Report: 19th International Conference on Case-Based Reasoning ICCBR 2011


I never would have thought that ICCBR could get better for me, but it did, thanks to great colleagues and friends.

Last year’s conference marked a turning point in my career, having been offered a visiting professor position at the University of Hildesheim just at that time which in turn led to my new position at the University of West London. This year’s ICCBR—organised by Ashwin Ram, Nirmalie Wiratunga, and Miltos Petridis at the University of Greenwich just across town—was my first conference as Professor in Computing, which felt quite nice 🙂 The conference started with a Doctoral Consortium where Edwina Rissland and I had been invited by David Aha to give talks about our respective careers.  The slides of the students as well as my slides will be made available on the DC homepage.

Recurring themes at the conference were reasoning and explanation. Ashwin Ram reported on an analysis of submission topics that showed still an emphasis on work on retrieval. He encouraged the community to work more on reasoning and learning. This was very much in line with my workshop on „Human-Centered and Cognitive approaches to CBR“ co-organised by Jörg Cassens, Anders Kofod-Petersen, Stewart Massie and Sutanu Chakraborti. I’d like to point out David Leake’s talk on „Assembling Latent Cases from the Web – A Challenge Problem for Cognitive CBR“. As David and I have done quite a few workshops on explanation and as the topic is central to David’s research it is no surprise that explanation played a central role. His vision of the Web as a huge case base received quite some attention.

In parallel, workshops on „Process-oriented Case-Based Reasoning (PO-CBR)“ and „Case-Based Reasoning for Computer Games“ were held.

The first invited talk was given by Kris Hammond: „Reasoning as search: supporting intelligence with distributed memory“. He reviewed his work on CBR and current projects, nicely underlining Ashwin Ram’s encouragement for more research on reasoning. Kris first led us from „reasoning is remembering“ to „reasoning is JUST remembering“. Cause „plan modifications are just damned hard“ one needs to „pull modifications out of the hands of the machine and put them in the hands of the user“. He further led us to „Reasoning is (just) remembering other people’s stuff“ (from CHEF to FAQfinder), „Reasoning is search“, „Reasoning is structure“, „Reasoning is knowing“, and finally back to „reasoning is remembering“. Go to his homepage to learn more about his research.

The second invited speaker was Steffen Staab. He talked about „Ontologies and similarity“. The focus was very much on ontologies and less on similarity. I very much liked his CBR view of Linked Data where „cases are metadata without frontiers“.

All in all, ICCBR was well organised and fun to attend. Next year ICCBR will be held in Lyon, France. I am looking forward to it!

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