EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL DATA MINING

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1 EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL DATA MINING Editor-in-Chief Last May, the UC Berkeley SETI team (SETI stands for Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence) launched a world-wide project called The project is part of the larger SERENDIP (Search for Extraterrestrial Radio Emissions from Nearby Developed Intelligent Populations) project and enables every person with a computer linked to the Internet to participate in the global search for extraterrestrial intelligence. By installing special screensaver software - freely distributed by the SETI team - a computer s idle time is used for mining galactic signals picked up by the 305 meter radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Within ten days after the start of the project, there were already 350,000 participants in 203 countries. Surely, the initiative is to be credited for originality and efficient use of computing resources. In addition, it is good PR for Carl Sagan s legacy. Still, I feel uncomfortable with the project. My feeling is neither caused by any doubts on the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence, nor by ethical considerations of any kind, it is caused by my doubt whether present-day AI and data-mining techniques are capable of distinguishing intelligent from non-intelligent signals. The universe is filled with radio sources of various kinds that generate signals ranging from regular pulses to more irregular waveforms all across the radio spectrum. Anywhere, hidden within this spectrum, there may be a signal sent to us by an intelligent creature from another planet. Intelligent signals may reveal themselves by some kind of regularity. However, that does not help to distinguish intelligent signals from the plethora of regular signals that are known to exist. In addition, I doubt whether regularity is a true sign of intelligence. Maybe I am too pessimistic, but judging from our failure to acknowledge the intelligence of our terrestrial fellow-species, I believe that our own intelligence falls short in bridging the broader gap to extraterrestrial species. Notwithstanding these considerations, the huge amount of data provided by represents an exciting test bench for data-mining techniques. I challenge our readers to come up with ideas, suggestions, or contributions, making a case for the possibility of detecting intelligence in extraterrestrial radio signals with intelligent mining techniques. Maybe the reader can convince me that installing S software is worth the trouble after all. SETI homepage: Some technical details about data acquisition and pre-processing can be found at: Cover image: the logo of the Institut d Informatique in Namur. See the contribution of J.M. Jacquet on page 70 of this newsletter. BNVKI newsletter April

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Extraterrestrial Data Mining (Editor-in-Chief)...67 Table of Contents...68 BNVKI-Board News (Joost Kok)...69 BNAIC 99 update (Eric Postma)...69 Errata (Editors)...69 Artificial Intelligence at the Institut D informatique Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix (J.M. Jacquet)...70 Data Mining Seminar (Hendrik Blockeel)...72 The First European Workshop on Evolutionary Image Analysis and Signal Processing (Edwin de Jong)...74 Aankondiging KION dag (Albert Visser)...75 Section Knowledge Systems in Law and Computer Science (Section-Editor Radboud Winkels)...76 Zomerweelde: a court for practising procedural criminal law (Bram Roth)...76 BOK-Partners intend to continue collaboration after 1999 (Evert van de Vrie)...77 Onderzoek naar Ontwerpen van Informatiesystemen aan de TU Delft (Jan Dietz)...78 Time for Defence (Jaap van den Herik)...79 Section Computational Linguistics (Section-Editor Antal van den Bosch)...81 Self organization in Vowel Systems (Joris van Looveren)...81 Pioneer-Project Algorithms for Linguistic Processing (Gertjan van Noord)...82 Call for Participation...84 BNAIC Database dag...85 Call for Papers...85 BENELEARN Conferences, Symposia, Workshops adresses Board Members / Editors BNVKI newsletter / How to become a member? / Submissions / Back Issues/ Change of Address...88 The BNVKI is sponsored by AHOLD and by BOLESIAN De uitgave van de BNVKI-Nieuwsbrief wordt Stichting Informatica Onderzoek in Nederland (SION). in 1999 mede mogelijk gemaakt door de 68

3 BNVKI-Board news Joost Kok Chairperson Although the first BNAIC is quickly approaching, it seems that we have plenty of time soon, since we all will enjoy our holidays. The last weeks before the summer holidays are usually very busy at universities. Students finish their exams and the staff at the university wants to finish all kinds of unfinished business. Last week I found myself two days in the north of Finland, in order to review a thematic network of the European Union. I had to read hundreds of pages and listen to a long sequence of presentations. The network itself worked quite well and it was interesting to see that now in the north of Europe the difference between day and night has almost disappeared. The sun was shining all day and I must admit it made me happy. Actually I believe that a review in the summer is incomparable with a review in the winter, although then the stories are heroic. On the way back I noticed that all the airports on the route are in a constant mode of reconstruction work. There seems to be quite some market at airports for AI-planning tools. The only thing to be done by the BNVKI is educating a sales person who is challenged to sell our programs to airport companies. Direct from the airport I went to the Ph.D. defence of Rob Potharst in Rotterdam. He has written an interesting thesis on decision trees and neural networks. My colleague in the promotion committee, Jaap van den Herik, remarked during the ceremony that this was the kind of thesis he would have liked to have written himself. Indeed, in his time Quinlan (1979) started with the publication of ideas on ID3. Later we saw C4.5 etc. For a reliable overview I would like to encourage you to browse through the previous NAIC proceedings. And now I have to run to catch my plane to the Intelligent Systems conference in Warsaw. Enjoy the summer! I hope to see you all in November in Maastricht at the 11 th (B)NAIC and the first BNAIC. Eric Postma and Marc Gyssens The PC of the BNAIC'99 received 70 submissions in total. The distribution over the four submission classes was as follows. - Advanced Researchers Class A: 14, - Beginning and Ongoing Research Class B: 19, - Compressed Contributions Class C: 29, - Demonstrations and Applications Class D: 8. At the time of writing, all submissions are under review. For classes A and B, each paper is sent to three referees, one Belgian and two Dutch referees. (We hope that the number of AI researchers in Belgium will increase in the near future.) For classes C and D, submissions were distributed over several subject groups. Each group was sent to two referees. Half July, the PC will decide upon the acceptance or rejection of the papers on the basis of the ratings by the referees. Contributors will receive a notification shortly thereafter. The BNAIC 99 Call for Participation is to be found on page 84 of this newsletter. Please check out our web-site at a regular basis for the latest information on the BNAIC 99 and related events: bnaic99/ ERRATA Vol.16, No.1, pp The paper on IRIDIA was written by Marco Dorigo instead of Edwin de Jong. Vol.16, No.2, pp The paper on the AI-lab of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel was written by Tony Belpaeme (not Delpaeme). BNAIC'99 update 69

