Report on the Eighth Ireland Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science (AICS-97)

Article excerpt

Theme: AI in "Crisis"?

The Eighth Ireland Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science (AICS-97), which was run in conjunction with the Irish Machine Vision and Image Processing Conference (IMVIP-97), was a success. The delegates for both meetings enjoyed themselves and expressed their congratulations on the program and organization. Also, for the first time, AICS attracted a large number of delegates and papers from abroad, including many from the United Kingdom, Europe, and even the United States and Asia.

AICS-97 was hosted by the Faculty of Informatics, University of Ulster, Magee College; the Artificial Intelligence Association of Ireland (AI)(2), the Cognitive Science Society of Ireland (CSSI), and the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behavior (SSAISB). Sponsorship was provided by the University of Ulster, the Industrial Research and Technology Agency Unit (IRTU) of Northern Ireland, the International Association for Pattern Recognition (IAPR), the European Computer Vision Network of Excellence (ECVnet), and the Optical Engineering Society of Ireland (OESI). A large number of other Irish and British organizations, including the British Council, the Institution of Electrical Engineers, and the British Computer Society, agreed to cooperate. The cognitive science strand of AICS-97, the Annual Conference of the CSSI, was run as "MIND-II: Computational Models of Creative Cognition" at Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland, on 15-17 September.

We advertised AICS-97 internationally to mail groups and on usenet as well as placed information at the University of Ulster on the World Wide Web. The local press (The Derry Journal & Belfast Telegraph) and radio (BBC Northern Ireland) ran a number of articles leading up to and during the conference. All plenary invited speaker talks and the panel session went out on streaming video and audio, stored and live with the possibility of phone-in questions (organized by Ted Leath, University of Ulster, Magee).

Fionn Murtagh (University of Ulster, Magee) was the general chair for both AICS-97 and IMVIP-97, and Jon Campbell (University of Ulster, Magee) coordinated local organization for AICS-97 as well as acted as program chair for IMVIP-97. They did a supreme job. More details on all the events are available at www.infm.ulst. ac.uk/research/conferences.html.

Venue

Straddling the meandering River Foyle where it becomes Lough Foyle, Derry (from Doire [Oak Grove] in Gaelic), or Londonderry (and some other names besides), has a rare scenic beauty. It is rich in history, encompassing monastic settlement and fully extant city walls, the great siege of the late seventeenth century, and much more. A visit to the renowned Tower Museum is more than rewarding. It is a northern European city of 100,000, almost on the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The area has wide renown for its writers (Brian Friel, Seamus Heaney, Jennifer Johnson) and musicians (Phil Coulter, Clannad, Dana, Enya, Daniel O Donnell) and, of course, its computer scientists (www.ni-tourism.com/noplugin.htm, www.ireland.travel.ie/, and www.interknowledge.com/northernireland).

To the east of the Foyle, we have the north Derry coast, with beautiful beaches at Benone and Castlenock and then through Coleraine to the seaside resorts of Portstewart and Portrush. A few kilometers further along the north Antrim coast, we arrive at the Giants' Causeway and Bushmills with the world's oldest whiskey distillery (www.infosites.net/ tourism/topten/bushmills.html) that delegates could visit as part of the conference tour.

The Inishowen Peninsula borders the West of Lough Foyle with a beautiful "Inishowen 100" tour, and one can visit the rugged mountains and sea cliffs in the close hinterland of Donegal (for example, Glenveagh National Park once owned by the McIlhenny Family, inventors of famed Tabasco Sauce! …