Thomas van Binsbergen is designing and implementing domain-specific languages for the formal specification of norms from a variety of sources such as laws, regulations, policies, contracts and codes of conduct. The resulting formalizations are used in policy-enhanced, distributed software architectures for data sharing. By ensuring compliance with the formalized norms, such systems reduce the risk of violating regulations and add value by increasing the trust in sharing activities.

The SSPDDP project is a collaboration between the knowledge institutes UvA, CWI and VU and the industrial partners ABN AMRO, ING and KLM to develop secure and scalable techniques for policy-enforced data sharing. The project investigates fundamental research questions to develop future-proof, cryptographic solutions to secure and trustworthy data sharing, automatic policy enforcement in distributed systems and bringing the aforementioned data sharing methods to scale. Besides being academically relevant, the outcomes of these investigations suggest a principled, sound and pragmatic mode of operation that can add value to the industry partners in several ways.

In the past, Van Binsbergen has developed modular techniques for describing the semantics of programming languages as part of the PLanCompS project with Peter Mosses and parser combinators for generalised top-down parsing with Adrian Johnstone and Elizabeth Scott. The results are described in his PhD thesis titled “Executable Formal Specification of Programming Languages with Reusable Components” (

Keywords: modular language definition, domain-specific languages, formal specification, modelling languages, policy-enhanced data-sharing, generalised top-down parsing, declarative programming, purely functional programming, I-MSOS, FunCons, attribute grammars, computer science education

Roles, committees and memberships

  • Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam [Profile]
  • Co-PI on the AMdEX fieldlab project (Amsterdam Data Exchange) [Site]
  • Member of the Agile Language Engineering team [Site]
  • Programme committee member Implementation of Functional Languages (IFL) 2021
  • External reviewer for Software Language Engineering (SLE) 2020
  • Member of the Assocation of Computing Machinery (ACM), [Profile]
  • Student volunteer, British Colloquium of Theoretical Computer Science (BCTCS) 2018
  • Postgraduate representative, British Colloquium of Theoretical Computing Science (BCTCS) 2016/17
  • PhD student representative, Royal Holloway, University of London 2015/16