EiM 2:
The second meeting on
Ethics in Mathematics.

To bring together the rare few mathematicians working on this problem.

We have a number of invited speakers from within mathematics and in other disciplines who will talk about diverse topics. This is a vital interdisciplinary aspect of the workshop; it takes several people from several areas to make this effective.

The workshop will be discussion-based, with "themed" pairs of speakers giving a 30 minute talk each, followed by a long (1 hour) question and discussion session chaired by the two speakers.

This conference was supported by Prof. Jane Hutton, and by the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk.


Cambridge University Ethics in Mathematics Project

Centre for Mathematical Sciences
Wilberforce Rd
Cambridge, CB3 0WA
http://www.ethics.maths.cam.ac.uk/ EiM


Catherine Buell
U. Fitchberg


Rishi Vyas
Krea University


Tony Gardiner


Clement Mouhot
U. Cambridge


Collin Rittberg
Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Mathematician, philosopher

Ann-Kristin Glenster
U. Cambridge

Legal scholar specialising in technology

Thomas King
RSS Data Ethics SIG


Victor Piercey
Ferris State U.

Mathematician, lawyer

David Leslie
Alan Turing Institute


David Spiegelhalter
U. Cambridge


Tam B

Software developer

Maurice Chiodo
U. Cambridge


Glenys Wilson

Jane Hutton
U. Warwick


Sam Marsh
U. Sheffield


Timothy Johnson
Heriot-Watt University


Clemens Scholl
HGB Leipzig

Media Artist

Piers Bursill-Hall
U. Cambridge

Mathematician, historian

Vint Cerf

Speaking via pre-recorded video

Turing Award recipient

Martin Rees
U. Cambridge



The final version of the programme, with full speaker titles, abstracts, and schedule can be found by clicking here.
Below is a copy of the schedule.
Each speaker session consists of a total of 1 hour of talks from the speaker(s), followed by a long discussion session of 45-60mins. These sessions are "themed", with the themes given next to the speaker names.

09:00 Arrival, coffee and introductions
10:00 Plenary address: Martin Rees (in room MR2)
11:15 The Cambridge EiM Project launch: Maurice Chiodo, Piers Bursill-Hall (in room MR2)
12:30 Lunch
13:45 Doing something!: Tam B, Catherine Buell
14:45 Discussion
15:30 Coffee break
16:00 A perspective from philosophy: Colin Rittberg and Fenner Tanswell, Timothy Johnson
17:00 Discussion
17:45 End

09:30 Coffee
10:30 Teaching EiM: Rishi Vyas, David Leslie
11:30 Discussion
12:20 Pre-recorded message: Vint Cerf
12:30 Lunch
13:45 Independent institutions and representative bodies: Tony Gardiner, Thomas King
14:45 Discussion
15:30 Coffee break
16:00 Calling out bad mathematics: Sam Marsh, Clement Mouhot
17:00 Discussion
17:45 End

09:30 Coffee
10:30 How mathematicians feel: Glenys Wilson, Clemens Scholl
11:30 Discussion
12:30 Lunch
13:45 Mathematics and the law: Ann-Kristin Glenster, Victor Piercey
14:45 Discussion
15:30 Coffee break
16:00 How statisticians understand ethics: Jane Hutton, David Spiegelhalter
17:00 Discussion
17:45 End


Here is a list of the participants of EiM2, along with a short description of each participant.