4 ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AT THE INSTITUT D'INFORMATIQUE FACULTÉS UNIVERSITAIRES NOTRE-DAME DE LA PAIX NAMUR, BELGIUM J.M. Jacquet Institute Namur The purpose of this contribution is to report briefly which an editor, an animator and a repository have been developed together with a generic interconnection architecture to link these tools to external tools. A methodology for the specification of real-time systems using these tools is being developed [9, 11, 13, 15]. P.-Y. Schobbens and J.- F. Raskin have also studied the use of abstract interpretation to help in the analysis of real-time systems. 1.2 Counterfactual logic In the context of counterfactual logics, P.-Y. Schobbens and J.-F. Raskin have shown that the Ramsey rule can be understood modally as an inversion. This allows to relate the logics of counterfactual and of update in a very simple way. 1.3 Temporal logics on artificial-intelligence research performed at the Institut d'informatique in Namur. More detailed information can be found on the web server at the address Following the tradition in Namur, research has been centered around logics and its application to computing. Frameworks for integrating different programming styles have also been proposed. This contibution discusses the research on three main subjects: logic programming, integration, and coordination of languages. 1 LOGICS 1.1 Real-time logics A logic, called ECL [16, 18], has been designed and shown as expressive as the logic MITL. The latter, has been argued to be more easily decidable and axiomatizable. Benefiting from these properties, P.- Y. Schobbens and J.-F. Raskin have provided the first axiomatization of MITL [10, 16, 17]. They devised a corresponding class of temporal automata and a simple logic of explicit time, matching its expressiveness exactly [10]. Moreover, this logic is the kernel of the Albert real-time language, for C. Leclère and B. Le Charlier refined the notion of constraint mapping, first introduced in [5]. They also defined an analyser of logic programs able to prove automatically the total correctness of Prolog programs with respect to a limited form of formal P.-Y. Schobbens (jointly with C. and A. Sernadas from Lisbon, and G. Saake from Magdeburg) has also designed a temporal logic for evolving specifications. With J.-F. Raskin, he previously studied a simple temporal logic [19] which was considered as an open question in the summary work of [1]. 1.4 Default logics Finally, P.-Y. Schobbens and J.-F. Raskin have studied the links between supernormal defaults and maximal models of the modal logic S4. 2 LOGIC PROGRAMMING 2.1 Study of Mercury D. Baldan, B. Le Charlier, C. Leclère, and I. Pollet have defined an abstract syntax and a (novel) declarative semantics for MERCURY, in order to generalize and adapt Y. Deville's methodology [7] for logic program construction to MERCURY. This work has been presented in [2]. 2.2 Abstract Interpretation and Program Analysis specification including, e.g., information about modes, types, possible sharing, and multiplicity of calls. This work is a collaboration with S. Rossi (Padova) and A. Cortesi (Mestre/Venezia). It is described in [4]. 70

5 2.3 Synchrony and Asynchrony in Concurrent Constraint Programming Concurrent constraint programming is classically based on asynchronous communication via a shared store. In [3], J.-M. Jacquet in a joint work with L. Brim and M. Kretinsky (Masaryck University, Czech Republic) and D. Gilbert (City University, United Kingdom) has presented a new version of the ask- and -tell primitives which features asynchronicity and synchronicity. Their approach is based on the idea of telling new information just in the case that a concurrently running process is asking for it. This framework has been shown to be different in nature from classical concurrent constraint programming and from CCS, a classical reference in traditional concurrency theory. 3 INTEGRATION AND COORDINATION OF LANGUAGES 3.1 The Asax system A. Mounji and B. Le Charlier have described in [14] an integrated system in which several programming paradigms (i.e., imperative, rule-based, and (data- )logic) are integrated to allow an efficient detection of intrusions in distributed computer environments. A. Mounji's Ph.D. thesis, based on this work, has received the 1998 Information Technology Prize awarded by the Belgian IT journalists. 3.2 The language Concurrently, N. Habra and B. Le Charlier have proposed in [8] a logic programming language with a semantics general enough to be used as a framework to define and reason about programs that involve modules written in different programming styles: Horn clauses, equations, functions, constraints,..., together with, modules of relational databases. 3.3 The Log coordination model Finally, J.-M. Jacquet has designed together with K. De Bosschere (University of Gent, Belgium) a logicbased framework, called µlog, supporting concurrency, heterogeneity, resource- consumption, [10] Thomas A. Henzinger, Jean-Francois Raskin, and Pierre-Yves Schobbens. The regular real-time languages. In K. Larsen, editor, Proceedings of ICALP'98: International Colloquium on Automata, Languages and Programming, volume 1343 of Lecture Notes in Computer and coordination issues. This work has been reported in [6, 12]. REFERENCES [1] H. Andreka, V. Goranko, S. Mikulas, I. Nemeti, and I. Sain. Effective Temporal Logics of Programs. In L. Bolc and A. Szalas, editors, Time and Logic: a Computational Approach, pages UCL Press, [2] D. Baldan, B. Le Charlier, C. Leclère, and I. Pollet. A Step Towards a Methodology for Mercury Program Construction: a Declarative Semantics for Mercury. In P. Flener, editor, Post-proceedings of LOPSTR'98, volume 1559, pages 2140, [3] L. Brim, D. Gilbert, J.-M. Jacquet, and M. Kretínský. A Process Algebra for Synchronous Concurrent Constraint Programming. In M. Hanus and M. Rodriguez-Artalejo, editors, Proceedings of the 5th Conference on Algebraic and Logic Programming, volume 1139 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages Springer-Verlag, September [4] B. Le Charlier, C. Leclère, S. Rossi, and A. Cortesi. Automated Verification of Prolog Programs. The Journal of Logic Programming, 39:3-42, [5] A. Cortesi, B. Le Charlier, and P. Van Hentenryck. Combination of abstract domains for logic programming. In Proceedings of the 21th ACM SIGPLAN-SIGACT Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages (POPL'94), Portland, Oregon, January [6] K. de Bosschere and J.-M. Jacquet. Extending the µlog Framework with Local and Conditional Blackboard Operations. Journal of Symbolic Computation, 21: , [7] Y. Deville. Logic Programming: Systematic Program Development. International Series in Logic Programming. Addison-Wesley, [8] N. Habra and B. Le Charlier. Unified Relational Framework for Programming Paradigm Combination. In Proceedings of the FroCos'96 First International Workshop Frontiers of Combining Systems, [9] P. Haumer, P. Heymans, M. Jarke, and K. Pohl. Bridging the gap between past and future in re : a scenario-based approach. To appear in Proc. of the Fourth IEEE International Symposium on Requirements Engineering (RE'99), Limerick, Ireland, Science, pages , Aalborg, Denmark, July Springer-Verlag. [11] P. Heymans and E. Dubois. Scenario-based techniques for supporting the elaboration and the 71

6 validation of formal requirements. Requirements Engineering Journal (to appear), [12] J.-M. Jacquet and K. de Bosschere. On Relating Blackboards in the µlog Coordination Model. In H. El-Rewini and Y. Patt, editors, Proceedings of the 30 th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, volume 1, pages The IEEE Computer Society Press, [13] Philippe Du Bois Jean-Marc Zeippen, Eric Dubois. Supporting the analyst when reasoning on requirements specifications for real-time and distributed systems. In Proc. of ISORC '98 (First IEEE International Symposium on Object-Oriented Real-Time Distributed Computing), pages , Kyoto (Japan), April IEEE, Springer-Verlag. [14] A. Mounji and B. Le Charlier. Continuous Assessment of a Unix Configuration: Integrating Intrusion Detection and Configuration Analysis. In Proceedings of the Internet Society Symposium on Network and Distributed System Security (SNDSS'97), San Diego, California, February IEEE. [15] V. Plihon, J. Ralyte, A. Benjamen, N.A.M. Maiden, A. Sutcliffe, E. Dubois, and P. Heymans. A reuse-oriented approach for the construction of scenario based methods. In Proc. of the International Software Process Association's 5th International Conference on Software Process (ICSP'98), Chicago, Illinois, USA, [16] Jean-Francois Raskin and Pierre-Yves Schobbens. State clock logic : a decidable real-time logic. In Proc. International Workshop on Real-time and Hybrid Systems (HART'97), volume 1201 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS), pages Springer-Verlag, [17] Jean-Francois Raskin, Pierre-Yves Schobbens, and Thomas A. Henzinger. Axioms for real-time logics. In D. Sangiorgi and R. de Simone, editors, Proceedings of CONCUR'98: 9th International Conference on Concurrency Theory, volume 1466 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS). Springer, 1998 [18] Pierre-Yves Schobbens and Jean-Francois Raskin. The logic of event clocks. Journal of Algebra, Languages and Combinatorics, To appear. [19] Pierre-Yves Schobbens and Jean-Francois Raskin. The logic of initially and next : completeness and complexity. Information Processing Letters, 69: , The first speaker was Tom Khabaza from Integral Solutions Ltd (now bought by the statistical software vendor SPSS). Integral Solutions Ltd is the manufacturer of the popular Clementine data mining environment. Dr. Khabaza talked about the CRISP-DM framework, which proposes a kind of standard for the knowledge discovery process. The DATA MINING SEMINAR Hendrik Blockeel Katholieke Universiteit Leuven On June 1st, a seminar on data mining was organised in Antwerp. The seminar was organised by the BIRA (Belgisch Instituut voor Regeltechniek en Automatisering) working group Digitale Technieken en Computersystemen, in co-operation with the Technologisch Instituut, a branch of the KVIV (Koninklijke Vlaamse Ingenieursvereniging) that is responsible for the continuing education of engineers and other professionals in Flanders through seminars, workshops etc. The Technologisch Instituut, located in the Ingenieurshuis in Antwerp, hosted the seminar. The Data Mining group of the Computer Science Department of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven co-ordinated the scientific programme. The seminar aimed at professionals who do not necessarily have a strong background in information technology or data mining, but want to find out about the opportunities offered by this new technology to improve their business. Approximately 25 people from diverse companies, as well as several people from the academic world attended. INTRODUCTORY TALK The programme started with an introductory talk by Luc Dehaspe and Hendrik Blockeel from the K.U.Leuven, in which an overview of the many applications of data mining was given, as well as an overview of the broad range of techniques that exist. The remainder of the programme consisted of four invited talks by people who were selected on the basis of their having a strong scientific background (in the fields of machine learning, data mining or statistics) as well as extensive practical experience (in offering consultancy or solutions to companies, or the development of data mining tools). TOM KHABAZA knowledge discovery process is divided into several phases: business understanding, data understanding, data preparation, modeling, evaluation and deployment. By describing these different phases and the relationships between them, and by identifying key issues and introducing a common terminology, the CRISP-DM framework offers 72

