HaPoC-6 will take place in a hybrid format, with attendance and contributions both on-site and online.

We are happy to announce that the registration for this edition of HaPoC will exceptionally be free of charge, both for contributors and attendants. The HaPoC organization will also cover 2 lunches and a conference dinner for contributors.

Online contributions are expected to be in real time, although pre-recorded talks will be accepted upon request.


The Turing Centre Zurich and the HaPoC Council will propose a limited amount of travel grants to participants with accepted papers who are not beneficiaries of institutional support. More information will be soon available on the conference webpage and through the HaPoC website (


Juan Luis Gastaldi (ETH Zurich, Turing Centre Zurich)
Luc Pellissier (Université de Paris-Est Créteil)

Organized by:
Turing Centre Zurich (ETH)

In collaboration with:
Collegium Helveticum (ETH-UZH-ZHdK)
Chair of History and Philosophy of Mathematical Sciences (ETH Zurich, D-GESS)

Under the auspices of
DHST/DLMPST Commission for the History and Philosophy of Computing (HaPoC)


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