Ross Anderson Professor of Security Engineering, Cambridge; Chair, Foundation for Information Policy Research; member of Advisory Council, Electronic Privacy Information Center
Tam B Software Engineer
Michael J. Barany Lecturer in the History of Science at the University of Edinburgh
Catherine Buell Mathematician from Fitchburg State University
Piers Bursill-Hall Lecturer in the History of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, co-founder of the Cambridge University Ethics in Mathematics Project
Andrew Carlotti Mathematics PhD at University of Cambridge
Maurice Chiodo Mathematics postdoc at the University of Cambridge, bye-fellow at King's College Cambridge, lead investigator of the Cambridge University Ethics in Mathematics Project
Toby Clifton Undergraduate student involved with the Cambridge University Ethics in Mathematics Project
Alberto J Coca Lecturer in Statistics, University of Cambridge
William Cullerne Bown Maths graduate, politics/science journalist, 55, now developing a modern, quantitative conception of justice that can be applied in law, healthcare, A.I. and other domains in a series of journal articles
Tom Daley Software developer
Celeste Damiani Mathematics postdoc from the University of Leeds
Georges-Philippe Gadoury-Sansfaçon Mathematics and Psychology double honours undergraduate student from Bishop's University
Tony Gardiner
Ann Kristin Glenster PhD Candidate in Law, University of Cambridge
Jack Harrison Mathematics undergraduate from the University of Cambridge
Heidi M Hurst Mathematics graduate student in mathematical modelling and scientific computing, University of Oxford
Jane L Hutton Statistician who has written several articles on ethics, and contributed to ethics guidelines, from Warwick Statistics
Martin Hyland Mathematician with interests in education and philosophy
Tim Johnson Interested in the relationship between mathematics, finance and ethics. RCUK Academic Fellow in Financial Mathematics based at Heriot-Watt/Maxwell Institute for Mathematical Sciences (Edinburgh)
Nathan Johnson-McDaniel Research associate in gravitational wave physics at DAMTP, University of Cambridge
Arthur Kaletzky retired after after career in systems software, avionics and telecoms, undergrad Maths and Physics, postgrad CS and Elec.Eng.
Frank Kelly
Thomas King Mathematician with social statistics training working on longitudinal social inequalities; Hon Sec RSS Data Ethics SIG
Hitesh Kumar Mathematical computation postgraduate student at Imperial College London
David Leslie Ethics Fellow, The Alan Turing Institute and Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values
Guy Lipman PhD Researcher in sustainable energy markets, University College London
Ems Lord Director of NRICH and research fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge
Christopher Markou Leverhulme Fellow and Lecturer at Cambridge Faculty of Law researching the computability of law and legal reasoning
Sam Marsh University Teacher in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sheffield, UCU elected negotiator on USS
Tom McLeish Theoretical physicist with strong interdisciplinary experience in humanities and social sciences, University of York
Arvo MM Mathematics and Philosophy student at St Andrews, deputy editor of Aporia journal and EA committee member
Paulo Moniz (Quantum) Cosmologist and Sabbatical visitor
Clément Mouhot Mathematician
Dennis Müller Mathematics student with training in computer science, president of CUEiMS, from Cambridge University
Leonie Neuhäuser Mathematics graduate student in mathematical modelling and scientific computing with training in psychology, University of Oxford
Zain Patel Mathematics Undergraduate at the University of Cambridge
Mukul Patel Maths & Social & Political Sciences graduate, writer, consultant
Jonnie Penn PhD in History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge; Affiliate, Berkman Klein Center, Harvard
Victor Piercey Former Attorney, now an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Ferris State University
Martin Rees Cosmologist and astrophysicist at the University of Cambridge, Astronomer Royal, former president of the Royal Society
Colin Jakob Rittberg Postdoctoral researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, specialising in virtue-theoretic approaches to the philosophy of mathematical practices.
Calliope Ryan-Smith Current mathematics undergraduate from University of Cambridge with history of research in Ethics in Mathematics
Clemens Schöll Media artist with a background in computer science, currently at HGB Leipzig and based in Berlin
Roger Sewell
Paula Siemek
Christopher Smith Third year maths student at Imperial College London
David Spiegelhalter Statistician from University of Cambridge working on trustworthy communication of risk and evidence
Shaun Steenkamp PhD student in Type Theory at the University of Cambridge
Nicola Stingelin-Giles PhD Medical Ethics from University of Basel / Switzerland; focus innovative research ethics; commercial pharmaceutical background; active in big data/algorithms/AI in academic and commercial research: ethics issues
Fenner Stanley Tanswell Lecturer in Mathematics Education at Loughborough University, specialising in the philosophy of mathematics
Jonny Tsang PhD student in applied mathematics from the University of Cambridge
Rishi Vyas Assistant Professor in the Division of Mathematics and Computer Science at Krea University
Mustafa Warsi Quantitative Researcher at JP Morgan
Alex Wendland PhD student in Mathematics at the University of Warwick, currently undertaking a 3-month UKRI-funded internship in the Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge
Glenys Wilson Senior Clinical Psychologist with specialty in three areas- Neurodiversity, trauma and youth
Phoebe Young Mathematics undergraduate from the University of Cambridge