7 support for real-world data mining applications. The structure of the framework was illustrated by means of the Clementine system. ARNO SIEBES Arno Siebes from the Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica in Amsterdam was the second speaker. He talked about his data mining experiences in the financial business; more specifically he discussed a direct mailing application in a bank. The bank wishes to promote loans to their clients. A problem specific for this application is that it is very important to avoid sending mailings to people to whom the bank does not want to give credit. It is therefore important to assess the credit risk before mailing the client. Credit risk assessment in this context suffers from the so-called reject inference problem. There are many examples ofclients who have obtained a loan and did or did not pay the loan back (positive / negative examples), but for those clients who were rejected with the credit risk assessment function that is currently in use, it is unknown which of them would have paid back the loan anyway, had they obtained it. If these people could be identified, they would be an interesting market extension for the bank. Dr. Siebes discussed an approach to this problem that consists of amending the originally used credit risk assessment function with a k-nearest neighbour approach: the rejected individuals are compared with those for which the outcome of giving a loan was known, and those individuals who are similar to mainly positive examples are considered eligible for the loan. After the second speaker there was lunch, which consisted of a delicious salad as first course; a main course featuring porc, potatoes and vegetables; and ice cream with fruit for dessert. DIRK BELMANS The third speaker was Dirk Belmans. Dr. Belmans works for SAS-Institute Belgium, where he is THE FIRST EUROPEAN WORKSHOP ON EVOLUTIONARY IMAGE ANALYSIS AND SIGNAL PROCESSING EVOIASP' This report is a (slightly) adapted version of a report sent to EvoNet, which may (partially) appear in the Evo News newsletter. responsible for data mining consultancy. His talk focused on the Enterprise Miner system, SAS' general-purpose data mining tool. During the talk an online demonstration of the tool was given, in which some of the many different statistical and AI-based techniques incorporated in the tool were illustrated. A convincing demonstration was also given of the seamless integration of Enterprise Miner with the visualisation tool SAS/Insight. THIERRY VAN DE MERCKT The last talk of the day was given by Thierry Van de Merckt, who started his career as a machine learning researcher at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, and is now working as senior consultant for CSC (Computer Science Corporation) in Belgium, where he has been involved in several data mining projects. In this talk Dr. Van de Merckt focused on fraud detection, a hot topic nowadays. He discussed a project done for a healthcare company; the aim is to detect cases of fraud where a member of a medical insurance system, possibly helped by a cashier, illegally claims refunds for medical expenses that do not exist. It was shown how, using a sophisticated multi-step data mining process, some very interesting results have been obtained that enabled the company to detect a significant number of fraud cases and prevent fraud in the future, allowing it to save substantial amounts of money. ATTRACTIVE FOR COMPANIES The seminar ended with a drink offered by the Technologisch Instituut. During this drink, as well as during the coffee breaks and lunch it became clear that data mining is starting to get a lot of attention in the Belgian companies, and that in many places the possibilities of data mining are being explored and data mining projects are being or have been started. Especially remarkable is the great interest that researchers at universities show in starting data mining companies that offer consultancy and tools. It seems that many people are seeing benefits in exploring this market. Hopefully this seminar has been a stimulus in this respect. Edwin de Jong Vrije Universiteit Brussel From May 26 to 29, four workshops relating to evolutionary computation took place in Gothenburg, Sweden: EuroGP, EvoIASP, EuroEcTel and EvoRobot. The workshops were organized by EvoNet, the European funded Network of Excellence 73

8 in Evolutionary Computing. EuroGP has genetic programming as its subject. It is the largest of the EvoWorkshop and attracted most visitors. The other workshops were partly overlapping (they all lasted one or two days). EuroEcTel has evolutionary telecommunications as its subject, and addresses issues such as network design and routing. EvoRobot is concerned with applying evolutionary methods to robotics. I primarily visited the EvoWorkshops for EvoIASP, the First European Workshop on Evolutionary Computation in Image Analysis and Signal Processing and this report will solely describe EvoIASP, since I could only attend the other workshops partly. DANA BALLARD A demonstration of the robot Elvis drinking a can of Coke started off the day. The first item on the program was an invited speech titled Virtual Reality and Cognitive Bandwidth by Dana Ballard, who is well-known for his work on animate or active vision. Active vision is the idea that vision is controlled depending on a certain task, as opposed to the view that vision is used to construct a general purpose 3-D model of the environment as proposed in David Marr's book Vision. Ballard's interest is in understanding the human brain, and this interest is clearly reflected in his choice of research topics. The presentation started with a video fragment of an experiment where subjects had to copy a 3-D model of an airplane in Virtual Reality by moving the different parts into place one at a time. The video showed what the subjects saw while performing this task. Superimposed on these images was an eye-tracker arrow which accurately showed what the subject was looking at. The experiment clearly demonstrated that subjects frequently look back at the model they have to copy before putting a part in position. These results support the active vision paradigm, and indicate that instead of constructing a detailed model in memory, people may rely on vision to extract information from the environment at the moment it is needed. THE NEXT DAY The morning session consisted of presentations by Julian Miller, Marc Ebner and Lucia Ballerini. Miller presented work on evolving digital visual filters based on finite difference equations. His results with evolved gate arrays suggest that there is a potential for fast imperfect filters consisting of only a small number of components. Marc Ebner used Genetic Programming (GP) to find points in a time series of images that allow for computing the optical flow. He concluded that GP can be used to evolve task specific image operators. For his ultimate goal, application in adaptive vision systems, computation time (several days) will have to After presenting neurobiological results showing that animals can learn to anticipate rewards by developing sensitivity to triggering events (classical conditioning), Ballard went on to a computational approach of this principle. The problem is to discover what constitutes a useful trigger. This selection of task specific memory is addressed by Andrew McCallum's work on sequence learning, which is described in his Ph.D. thesis (supervised by Ballard). The central experimental result in that thesis is a reinforcement learning program that learns to control a car on a busy highway. A video of this high quality graphics simulation showed that the algorithm had developed a policy that was rather different from what humans do; when driving in the fast lane, it looked backwards for extended periods of time, apparently checking whether anyone was catching up! LOOMING A third subject that was addressed in the invited lecture is looming. Looming refers to the phenomenon that approaching objects appear to increase in size. A demonstration showed that an algorithm based on log-polar coordinates could determine whether an object in a sequence of images is approaching or receding. A final issue raised by Ballard was what type of problems solved by the human brain may require genetic algorithms (GAs). He argued that for tasks not requiring any internal state, GAs are not necessary, since they can be adequately solved using other methods. Instead, a possible use of GAs might be to develop libraries of visual filters for tasks such as looming. decrease though. Ballerini presented a method for segmentation of medical images. She used deformable models (snakes) as piecewise continuous representations of contours in the images. GAs were used in order to overcome local minima and to minimize the energy of the snakes, thus ensuring natural shapes. COOPERATION After lunch, the afternoon session started. Edwin de Jong presented results of an experiment where a set of sensory channels has to be found as the basis for a discrimination task. He found that encouraging 74

