Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas Ceilidh 8th December 19.00-23.00

From the OED


In Scotland and Ireland:     a. An evening visit, a friendly social call.    b. A session of traditional music, storytelling, or dancing.

1959 Times 10 Jan. 7/6 All over the British Isles today at ceilidhes, hootennanys and similar gatherings in pubs, clubs and private houses, folk music is flourishing as it has not done for over a century.


Appleton Tower Concourse, food and drink with social dancing.
By invitation: RSVP Diana Sisu

With music from Bella MacNab

For those wishing to brush up, in advance, on their ceilidh skills (or even start to build them from scratch), there is an ALP (adult learning project) ceilidh at St Brides on 24th November with the Robert Fish Band

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Computational Thinking: Aaron Sloman

'Ontology extension' in evolution and in development, in animals and machines.

Abstract: A distinction can be made between definitional and substantive ontology extension. How the latter is possible is a deep question for AI, psychology, biology and philosophy. All information-processing systems have direct access only to limited sources of information. For some systems it suffices to detect and use patterns and associations found in those sources, including conditional probabilities linking input and output signals (a somatic sensorimotor ontology). Sometimes it is necessary to refer beyond the available data to entities that exist independently of the information-processing system, and which have properties and relationships including causal relationships that are not definable in terms of patterns in sensed data (an exosomatic ontology). This is commonplace in science: scientists postulate the existence of genes, neutrinos, electromagnetic fields, chemical valencies, and many other things because of their explanatory role in theories, not because they are directly sensed or acted on. Does this also go on in learning processes in infants and hatchlings that discover how the environment works by playful exploration and experiment? Is ontology extension beyond the sensor data also set up in the genome of species whose young don't have time to go through that process of discovery but must be highly competent at birth or hatching? Is there anything in common between the different ways ontologies get expanded in biological systems? This relates to questions about what a genome is, and about varieties of epigenesis, as well as to the varieties of learning and development that need to be considered in AI/cognitive science/robotics/psychology.

This work extends the paper presented with biologist Jackie Chappell at IJCAI-05 on The Altricial-Precocial Spectrum for Robots.

It is part of the theoretical work being done on the EU-funded CoSy robot project. It challenges the current emphasis on such themes as symbol-grounding, sensorimotor-based cognition, and the role of embodiment in constraining cognition. It explains how we can be mathematicians, scientists and philosophers as well as animals with bodily functions and competences.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Towards a Science of the World Wide Web

James Hendler

Distinguished Lecture

4 pm on Wednesday, 6 December 2006
Swann Lecture Theatre
Michael Swann Building
The King's Buildings.

Computer Science research in the area of the World Wide Web has largely focused on improved search for individual web pages or on the modeling of Web connectivity (using the tools of networking). However, given the huge impact of the Web on our world, this seems to be an impoverished view. What are the principles of engineering that have made the Web flourish? How can we engineer new technologies, that will extend the capabilities of the Web? What are the social impacts of Web use, and how can Web technologies both allow greater freedoms while preserving the ones we have?

In this talk, I will use some examples from Semantic Web and "policy aware" information access to demonstrate new Web technologies and how we might explore some of the trade-offs between making it easier to integrate information on the Web with protecting that information from abuse. I will explore some of the emerging trends on the Web including social networking, blogging, and beyond page search, and discuss some of the research and technology challenges that they pose to continued Web growth and access, and some new technologies being explored to address these challenges.

ICT Review Preview

Review 2006-12-07 0900-1400

Edinburgh will be visited by the ICT review panel on 7th December. All members of Informatics are invited to participate.

Preview 2006-12-06 1200-1400

On 6th December there will be a public preview of the posters prepared for this event.

RSVP to Alex Judd, if you plan to attend