Doors Open

Opening Remarks


Focus on the story: how publishers and brands succeed on today's internet.


Keynote Presentation


Brand Innovator Spotlight



Hannah Keller CO-FOUNDER, LOLO

Fireside Chat: Making Native Work - An Agency Perspective


Lunch Break

Native Creatives Winners Presentation

Johann Graf VP Sales, MES

Case Study: XYR




Cocktail and Networking Party


This workshop is the initiative of Dr Maurice Chiodo, with the close assistance of Dr Piers Bursill-Hall. Since April 2016, they have been spearheading an effort from within the Faculty of Mathematics in Cambridge to teach ethics to mathematicians. This has led to the formation of the Cambridge University Ethics in Mathematics Society, a series of student seminars titled Ethics for the Working Mathematician delivered by Dr Chiodo, shortlisting for an award by the European Commission on Contribution to a better society with a concurrent invite to participate in a panel discussion during the ceremony, a workshop co-organsied with Martin Hellman on Ethics in Mathematics and Computer Sciece at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum 2017, a research grant from the Teaching and Learning Innovation Fund of the University of Cambridge, an invitation by the London Mathematical Society to participate in the Voice of the Future event in the Houses of Parliament, and finally this conference series which first began with EiM1 in 2018.

Maurice Chiodo
Postdoctoral researcher in mathematics

Maurice Chiodo is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics at the University of Cambridge, bye-fellow in mathematics at King's College Cambridge, co-ordinator at the Cambridge University Ethics in Mathematics Society and lead investigator of the Cambridge University Ethics in Mathematics Project.

Piers Bursill-Hall
Lecturer of History of Mathematics

Piers Bursill-Hall has spent most of his academic life in the Department of Pure Mathematics at Cambridge (with occasional forays out of Cambridge for good behaviour). He has taught undergraduate courses in history of mathematics and most aspects of history of science. His research and teaching has concentrated on history of Ancient, Renaissance, and Enlightenment mathematics and mathematical arts, and more recently a small detour into early Islamic mathematics and science.


University of Cambridge, Centre for Mathematical Sciences,
Wilberforce Rd, Cambridge, CB3 0WA.
The workshop will commence at 09:00 on Wednesday 3 April, and conclude at 18:00 on Friday 5 April.
All talks will be held in room MR13, except the morning sessions (10:00-12:30) of 3 April which will be in room MR2.
(Enter through the main entrance and go down the stairs; there will be signs).


Space is limited to 50 participants.

Email: mcc56 AT cam DOT ac DOT uk


That the practice of mathematics can invoke ethical issues is probably obvious to everyone – but not to most mathematicians. It is also obvious that high-powered and sophisticated mathematics is ubiquitous in modern technology, finance, the nation’s infrastructure and defence, and social media. And pretty much anywhere else in the 21st century. Much of mathematics can be used for good – but simply put: it can also be a tool for harm. We think it is clear that mathematical research and practice may take its practitioners to deep and professionally specific ethical issues.

So far as we know, there is no university in the world that currently offers a wide-ranging specifically mathematical ethical training for mathematicians. For lawyers, medics, biologists, computer scientists, physicist, and others, the question of subject specific ethics is not news – it is part of their training, part of their professional practice and regulation, and part of their understanding of their work as professionals. It is striking that this is not the case for mathematicians.