9 cooperation by only rewarding elements of completely satisfactory solutions yielded better solutions than attributing fitness based on the individual performance of elements. Stephen Marshall described and demonstrated how GAs can be used to restore archive films. Whereas with existing, spatial (2D) filters it is necessary to first detect the film-dirt, the spatio-temporal (3-D) soft morphological filters found by the GA can be applied globally to the image. DEMONSTRATION After a live demonstration of Husqvarna's autono-mous lawn mower (http://international-husqvarna.com/ products/- robotic/automo wer.html), the evening session began. Craig Robertson presented a paper on applying evolutionary strategies to the problem of fitting constrained surfaces to 3D data. This might be used for example for reverse-engineering of airplane parts, by determining how to create an object based on its shape. The conclusion was that a proof of concept has been achieved; the ultimate goal however is to derive models from 2.5-D descriptions. Gordon Hollingworth presented a paper where simulated evolvable hardware was used for low level image processing (edge etection). POSTERS In addition to the oral presentations, a number of posters were presented. One poster especially worth mentioning was that by Jean Louchet about the Fly algorithm. This evolutionary approach to stereovision places a population of 'flies' in 3-D image space, and adapts the positions of these flies based on fitness. Fitness is high if a fly is positioned on the surface of an object. Thus, after several generations, the flies will tend to inhabit the surfaces of the objects and show where they are located in 3-D space. The fitness can be SECTION KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS IN LAW AND COMPUTER SCIENCE Section-Editor Radboud Winkels ZOMERWEELDE: A COURT FOR PRACTISING PROCEDURAL CRIMINAL LAW Report of the JURIX lecture by Jürgen Wöretshofer, held on June 2nd 1999 in Maastricht Bram Roth, Universiteit Maastricht calculated based on the fact that if a point in 3-D image space is on a surface, then the two corresponding 2-D points in the images of two adjacent cameras have similar grey values. The computational requirements of this elegant approach are low (in the order of seconds), especially when compared to existing alternatives which are usually based on surface fitting. The result is not a complete geometrical description but a collection of points, which can be useful for certain real world applications (e.g. obstacle avoidance on robots). LNCS All in all, an interesting and diverse variety of work was presented, and the workshop can be called a success. The proceedings of EvoIASP combined with those of EuroEcTel are available as no in Springer's Lecture Notes in Computer Science series from Next year's EvoWorkshops will be held in Edinburgh in conjunction with the Third International Conference on Evolvable Systems ICES2000. AANKONDIGING Op vrijdag 10 september wordt de landelijke Kunstmatige Intelligentie Opleidingen in Nederland (KION) dag gehouden. Vertegenwoordigers van Nederlandse AI opleidingen verzorgen presentaties over opvallende aspecten van hun opleiding. Locatie: Witte Zaal, Transitorium 1, Leuvenlaan 21, Uithof, Utrecht. Informatie: Albert Visser; On June 2nd, the JURIX foundation had a meeting in Maastricht and one interesting scientific contribution was made by Jürgen Wöretshofer, who teaches procedural criminal law at the Open University of Heerlen. The Open University is an educational institute which does not rely exclusively on traditional training methods like classical human instruction, but instead offers a complete package of learning materials, so that its students can do their work at home, in their own time and at their own pace. As a new part in this learning package, Wöretshofer and his colleagues developed a computer program which operates in the domain of procedural criminal law. It aims at teaching students some basic practical skills which are indispensable for anyone who is working as a legal professional. 75

10 This is done by simulating a number of criminal cases before a virtual court called Zomerweelde thus giving students the opportunity to practise some parts played in a court room. THE PRESENTATION As remarked above, the computer program aims at teaching students the basic practical skills that a legal professional must have in the field of procedural criminal law. The most important of these skills are pleading and arguing. Besides these skills, a certain alertness is required and some preparedness to take risky, uncertain stands. Students can acquire these skills by practising different parts in the virtual courtroom provided by the program. A total of four, relatively simple, cases can be simulated and students are expected to prepare themselves in advance of each case by studying the case description. The courtroom and the personages in it are made visible by means of static drawings, and the student can hear everything that is said by the other players in the court room. After the presentation the audience was given the opportunity to ask questions, and among these I recognized the following four categories. The first category focused on the evaluation of a student s performance by assigning the predicates strong or makes no sense to the arguments (s)he put forward. The speaker acknowledged that this is a coarse way of measuring the student s result, and for this reason the program only states whether a student has performed satisfactorily or not. The second category of questions was about the limitations that a user runs up against in constructing his arguments. These limitations arise from the fact that one can only put forward pre-stored arguments by selecting them from a menu, so that a user cannot come up with his own original argumentation. According to the speaker, however, this limitation is inevitable, because extending the system s potential in this respect would require an awful lot of extra work. The third category of questions dealt with the problem of maintenance of the four existing cases in the repertoire, and the feasibility of adding another case to it. According to Wöretshofer, this is almost impossible given the amount of work that is already needed for the maintenance of existing cases, let alone the codification of new ones. The final category addressed the program s evaluation, but no question was asked on evaluation in an educational environment. Instead the question was, whether legal professionals in the field had been consulted to evaluate the program. The speaker s answer to this was, that such professionals had At any moment, the student can interrupt the speakers by clicking a button with a microphone. He can then make a limited number of assertions (like the suspect is guilty of manslaughter) by selecting them from a fixed menu. After the student has put forward an assertion, the program can ask him to adduce arguments for it, which he can then select from a menu. Some of these arguments are strong and some make no sense at all, and by assigning one of these qualifications to each argument put forward by a student, the program can decide whether or not that student s performance has been satisfactory. After having worked his way through the case, the student can get an overview of his performance during trial, including the qualification that the program has assigned to each individual action. This gives the student the opportunity to focus on those aspects of his argumentation strategy that the program found to be weak. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS indeed been asked their opinion, and that they had been enthusiastic about it. END OF SECTION KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS IN LAW AND COMPUTER BOK PARTNERS INTEND TO CONTINUE COLLABORATION AFTER 1999 Evert van de Vrie, Open University of the Netherlands During the past two years the Groningen State University, Utrecht University, Knowledge Center CIBIT, Maastricht University and the Open University of the Netherlands have collaborated on the development of educational materials in the field of knowledge technology and artificial intelligence (Ditmarsch, van den Herik and van de Vrie, 1998). This was part of the BOK-project (Brede Onderwijsinnovatie Kennistechnologie or Extensive Educational Innovation of Knowledge Engineering) which resulted in a database with educational materials. Tutors of the institutions can use this material for the compilation of lectures, tutorials and 76

