Artificial Intelligence: Case-based reasoning for recommender systems

Last year I gave an invited talk at Techsylvania 2015 in Cluj, Romania, on Case-based Reasoning for Recommender Systems. You can find my slides here (including a video recording of my talk) and the video separately on youtube here.

AI - Using CBR to build Recommender Systems

Eduardo Lupiani guest of my research group

eduardoLike Lotta I met Eduardo Lupiani Ruiz at an ICCBR Doctoral Consortium where he presented his research topic. Eduardo is PhD student at the Departamento de Ingeniería de la Información y las Comunicaciones, University of Murcia, Spain. For four months he will be working with us on his research topic, temporal case selection. He is addressing the problem whether case selection techniques are valid for domains where temporal relations exist either among cases or among their features. During his stay we will look at opportunities to use and/or enhance myCBR for such kinds of domains.

Lotta Rintala guest of my research group

Lotta RintalaI met Lotta Rintala already at ICCBR 2011 but we only got talking at the ICCBR 2012 Doctoral Consortium in Lyon, France, where she presented her research topic. She is looking at how to use CBR for gold ore pretreatment selection. It quickly became clear that her work could benefit from a stay with my research group at the University of West London and that we, on the other hand, could benefit from a myCBR Workbench user who is not a software engineer.

Lotta is a PhD student at the School of Chemical Technology at Aalto University, Finland. For four months – starting in March – Lotta will be working with us. Goal of her research visit is to study how to formally represent cases in her domain using myCBR Workbench, and how to effectively retrieve relevant cases. My team and I will assist in the respective knowledge modelling and programming tasks.

Tutorial: myCBR and Colibri Studio at AI 2012 Conference

From CBR researchers and students we learned that Colibri Studio and myCBR are perceived as competitors. But nothing is further from the truth. Colibri Sudio and myCBR complement each other. At ICCBR 2012 we gave tutorials on our open source tools (announced here) together and decided in discussions afterwards to further promote their interoperability at other venues.

We are happy to showcase myCBR and Colibri Studio at AI 2012, the thirty-second Annual International Conference of the British Computer Society’s Specialist Group on Artificial Intelligence (SGAI), which will be held in the attractive surroundings of Peterhouse College in Cambridge. The introductory tutorial will be given as part of the main conference by Christian Sauer, University of West London, and Dr Juan Antonio Recio García, Complutense University of Madrid.

Additionally, there will be a talk about myCBR and Colibri Studio at the 17th UK Workshop on Case-Based Reasoning (UKCBR 2012).

You can register online here.

Prof David Wilson guest at University of West London

I am very happy to host a distinguished guest for the 2012-2013 academic year. Dave Wilson joins the School of Computing and Technology at the University of West London as part of his sabbatical. He will be working with me in the Centre for Model-based Software Engineering and Explanation-aware Computing. His research visit is contributing to the university’s efforts to increase research activity. Several more visits of researchers are already planned.

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

Last year’s conference marked a turning point in my career, having been offered a visiting professor position at the University of Hildesheim which then led me to my new position at the University of West London. … David Aha on the doctoral consortium: reminds „students are the lifeblood of research“ David Aha on the doctoral consortium: reminds „students are the lifeblood of research“ A recurring theme at the conference was reasoning.

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!

Report: 18th International Conference on Case-Based Reasoning

The papers include Web 2.0 applications that reuse experiential Web content and usage data to support the authoring of new product reviews, to proactively make recommendations in a conversational setting, and to reuse searches for knowledge that can be used to adapt travel itineraries, for example. … The five papers presented here illustrate some of the wide range of opportunities for provenance-aware CBR, including using traces as a knowledge source and container of experience (Cordier & Mille), using provenance to enrich the CBR process (Leake & Kendall-Morwick, McSherry), and using it to support explanation (Kofod-Petersen, Aamodt, & Langseth, Roth-Berghofer & Adrian ).

This year’s International Conference on Case-Based Reasoning, ICCBR 2010, was the liveliest for me in quite a few years.

  • Interesting workshops. Check
  • Doctoral Consortium. Check.
  • Invited talks. Well. One was really interesting *and* well done. Check.
  • Talks, posters, conference dinner. Check.
  • Lot’s of aggressive mosquitos. Check

But let’s start at the beginning (and forget about the itching mosquito bites).

ICCBR 2010 was held in Alessandria, Italy. The conference was organised by Isabelle Bichindaritz (University of Washington, Tacoma) and Stefania Montani (Università del Piemonte Orientale „Amedeo Avogadro“) who was also the local host. Stefania and her team provided a welcoming and stimulating atmosphere in an up-to-date lecture hall with latest video projection and camera equipment. The workshops were held in standard seminar rooms that were suitably big. With 88 participants the conference could keep its numbers of attendees of the last years.

Doctoral Consortium

To be a mentor in a doctoral consortium was a new and interesting experience to me. I was asked by the DC chair Klaus-Dieter Althoff (University Hildesheim and Competence Center CBR, DFKI Kaiserslautern) on very short notice as the original mentor was not available anymore for some reason. I had read the phd proposal on my way to Alessandria and went over the slides with the student just before he held his presentation. It was interesting to see how the three phd students presented their (intended) work and – maybe even more important – what the other mentors pointed out and remarked on. There are not so many opportunities where you can compare your own view on phd supervision with the view of others.