There have been a number of studies and smaller or larger projects that have looked at specific ethical questions in mathematics; it is well known that statistical practice and the public dissemination of statistics is dense with ethical questions, and the use of algorithms in all sorts of decision making systems has, in the last few years, elicited some public and professional investigation. The role of mathematicians developing financial instruments that were little understood by the rest of the financial industry has come to light because of the financial crisis of the 2000s. Moreover, the use of extremely sophisticated mathematical tools by the state security institutions around the world has raised deep questions about cyber- security and privacy – and it is mathematicians who are developing the tools that enable these bodies to place the entire population under extraordinary and detailed surveillance. But such studies have been limited, and focussed on the very particular technical details in each of these domains. Many of these studies have been both fascinating and deeply worrying. However, all of this has focussed on narrow issues – and they have succeeded exactly because of this focus. It is now time for a broader discussion to start, a discussion about all mathematicians in society, about the professional social responsibility and the ethics of which mathematicians are often quite extraordinarily ignorant. Whereas such training is normal in other disciplines, for mathematicians it simply doesn't exist, anywhere. Until now. In Cambridge we have recently set up and run an annual seminar series titled Ethics for the working mathematician, where we developed entirely new content including case studies, and analysis of ways that ethics enters into mathematics. A reasonably large minority of undergraduates have attended these seminars, and they are – to some extent – working: there are now some undergraduate mathematicians who have taken on board the idea that regardless of what mathematical work mathematicians end up doing as a professional, they will most likely come up against ethical issues.

This meeting is the second such meeting aimed at bringing together some of the people (that we in Cambridge happen to know of) who have worked on issues of ethics in mathematics, who have tried to start a teaching course on ethics for mathematicians in their universities, or who have published something about ethics in mathematics. The recurring problem we have observed is that almost all such people are "singletons" working alone, sometimes with mere disinterest from their institutions, sometimes meeting active hostility from colleagues. We want to bring these people together to make a community - and the tiny kernel of a new discipline: the study of Ethics in Mathematics. Not just the ethics of algorithms, or mathematicians working for the intelligence services, but all mathematics and all mathematicians. We want to broaden the discussion to grasp the role of mathematics that has grown in the last 20-30 years, where almost everything we have or we do has a vast amount of highly technical, highly specialised mathematics behind it, and which is utterly incomprehensible to almost everyone who is not a trained mathematical professional. Mathematicians have become one of the most powerful communities in the world, yet they do not know it, and do not know how to take responsibility for their actions; nobody ever tells them.

Nobody can do this from outside the profession. Only mathematicians can talk to mathematicians about ethics: the discourse of philosophers (which is infinitely more sophisticated than anything we can hope to achieve) will go over the heads of most mathematicians, and simply will not address the specifically mathematical, technical ethics we face. The ethical questions of computer scientists or economists, physicists or geneticists, are pressing and important – but they are not those of the professional mathematician and they are not going to teach her how to deal with the issues that she may face in the working environment of mathematicians. So only mathematicians can do this, and we need to begin the process of forming a community: supporting each other, sharing knowledge, experiences, best practice, and a vision of what we can teach our students.

The workshop we are organising is a small step in doing something really innovative and creating a new (and deeply multidisciplinary) project. It is the second such meeting, and is still a small pilot project, bringing together a small group of mathematicians we know to be interested in ethics in mathematics and who have tried, one way or another, to research or teach this. We will bring together some experts in fields outside mathematics to talk to the mathematicians about the particular properties of the nature of the mathematical community and mathematicians, and the reasons for the failure of mathematicians to contribute to policy and ethical considerations outside their own very narrow domains. This group of mathematicians already knows about the issues of ethics in mathematics, but they have no working community and little experience with those outside mathematics who may be able to inform or deepen their own thinking about the ethics of mathematical research and practice.