11 courses. The database contains texts for lectures and workbooks, tutorial manuals and assignments, as well as software and multi-media presentations. Parts of these materials have been tested and are already being used in the curricula of the institutions. The database contains materials for the compilation of the following courses: Introduction to Knowledge Technology, Development of Knowledge Systems, Logic for Artificial Intelligence, Knowledge Management, Machine Learning, Knowledge Acquisition, Knowledge Representation and Inferencing, Natural Language Interfaces, and Methodology of Knowledge System Development. SUBPROJECTS At the end of June, four of the nine BOK subprojects had been completed, three will be completed within the next few weeks and the remaining two have recently been started and should be completed before the end of this year. The results of the entire project consist of a concrete list of deliverables: teaching materials, teaching programmes, readers, a full database, two Ultimately, the collaboration could develop into a National Educational Group for Knowledge Technology (Landelijke Onderwijsgroep Kennis technologie or LOK for short), carried out and maintained by the participating institutions. Concretely LOK could start soon with the compilation of courses on Agent Technology and Cognitive Robotics. The general perspective could be that within the next few years electronic agents will be controlling the provision of information on the internet. Knowledge Management and Agent Technology, and in the longer run Knowledge Retrieval and Teleservices, will then be the major themes. In order to be prepared for this continuation the five institutions intend to continue their collaboration on the development of actual education that distinguishes itself through its excellent ease of study. References Ditmarsch, H. van, Herik, H.J. van den, Vrie, E.M. van de (1998). Interuniversity Innovation in Knowledge Technology Education. Nieuwsbrief NVKI, Vol. 15, No. 5, pp ONDERZOEK NAAR ONTWERPEN VAN INFORMATIESYSTEMEN AAN DE TU DELFT Jan Dietz TU Delft annual reports and a final report, two successful BOK days and plans for the future. The main activities for the remaining period of the BOK project up to December 31st, 1999, will focus on the finalisation of the last subprojects, a thorough evaluation of the project and reflection on a possible extension of the collaboration after WORKSHOP During a workshop at the Open University in Heerlen it was acknowledged that the BOK project is well on its way to being finalised according to plan at the end of The ensuing collaboration has proven to be valuable and fruitful and the wish was expressed to continue it beyond the completion of the present project. Both permanent innovation regarding content and extension of the teaching materials, as well as improvements of a didactic and educational technological nature, are aimed for by the partners. LOK De TU Delft heeft dit jaar nieuwe faculteiten gekregen, die zijn ontstaan uit fusies van de voormalige faculteiten. Zo vormt de voormalige faculteit Technische Wiskunde en Informatica samen met de voormalige faculteit Electrotechniek de nieuwe faculteit Informatietechnologie en Systemen (afgekort: ITS). Meteen is ook de implementatie van de MUB ter hand genomen, en zijn er afdelingen gevormd, zeven in totaal. Eén ervan is de afdeling Information Systems & Software Engineering. Deze bestaat uit vier kernleerstoelen: Ontwerpen van Informatiesystemen (Dietz), Database Systemen (Gerhardt), Informatiemanagement (Looijen), en Software Engineering (Van Katwijk). Hieronder wordt, in een aantal thema s geordend, een overzicht gegeven van het onderzoek dat binnen de leerstoel Ontwerpen van Informatiesystemen wordt verricht. Dat onderzoek is ingebed in nationale en internationale verbanden. De belangrijkste verbanden zijn de onderzoekschool SIKS (School for Information and Knowledge Systems), het Telematica Instituut, DITSE (Delft Institute for Information Technology in Service Engineering) en BETADE (Building blocks for Effective Telematics Application Development and Evaluation), een van de speciale intern TU Delft gefinancierde onderzoeksprogramma s. BIS.SYS.ENG. 77

12 Business Systems Engineering In de evolutie van het vakgebied Informatica zijn twee keerpunten te onderscheiden, momenten waarop sprake is van een wezenlijke uitbreiding van het terrein en van daarbij behorende paradigmaverschuivingen. De eerste voltrok zich rond 1970 en bestond uit het onderscheiden en tegelijkertijd binnenhalen van het semantische/logische perspectief op computerapplicaties, naast het bestaande syntactische/ technische perspectief. Vanaf die tijd zijn informatici zich ervan bewust dat ze zich met twee categorieën systemen bezig houden, namelijk met formele systemen (de ICT-infrastructurele systemen) en met rationele systemen (de eigenlijke applicaties ofwel informatiesystemen). Het tweede keerpunt is zich nu aan het voltrekken. Het bestaat uit het onderscheiden en binnen de informatica betrekken van de bedrijfsprocessen zelf, in menselijke organisaties maar ook in technische systemen. Daarmee komt een derde systeemcategorie binnen het blikveld van de informaticus, namelijk die van de sociale systemen. Vanuit communicatie/informatie gezien, is de aandacht gericht op wat daarmee wordt ondersteund of mogelijk gemaakt. Voorbeelden van aandachtspunten zijn het aangaan en nakomen van commitments tussen subjecten (sociale individuen), en de coördinatie en besturing van activiteiten INFORMATION SYSTEMS ENGINEERING In aansluiting op het thema Business Systems Engineering, wordt het traditionele thema Information Systems Engineering aangepakt volgens een 4-lagen architectuur: informatie, compositie, organisatie en presentatie. Vergeleken met de bekende 3-lagen architectuur van Bellcore, zijn de nieuwe elementen daarin compositie en organisatie. Met compositie wordt bedoeld wat in de 3-lagen architectuur applicatie heet, maar dan opgedeeld in business components, d.w.z. direct gerelateerd aan de atomaire bouwstenen van bedrijfsprocessen. Met de vierde laag, organisatie, wordt bedoeld de moleculaire samenstelling van de actuele bedrijfsprocessen. Doordat die losgemaakt is van de compositie/applicatie-laag, kunnen beide onafhankelijk van elkaar worden ontwikkeld en veranderd. Het lopende onderzoek is geconcentreerd op de compositielaag. Er wordt daarbij zowel gekeken naar de indeling in business components, als naar de constructie daarvan door middel van business rules (rule based dvelopment). Binnen het thema Information Systems Engineering valt ook het lopende onderzoek naar methoden voor binnen organisaties. Anders gezegd, naast Information Systems Engineering, is er nu ook plaats voor Business Systems Engineering. Meer bekende deelgebieden daarbinnen zijn Business Process Re-engineering (BPR), Workflow Management en Requirements Engineering. Een zeer praktisch gebleken resultaat van het onderzoeksthema is de DEMO methodiek (Dynamic Essential Modeling of Organizations). De wetenschappelijke verankering van de DEMO denkwijze is het zogeheten OER-paradigma, waarvan de belangrijkste geleende ingrediënten zijn: de communicatieve actie theorie (Austin, Searle, Habermas), de ontologie van Bunge en organizational semiotics (Stamper). Het lopende onderzoek is enerzijds geconcentreerd op het evalueren van praktische ervaringen en het vervolgens aanpassen/bijstellen van de theorie en de methodiek, en anderzijds op het maken van aansluitingen met gangbare praktijken, zoals Petri Netten en UML. Een nieuw onderzoeksprogramma, dat binnenkort van start gaat, is CARE (Communicative Action based Requirements Engineering). Verder gaat de groep, samen met het UMC Utrecht, beginnen aan het project Care Models, waarin het (her)ontwerp van zorgprocessen centraal staat, en het electronisch patiënten dossier. de ontwikkeling van multimedia en internettechnologie gebaseerde systemen. CONCEPTUAL MODELING Een blijvend kernelement in het onderzoek van de leerstoel, betreft het modelleren in brede zin. Het aantal modelleer-methoden/technieken dat in de praktijk wordt gebruikt, is groot en ook nog steeds groeiende. Dat roept vragen op naar wat bijvoorbeeld de scope van elk is, en welke kwaliteitsverschillen er bestaan. Twee onderwerpen die momenteel worden aangepakt zijn metamodellering en raamwerken voor kwaliteitsbepaling. Daarbij is het onderscheid in de twee systeemoriëntaties functie (black-box modellen) en constructie (white-box modellen) relevant, alsook de drie systeemcategorieën: sociale, rationele en formele systemen. Er staat voorts een onderzoek op stapel naar architecturen. Daarin wordt gekeken naar het verschil tussen een functie- en een constructiearchitectuur, en naar verschillen tussen architecturen voor elk van de systeemcategorieën. DIGITALE DUURZAAMHEID 78

13 Digitale duurzaamheid Ondanks dat door copy en paste en andere ICT functionaliteiten digitale informatie vrijwel zonder beperking kan worden hergebruikt, vermenigvuldigd en worden verspreid, is de houdbaarheid van digitale informatie een bron van zorg. Er zijn gevallen bekend van instellingen die delen van hun eigen digitale collecties van 15 jaar geleden niet meer kunnen lezen. Door het wegvallen van de informatische waarde van documenten, doordat ze niet meer leesbaar zijn, wordt het geheugen van organisaties aangetast op een wijze die vergelijkbaar is met de ziekte van Alzheimer. Zelfs zal, doordat van leesbare maar niet meer authentieke documenten de juridische waarde van documenten verloren gaat, de rechtszekerheid In samenwerking met de Universiteit van Amsterdam is een onderzoek gestart naar de mogelijkheden van het gebruik van VR-technieken voor het bestrijden van fobieën. Een op de acht mensen heeft last van een of meer fobieën, zoals hoogtevrees, vliegangst en claustrofobie. Wegens de omvang en de ernst van de klachten - en ook de maatschappelijke kosten die daaruit voortvloeien - is er grote behoefte aan doeltreffende en betaalbare behandelings-methoden die door therapeuten in hun eigen kliniek of praktijk kunnen worden toegepast. Uit laboratorium-experimenten is gebleken dat het in sommige gevallen mogelijk is om fobieën te behandelen door patiënten therapeutisch te begeleiden in een Virtuele Omgeving. Het principe van deze behandeling is, dat de betreffende fobie op een gecontroleerde wijze wordt opgewekt en vervolgens wordt behandeld, in een nauw contact tussen therapeut en patiënt. Om dit principe in de praktijk te kunnen toepassen is nog veel onderzoek nodig naar de praktische eisen aan de therapie en de virtuele omgeving. Vervolgens zijn hanteerbare systemen nodig die de therapeut geheel zelfstandig kan bedienen. Zulke systemen dienen generiek en instelbaar te zijn omdat fobieën in vele combinaties en vormen voorkomen en omdat patiënten op een heel persoonlijke wijze behandeld moeten kunnen worden. Het is de bedoeling zo n systeem te ontwikkelen. TIME FOR DEFENCE Jaap van den Herik IKAT Universiteit Maastricht In the harvest of the Ph.D. theses listed below we find John Sowa s. He has been busy for many years, bedreigd gaan worden. Er zijn in enkele bibliotheken en overheidsarchieven ontwikkelingen in gang gezet om te komen tot noodoplossingen (prototypes) voor enkele (toevallig aandoende) categorieën documenten. Een fundamentele, wetenschappelijke aanpak, gericht op de totstandkoming van bouwstenen voor digitale duurzaamheid, met het doel deze bouwstenen in te zetten om zo te komen tot verzamelingen van best practices, is op dit moment nergens voorzien. Zo n onderzoek gaat binnenkort, binnen DITSE, van start. VIRTUAL REALITY has sent many publications into the world for AI researchers to ponder, and now he has found the time to defend his work. Professor Robert Meersman is happy to act as supervisor. Congratulations to both of them. Paraphrasing a little poem by Jane Taylor ( ), I think that both have the following feelings on the thesis produced. Twinkle, twinkle, little star, Thesis and Defence here you are! Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky! Of course, this poem is equally valid for the theses of the other researchers mentioned below. The Editorial Board of the BNVKI Newsletter congratulates them too. Recently (June 11), we also saw the Ph.D. Defence by a respected researcher (D.F. Beal) of whom many people thought that he had performed his Ph.D. thesis in his youth. The same is true for John Sowa. I believe that the scientific world has started to honour their contributions in the right way. This issue contains six new announcements of Ph.D. defences. One of them even stems from January, but we have included it for completeness sake. With much pleasure we remark that half of the list of announcements comes from Belgian Universities. Moreover, the Ph.D. review published in this issue in the section Computational Linguistics also stems from the Vrije Universiteit Brussels. Hence, the BNVKI actually deserves to start with B. Having said so, I would like to wish all Ph.D. students a fruitful 79

14 summer holidays so that the academic year 1999/2000 will see many completed Ph.D. theses. G.C. van den Eijkel (January 18, 1999). Fuzzy Probabilistic Learning and Reasoning. Technische Universiteit Delft. Promotor: Prof.dr.ir. E. Backer. B. de Boer (June 4, 1999). Self Organisation in Vowel Systems. Vrije Universiteit Brussels. Promotor: Prof.dr. L. Steels J.G. M. Schavemaker (June 18, 1999). Document Interpretation Applied to Utility Maps. Technische Universiteit Delft. Promotor: Prof.dr.ir. E. Backer; additional-promotor: Dr.ir.J.J. Gerbrands. J. Sowa (June 25, 1999). On Logical, Philosophical and Computational Foundations of Knowledge Representation. Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Promotor: Prof.dr. R. Meersman. M.-F. Moens (June 28, 1999). Automatically Indexing and Abstracting the Content of Document Texts. Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Promotoren: Prof.dr. H. Olivié, Prof.dr. L. Verstraelen and Prof. dr. J. Dumortier. SECTION COMPUTATIONAL LINGUISTICS SECTION-EDITOR ANTAL VAN DEN BOSCH SELF ORGANISATION IN VOWEL SYSTEMS Dissertation by Bart De Boer Vrije Universiteit Brussels Promotor: Prof. dr.l. Steels Report by Joris van Looveren Universiteit Brussel On Friday, June 4th, Bart de Boer from the AI-lab of the Vrije Universiteit in Brussels defended his PhD dissertation entitled Self Organisation in Vowel System. The research for this thesis is situated in the framework of the research on the origins of intelligence, and more specifically on the origins of that language. The research is performed at the AI-lab of the VUB, and focuses on speech sounds. De Boer restricted himself to vowel sounds, mainly because it is a new field of research and more complex sounds (sounds that include H. Paijmans (September 14, 1999). Explorations in the Document Vector Model. Katholieke Universiteit Brabant Tilburg. Promotor: Prof. dr. H. Bunt. AI ON THE WEB BNAIC 99 ~bnvki/bnaic99/ Registration Deadline September 1, 1999 TALKING HEADS In Brussels, Antwerp and Paris consonants) are much harder to model. A second reason is that there are more linguistic results about vowel systems, which allows better evaluation of the results. SELF ORGANISATION The goal of the thesis was to capture the process of formation of vowel systems in human languages in a computer simulation. The results produced by the computer simulation are compared to characteristics of vowel systems occurring in natural languages to verify the plausibility of the model. The model conceived by De Boer is based on a multi-agent architecture, in which each agent models one language user. The agents are equipped with human-like perception and production modules; they can listen to the sounds that other agents make, and try to imitate them. A simulation then consists of many of these interactions (imitation games), each time with two different randomly chosen agents. After the imitation, the initiator of the game verifies if the imitation was good enough by checking if it considers the imitated sound to be the same sound as it produced before. If this is not so, the imitator has to take action to improve its vowel inventory; it can do so by creating a new vowel, or by shifting the vowel so it is closer to the sound the initiator made. The 80

15 mechanisms the agents use to update their vowel repertoires are chosen in such a way that in every run of the simulation, the agents construct a vowel system that is stable given the circumstances of their environment. (For example, if the noise level is higher, it will be more difficult for the agents to discern one vowel from another. Nevertheless they converge towards a stable system, but one that contains fewer vowels.) The agents act only through local interactions, without a regulating central entity that dictates which sounds they should use, or even how many vowel sounds they should use. This so-called self-organisation paradigm presents a crucial distinction from previous work in this field, where vowel systems were optimized globally. EVALUATION Evaluation of simulations is done by comparing its properties to those exhibited by the phenomenon they try to model. De Boer used several criteria to assess the quality of his model. As an example we mention the energy level of a vowel system. Real vowel systems turn out to be near-optimal, meaning that from a perceptor's point of view, the distance between different vowels is large. This can be expressed through an abstract energy measure, which is lower when the distance between vowels is larger. De Boer showed that the results produced by his model indeed show this property. Another criterion is that in human languages there is neither just one possible vowel system, and neither are they completely random, but there are a limited number of different vowel systems each of them occurs with a different statistical probability. In the presentation, De Boer showed that in his simulations for systems of six vowels, six different possible configurations occurred in a series of 1000 runs with the same parameter settings. The frequencies of occurrence of these different configurations turn out to correspond very well to systems from natural languages, which is an important support for his model. 81

16 A third property of natural languages that De Boer's model models nicely is the stability of vowel systems. Even though all the time experienced language users die and new people are born that still have to learn the sounds used in a specific language, sound systems tend to remain stable for a long time. In the simulation this is modeled by deleting old agents and adding new ones without sound repertoires at regular intervals. If the replacement rate is not too high, the existing vowel system is preserved very well. NOISE AND FEATURES The most important questions from jury dealt with the different interpretations of the terms noise and features. Jim Hurford from the University of Edinburgh, who could not attend the defense in person, questioned the plausibility of human sound systems. He stated that they were different because of different noise levels in the environment, but De Boer explained that 'noise' in his thesis is a kind of generic concept that captures the essentials of many environmental influences on the developing vowel system, and not just the actual noise on the acoustic signal. Another question from Hurford was whether the articulatory parameters in the model could not be viewed as Chomskian features. De Boer replied that his articulatory parameters are less restricted than Chomskian features in that they are continuous instead of discrete (binary), and that there is no restriction on their use. Finally there was consensus among the members of the jury that the work is innovative and of high scientific value. Consequently, it was rewarded with a 'grootste onderscheiding'. The first problem, efficiency, is posed by the fact that the grammars which are typically hypothesised by linguists are unattractive from the point of view of computation. For a given grammatical formalism, computational efficiency is expressed by stating the (maximum) number of steps required to compute the analysis of a sentence of length n, where n is the number of words. In the simple case, the number of steps will increase proportionally with n. In such cases the complexity is said to be linear. For more complex grammatical formalisms, the number of steps will increase faster than n (e.g. it increases proportionally with n 3 for so-called context-free grammars). For certain even more powerful grammatical formalisms it can be shown that no upper-bound to the number of steps required to find an analysis can be given. The human language user, however, seems to process in linear time; humans understand longer sentences with no noticeable delay. This implies that neither PIONEER-PROJECT ALGORITHMS FOR LINGUISTIC PROCESSING Gertjan van Noord Alfa-informatica, BCN Rijksuniversiteit Groningen Algorithms for Linquistic Processing is the title of a PIONIER-project:recently awarded by NWO to Gertjan van Noord (Alfa-informatica, School of Behavioral and Cognitive Neurosciences, University of Groningen). It is a project in the area of computational linguistics. The 5 years project is planned for about 2.5 milion Dutch guilders, and will employ a number of posttdocs and PhD students. Interested parties are advised to contact Gertjan van Noord The project is expected to start at the end of The homepage of the project is located at The homepage provides a link to the project proposal. The proposal Algorithms for Linguistic Processing focuses on two crucial problem areas in computational linguistics: problems of processing efficiency and ambiguity. For the problem of efficiency grammar approximation techniques will be investigated, whereas a number of grammar specialization techniques are proposed for the ambiguity problem. EFFICIENCY AND GRAMMAR APPROXIMATION context-free grammars nor more powerful grammatical formalisms are likely models for human language processing. An important issue therefore is how the linearity of processing by humans can be accounted for. For this purpose grammar approximation techniques will be explored. Grammar approximation techniques approximate a given (powerful) grammar by means of devices of a much simpler form: finite-state devices. Finite-state devices are a type of formalism that has been studied extensively in mathematics and computer science. They are known to allow very efficient processing (in linear time). It is also known that they are incapable of treating certain linguistic constructions in full generality. But interestingly, at least some of the constructions that cannot be treated with finite-state devices are also difficult for humans. 82

17 AMBIGUITY AND GRAMMAR SPECIALIZATION A further problem is posed by ambiguity. Many words are ambiguous: a dictionary lists various meanings for a single word. For instance, the Dutch word zagen can be the past tense form of the verb zien (to see) or the present tense form of the verb zagen (to saw). For this reason, a computer program analysing the sentence (1) will need to decide which reading of zagen was intended, in order to be able to come up with the appropriate meaning. Ambiguities also arise in certain structural configurations. In (2), for instance, the prepositional phrase in Vietnam could be attached both to de oorlog or to luisteren. Both examples are taken from the Eindhoven corpus. (1) Mijn vader zagen we niet meer My father saw we not anymore We don't saw our father anymore We didn't see our father anymore (2) Zij luisteren naar de bezwaren tegen de oorlog in Vietnam They listen to the arguments against the war in Vietnam They listen to the arguments against the Vietnamese war They listen in Vietnam to the arguments against the war. In many contexts the unintended readings are unlikely or even ridiculous, but it is very difficult to spell out how information concerning the discourse, context, situation and knowledge of the world enforce a particular reading. Therefore, a computer program will come up with such ridiculous readings nonetheless. The phenomenon occurs very frequently for even the most innocent examples. For longer sentences, hundreds or even thousands of readings arise. An important problem therefore is disambiguation: how to rule out quickly these unintended readings? To tackle this disambiguation problem a variety of grammar specialisation techniques will be implemented and compared. These techniques optimise a given grammar on the basis of corpora of representative linguistic Some of the innovative techniques will be applied in a linguistic research tool for searching bare text-corpora (called lgrep). This application is capable of searching text corpora (including arbitrary Dutch texts on the Internet) on the basis of linguistic criteria. It extends existing search tools with the possibility to specify search patterns including linguistic criteria such as part-of-speech labels (such as noun, verb, preposition, etc.), major syntactic category (noun phrase, verb phrase, subordinate sentence, etc.), and grammatical behaviour. Such corpora will contain implicit knowledge concerning situations and contexts which can be extracted by means of statistical techniques in order to be helpful in disambiguation. Such specialisation techniques should be able to conclude that certain readings of lexical entries, and certain combinations of readings, are unlikely in certain contexts. In the example (1) above, each reading could be the right one. However, in the absence of any further information, it seems that our best bet is to guess that the second interpretation holds, since fathers are not sawed very often. In this perspective, the use of statistics is an aid to reasoning in circumstances where not enough information is available to infer which reading must have been the correct one. GRAMMAR DEVELOPMENT The project aims at general answers to the above-mentioned questions of efficiency and disambiguation. In order to achieve such answers, concrete proposals must be developed and compared. In order to be able to apply and evaluate such concrete proposals, a a linguistically motivated computational grammar for Dutch, comparable in coverage to systems available for English will be developed. At the moment, there is no such grammar available for Dutch, although a non-trivial grammar fragment has been developed within the NWO Priority Programme Language and Speech Technology (TST). Even if certain aspects of the grammar have been tuned to the domain of application in TST, it is fair to say that the basic architecture of the grammar is fully general. Moreover, the grammar was successfully applied in a formal evaluation on the TST task: 95% concept accuracy on (previously unseen) user utterances (full details available from xxx.lanl.gov/abs/cs.cl/ ). The TST grammar is taken as a starting point for a more general grammar. LGREP relation (subject, direct-object, specifier, etc.). A successful implementation of Algorithms for Linguistic Processing will not only provide new insights concerning the way in which natural language is processed, but it will also provide new techniques which are crucial for human language technology, in particular for Dutch. 83

18 END OF SECTION COMPUTATIONAL LINGUISTICS CALL FOR PARTICIPATION BNAIC 99 Eleventh Belgium-Netherlands Conference on Artificial Intelligence under the auspices of SIKS, in close cooperation with SNN and JURIX. Kasteel Vaeshartelt, Maastricht The eleventh Belgium-Netherlands Conference on Artificial Intelligence (BNAIC 99) is organised by the Institute for Knowledge and Agent Technology (IKAT) of the Universiteit Maastricht in close collaboration with the Stichting Neurale Netwerken (SNN), the Dutch foundation for Legal Knowledge Systems (JURIX). The School for Information and Knowledge Systems (SIKS) has given its auspices to the conference. The BNAIC 99 is the annual conference of the BNVKI/AIABN and will be held in Maastricht on November the 3 rd and 4 th, The conference aims at presenting an overview of stateof-the art research in artificial intelligence in Belgium and The Netherlands, and to further the interaction between researchers in both countries. Special Events The BNAIC 99 features several special events. These are: - Invited Lecture by Tom Mitchell (Carnegie Mellon University) - Invited Lecture by Jonathan Schaeffer (University of Alberta) On-Line Information Up-to-date information about the BNAIC 99 can be found at: Organisational Committee Floris Wiesman (chair, UM), Joke Hellemons (UM), Rens Kortmann (UM), Marlies van der Mee (UM), Sabine Vanhouwe (UM). Contact information - Demonstration of the Dutch RoboCup Soccer Committee. Registration The deadline for advance registration is September 1, Registration after Septermber or on site registration is also possible, but is not guaranteed to include conference dinner and proceedings. A registration form is available on the web site. Advance registration fees: Student/Ph.D. student/aio/oio: NLG 240,- Other: NLG 325,- Conference dinner: NLG 65,- Late/on-site registration fees: Student/Ph.D.student/AIO/OIO: NLG 300,- Other: NLG 425,- Conference dinner: NLG 65,- Location and Travel The conference will take place at Kasteel Vaeshartelt, on the edge of Maastricht. Information about Kasteel Vaeshartelt, travel directions, a map, etc. can be found at the BNAIC 99 web site. General information about Maastricht can be found at maastricht/ maastricht.html Hotel Accomodation For BNAIC 99 a limited number of rooms is reserved at Kasteel Vaeshartelt. Reservations should be made before September 1, 1999, directly at Kasteel Vaeshartelt (not through the BNAIC 99 organisation): Kasteel Vaeshartelt P.O. Box SB Maastricht Phone: Fax: You can also make a reservation with the reservation form on their Web site: vaeshartelt.htm. Please state BNAIC at the Remarks. Joke Hellemons (UM) IKAT Universiteit Maastricht P.O.Box MD Maastricht The Netherlands Telephone: On-line Information 84

19 Up-to-date information about the BNAIC'99 can be found at: CALL FOR PAPERS DATABASE DAG A. Siebes CWI, Amsterdam Tijdens de SIKS evenementen week zal naast, o.a. de BNAIC ook een landelijke database dag gehouden worden op 5 november. Het formaat is hetzelfde als de vorige keren. Dat wil zeggen, de instellingen geven zelf aan wie welke lezing zou willen houden. Het verschil met de voorafgaande bijeenkomsten is dat de inhoudelijke organisatie door het CWI (Arno Siebes) zal worden afgehandeld terwijl de andere zaken door Maastricht voor zijn rekening genomen worden. In tegenstelling tot de vorige jaren lijkt er dit jaar maar een bijeenkomst georganiseerd te worden. Dus het is nu nog belangrijker om deel te nemen. Niet alleen om de laatste roddels te horen, maar ook om op de hoogte te blijven van wat er in Vlaanderen en Nederland voor onderzoek op het database gebied plaats vindt. BENELEARN '99 The Ninth Dutch-Belgian Conference on Machine Learning On November 5, 1999 Kasteel Vaeshartelt, Maastricht, The Netherlands, the ninth Dutch- Belgian conference on machine learning (Benelearn 99) will be held in conjunction with the Eleventh Belgian-Dutch Artificial Intelligence Conference (BNAIC '99). BENELEARN is the annual machine learning conference of The Netherlands and Belgium. It serves as a forum for researchers in this field to exchange ideas and present recent work. The official language of the conference is English. BENELEARN '99 is organised by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in collaboration with the Institute for Knowledge and Agent Technology (IKAT) of the Universiteit Maastricht and will be held in collocation with the BNAIC'99. Because of the potential overlap between both events, and in order to avoid forcing a choice upon people about where to send their papers, the nature of BENELEARN this year will differ from that of last year's so as to make it more complementary to BNAIC. SETUP In order to maximise the interests people may have in attending both BNAIC and BENELEARN, it is our intention to let BENELEARN have more of a workshop character, as opposed to the conference character of BNAIC. BENELEARN '99 will therefore focus on offering opportunities for intensive information exchange between researchers in the field, by means of a poster session. In addition, a selection of the finest recent machine learning research in the Netherlands and Belgium will be presented during invited sessions. - highlights of recent machine learning research in the Netherlands and Belgium - tutorials The programme will consist of - a poster session - invited talks The poster session aims at giving all machine learning researchers an opportunity to present their work to their colleagues, whether or not the work is preliminary or finished, addresses a broad audience 85

20 or a highly specific one, has been published or not. All poster presenters will have the opportunity to very briefly introduce their work to the audience before the poster session. The aim of the "highlight" talks is to offer a selection of the finest work conducted by machine learning researchers in the Netherlands and Belgium during the last year. Typically this will be work that has been published (or accepted for publication) in an international journal or has been presented (or accepted for presentation) at an international conference. Invited speakers will be allotted more time than is typically the case for a standard presentation at BNAIC or other conferences, and are thus offered here an opportunity to present their work in more depth than they could elsewhere. The programme will further be filled by tutorials: high quality presentations introducing a subfield of machine learning to a broad audience, and given by leading researchers in the field. The invited speakers will be selected by the programme chairs, taking into account suggestions by researchers in the field. Anyone who has suggestions for work that could be presented during an invited talk (this can be own work or work by colleagues) or for tutorial topics is invited to submit their proposal to the programme chairs by June 30. The proposal should include references to publications about the work. PAPER SUBMISSION Papers are sollicited that are relevant to the field of machine learning. There are two different ways of submitting your work to BENELEARN's poster session. Papers can be submitted by (postscript or MS Word format) to or by regular mail to BENELEARN '99 (H. Blockeel / L. Dehaspe) Department of Computer Science Celestijnenlaan 200A B-3001 Heverlee, Belgium PROPOSAL SUBMISSION Proposals for tutorials and invited talks should be sent via to Include a short statement concerning the relevance and quality of the work, coordinates of the researcher(s) responsible for the work, and references to recent publications about the work. IMPORTANT DEADLINES : BNAIC deadline : deadline for invited talk and tutorial proposals : deadline for submissions : notification of acceptance / rejection : deadline for final versions : BENELEARN conference PROGRAMME CHAIRS Hendrik Blockeel, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Luc Dehaspe, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven FURTHER INFORMATION Further information can be obtained by sending mail to and/or consulting the Benelearn web page, which will be updated regularly: ~ml/ benelearn99/ (1) Submit to BNAIC. Authors of ML-related BNAIC-submissions will automatically have the opportunity to present their work in more detail at the BENELEARN poster session. (2) Submit your paper or extended abstract to BENELEARN directly. All submissions will be screened for relevance by the programme chairs. All papers, except those accepted for BNAIC, will appear in full in the BENELEARN '99 proceedings. Papers should be no longer than 8 pages. Any reasonable layout is acceptable; the BNAIC format is preferred (LaTeX style / Word template available at nl/~bnvki/bnaic99/instr/). 86

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