Last week I attended the ninth European Conference on Case-Based Reasoning ECCBR 2008 in Trier, Germany. Just around the corner of Kaiserslautern, one could say.
The conference was again a great experience. The community is special. I always feel welcome and at home. From talking to other participants to this conference series I know that even people who attended the conference for the first time feel the same.
A first highlight of this year’s conference was the invited talk by Pádraig Cunningham and Barry Smyth. They analysed research themes in CBR conference literature. One motivation was to check whether our often pessimistic view of our community was founded. It was quite nice to learn that they found that the CBR community is in fact quite healthy. What a relief 🙂 Their analysis discovered a few evolving CBR themes such as recommender systems and diversity, case-base maintenance, adaptation, creativity and knowledge-intensive CBR, and conversational CBR. Their evaluation shows clear evidence of sustained innovation and maturing research. An important discovery surely is that the impact factor is comparable with big AI conferences such as ECAI and ECML.
ECCBR 2008 also presented an innovation: The Computer Cookery Contest CCC. The task:
Write your own software application for the live competition. Show that your program is more creative than the average kitchen user. Let your computer’s recipe creations be evaluated by a professional cook and an international jury of scientists! [From the call for participation]
The competition was quite entertaining. Some of the systems provided, well, interesting recipes when they needed to change ingredients in order to accommodate for ingredients at hand / in the fridge. You can find the results here.
There were also two personal highlights: I was invited to participate in a panel discussion on open source software and I had a talk together with Armin Stahl where we presented myCBR for rapid prototyping and also its explanation capabilities.
The discussion panel was chaired by Ralph Traphöner, a former colleague. Mehmet Göker, with whom I have organised ECCBR 2006, took the view of a global player in software use whereas Eyke Hüllermeier, professor at University of Marburg, took on the role of academia. They discussed with three open source software providers, i.e., with Christian Brockmann (eclipse project smila), Pedro Gonzalez Callero (jColibri), and me (myCBR).
The talk about myCBR was received very well. Over the course of the conference I was asked to show the tool to several attendees who either planned to evaluate myCBR in commercial settings or want to use it for teaching purposes. In my part of the talk I presented some of the explanation capabilities built into myCBR. Go and check out myCBR 🙂