This year only three phd students applied for the DC. Next year’s chair David W. Aha (Navy Center for Applied Research in AI, Washington, DC) has already some ideas to increase the application rate by involving the programm committe members more. So, PCs beware! 🙂

Workshops

Of the five workshops I was only able to be at two for the whole time, WebCBR and Provenance-aware CBR, as the workshops ran in parallel.

WebCBR: Reasoning From Experiences On The Web (Chairs: Enric Plaza, Derek Bridge, Barry Smyth, Sarah Jane Delany, and Nirmalie Wiratunga)

Advances in Web technology have led to vast amounts of user-generated Web content in the form of blogs, emails, reviews and comments. Increasingly, people search and browse other people’s experiences on travel, medicine, retail, entertainment, etc. While these records of experience can be treated as documents, we take the view that they are more appropriately seen as a rich source of untapped experience data, a valuable asset that can be used to generate Web experience bases through Case-Based Reasoning (CBR) technology.

Proliferation of Web content also means significant increases in Web usage and data about this usage. Many users will have similar searching and browsing needs and should ideally benefit from the search and browsing experiences of others. Better capture of usage data and its greater reuse to enhance subsequent searching and browsing is another opportunity for CBR research.

[…] The papers include Web 2.0 applications that reuse experiential Web content and usage data to support the authoring of new product reviews, to proactively make recommendations in a conversational setting, and to reuse searches for knowledge that can be used to adapt travel itineraries, for example. Other papers address underlying technological issues such as the similarity and retrieval of textual content, the mining of case vocabulary, and the inter-operation of CBR with the emerging Web of Data.

[From preface of workshop proceedings, page 109]

This workshop was already on my list of workshops I wanted to attend as it is very much related to my conference publication on „Case Acquisition from Text: Ontology-based Information Extraction with SCOOBIE for myCBR“ reported on elsewhere. So I was very happy to be asked to be on the discussion panel. Some topics I addressed:

Having Linked Open Data (LOD) available and the ability to enrich texts with LOD in the form of RDFa allows for new applications for Textual CBR. LOD finally enables re-use of vocabularies / ontologies by their provision. I am very much interested on the tool level and in supporting the knowledge engineer in creating and maintaining knowledge of CBR systems.

We have a lot to offer to the LOD/Semantic Web community, e.g. dealing with fuzziness, providing a notion of utility, acceptability, preference; modelled as a priori similarity.

Provenance-Aware CBR: Applications To Reasoning, Metareasoning, Maintenance And Explanation (PA-CBR) (Chairs: David B. Leake, Thomas Roth-Berghofer, Barry Smyth, and Joseph Kendall-Morwick)

Our workshop on provenance-aware case-based reasoning tied in nicely with the WebCBR workshop.

The workshop’s broad goals include: (1) clarifying the nature of provenance, trust, and reputation, as they relate to CBR; (2) examining how provenance information may be used at multiple points in the CBR cycle, and (3) advancing the state of the art in relation to how provenance and meta-data should be captured, represented, and exploited in CBR systems. To enable a synthesis of perspectives, the workshop program includes both paper presentations and time for extensive discussion.

The five papers presented here illustrate some of the wide range of opportunities for provenance-aware CBR, including using traces as a knowledge source and container of experience (Cordier & Mille), using provenance to enrich the CBR process (Leake & Kendall-Morwick, McSherry), and using it to support explanation (Kofod-Petersen, Aamodt, & Langseth, Roth-Berghofer & Adrian). We see this work as an exciting first step towards deeper understanding and further exploration of provenance-aware case-based reasoning.

[From preface of workshop proceedings, page 67]

Even though the workshop had only got five submissions the attendance was overwhelming. More than half of the conference participants joined the workshop and discussed with us on the role of provenance. I’ll update on that in another post.

Conference

From the conference talks I only like to point out Ashwin Ram’s keynote speach on „Real-Time Case-Based Reasoning for Interactive Digital Entertainment“.

I propose an alternative approach to designing Game AI: Real-Time CBR. This approach extends CBR to real-time systems that operate asynchronously during game play, planning, adapting, and learning in an online manner. Originally developed for robotic control, Real-Time CBR can be used for interactive games ranging from multiplayer strategy games to interactive believable avatars in virtual worlds.

As with any CBR technique, Real-Time CBR integrates problem solving with learning. This property can be used to address the authoring problem. I will show the first Web 2.0 application that allows average users to create AIs and challenge their friends to play them—without programming. I conclude with some thoughts about the role of CBR in AI-based Interactive Digital Entertainment.

[From Real-Time Case-Based Reasoning for Interactive Digital Entertainment « Cognitive Computing]

Next year: London!

Next year’s conference will take place in Greenwich, London, hosted by Miltos Petridis. The programme chairs are Ashwin Ram (Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta) and Nirmalie Wiratunga (Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen).