Language, Vision, and Music: Report on the Eighth International Workshop on the Cognitive Science of Natural Language Processing (CSNLP-8)

Article excerpt

Occurring during the solar eclipse of 1999, the Eighth International Workshop on the Cognitive Science of Natural Language Processing (CSNLP-8) was a success. The delegates enjoyed not only the academic content but also the surplus of social events and expressed their congratulations on the program and organization. CSNLP-8 attracted a large number of delegates and papers from abroad, including many from Britain, Europe, the United States, and Asia.

CSNLP-8 was hosted by the Information Technology Centre at the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway, Ireland, The Cognitive Science Society of Ireland (CSSI), and the Artificial Intelligence Association of Ireland (AI)2, in cooperation with IntelliMedia 2000+, Aalborg University, Denmark. It was run just before "MIND-IV: Two Sciences of Mind," the Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society of Ireland (CSSI), at Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland, 15-18 August.

CSNLP-8 was advertised internationally to mail groups and on usenet as well as by placing information at the Information Technology Centre, NUI Galway, on the World Wide Web. Paul Mc Kevitt was program chair for CSNLP-8, with Conn Mulvihill and Micheal Colhoun as local organization chairs and Sean 6 Nuallain as the general chair for CSNLP. More details on the workshop are available at www.it.ucg.ie/csnlp8.

The Information Technology Centre at NUI Galway has a research focus on cognitive science and Al, with research on topics such as creativity, natural language processing, robotics and embedded systems, information filtering and retrieval, image processing, and human-computer interaction. The workshop was held in the lecture room (oratory) of the St. Anthony's College building, which was used as a seminary in previous years; it was appropriate for this event, which had numerous religious leanings.

The Program

The Program Committee for CSNLP-8 consisted of about 80 members from Ireland and abroad, including a large number of internationally renowned researchers. CSNLP-8 had 4 invited speakers, 30 papers split into 9 oral sessions (multimodal communication interfaces, multimodal communication and music, multimodal system formalisms and architectures, language and vision, language and music, language and music [semantics], synaesthesia, and creativity I and II), a panel session (on creativity), and 5 poster sessions.

Of note in his presentation entitled "Tonality in Irish Traditional Music," O Nuallain argued that Irish music is modal, and instead of having a triad of 1-3-5, that is, a major and minor chord, it relates to a single note, a center of tonality. He hastened to add that none of the music associated with the Riverdance dance show is traditional Irish music! Mc Kevitt presented the CHAMELEON system from Aalborg University, Denmark, which is a general platform for performing the integration of speech and image processing. CHAMELEON has an application where people can ask questions about twodimensional building plans such as "Whose office is this?" Mc Kevitt introduced his presentation by showing a postcard from his mother that had a picture of the Brian Boru harp, a fiteenth- or sixteenth-century harp that is the oldest surviving Irish harp and on which the national government seal of Ireland (the harp) is based; Mc Kevitt noted that many states rather have birds or animals as their government seals. He also showed a picture of the Irish 10 pound note on which there is a picture of James Joyce (1882-1941). Finally, Mc Kevin blessed the workshop proceedings with some sprinklings of Irish whiskey.

Invited Papers

We had a distinguished group of invited speakers from both Europe and the United States: Sheldon Klein (Computer Sciences Department and Linguistics Department, University of Wisconsin at Madison, www.cs.wisc.e du/-sklein/sklein.html), Stephen Nachmanovitch (Free Play Productions, Los Angeles, California, www. freeplay.com), Gerard Sabah (LIMSICNRS, Orsay, France, www. …