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Bulletin #2, September 2008

Presidential address

Dear ECCAI society member,

during ECAI in Patras I was elected new president of ECCAI by the ECCAI board -- a job I happily accepted for several reasons. First of all, I feel, of course, very honoured to be given the chance to become active for European AI in this new role. Secondly, my predecessor, Werner Horn, did a perfect job and left ECCAI in excellent shape. He deserves a big Thanks from all of us (and I am sure I will ring him up quite often for his advice). ECCAI finances are solid; the international standing of European AI is excellent (there are several areas where Europe is clearly having a lead); ECAI regularly attracts a high number of participants and highest quality submissions from all over the world; ACAI has established itself as a highly valuable event for PhD students and young researchers; AICom is continuously gaining reputation and readership. All this, of course, does not mean there isn't much to do for me. Here are some of the issues I would like to focus on. (1) There are several European countries with excellent AI research which are not yet ECCAI members (e.g. Poland and Cyprus). I would like to encourage researchers from these countries to build AI societies and join us. It is worth it! (2) I got the impression some of our societies, especially from Eastern Europe, feel somewhat "underrepresented" within ECCAI. I would certainly like to increase participation at ECCAI events, submissions and also ECAI/ACAI bids from these countries. (3) Transparent procedures are highly important for an organization like ECCAI. Wherever we can increase transparency we will do so. (4) After its internationalization and corresponding name change to Association of the Advancement of AI, AAAI has become even more of a competitor. Of course, the competition is friendly, many of us (including myself) are members of both an ECCAI society and AAAI, and I do not see much of a risk that AAAI will once rule the entire AI world. Still, to strengthen ECCAI I think it is important to establish close links and partnerships with AI societies, e.g. in Asia, and also with AAAI itself (for instance, I could imagine that AAAI and ECCAI agree on reduced conference fees for members of the respective partner). So I guess there will be enough to do, besides the more regular ECCAI business (bids, fellows, dissertation award and the like).

Let me take this opportunity to thank also Ulises Cortés who served on the board for the last 6 years. He put in a tremendous amount of effort, in particular as the person responsible for the dissertation award, certainly one of the most time consuming jobs a board member can get (this is why we are currently forming a selection committee headed by Toby Walsh; it will consist of 6 people covering different areas of AI).

Finally, let me welcome the two new board members, Grigoris Antoniou and Patrick Doherty, both very well-known in our community, experienced researchers and organizers. Looking forward to working with you!

With ACAI 2009 in Belfast, ECAI 2010 in Lisbon and ECAI 2012 in Montpellier we have excellent events ahead of us. I think it is just exciting to be part of European AI these days. Let us all keep it rockin'!

Gerhard Brewka

New ECCAI fellows

The ECCAI Fellows program has been started in 1999 to recognize individuals who have made significant, sustained contributions to the field of artificial intelligence (AI) in Europe. Nine ECCAI fellows have been nominated in 2008 and celebrated during ECAI'08:
  • Pavel Brazdil
  • Wolfram Burgard
  • Saso Dzeroski
  • Didier Dubois
  • Sarit Kraus
  • Maurizio Lenzerini
  • Pedro Meseguer
  • John Mylopoulos
  • Francesca Rossi
Congratulations to each of them!

To get more information on the ECCAI fellows, have a look here :

ECCAI conferences

ECAI'08: 18th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence
- including PAIS 2008: Prestigious Applications of Intelligent Systems 

The conference has been held in July 21- 25, 2008 at Patras, Greece. It was organized by ECCAI and the Hellenian Association of Artificial Intelligence. There were 518 full paper submisssions and 43 poster reviewed submissions. The programme committed decided to accept 121 full papers and 97 posters. The acceptance rate for full papers is of 23%. Submissions were received from 51 different countries and accepted papers are from 35 countries. In comparison with ECAI 2006, a strong increase in the relative number of submissions from machine Learning and Cognitive modelling was recorded. Knowledge Representation & Reasoning, traditionally strong in Europe, remains the biggest area of ECAI 2008. The Ecai'08 conference has been a success with more than 600 attendees. The atmosphere was both working and nice. The ECCAI board wants to thank the programme Chair, Malik Ghallab, the workshop chairs, Boi Faltings and Ioannis Vlahavas, and the demonstration systems chair, Nikos Karacapilidis, for their excellent job and congratulate the conference chair, Constantine D. Spyropoulos, and the organizers, Nikos Fakotakis and Nikos Avouris, for their excellent performance on a very demanding job. The dissertation award 2007 has been awarded to Adrian Petcu, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, for his thesis: "A Class of Algorithms for Distributed Constraint Satisfaction". The winner gave a lecture during ECAI'08 on his thesis work. The minutes of the ECCAI general assembly, held during ECAI'08, can be found on the Eccai web page The next general assembly will be held during ACAI'09 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.


The next ACAI summer shool will be held during summer 2009, in Belfast (Northern Ireland) on "Intelligent decision support systems". It will be hosted by the School of Computing and Mathematics, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, UK. More details in the next bulletin.

ECAI 2010: 

The 19th ECAI conference will be held in Lisbon (16-20 August 2010). The general chair is Helder Coelho (University of Lisbon, Portugal). The local organisation co-chairs are Luis Antunes (University of Lisbon & APPIA, Portugal) and João Balsa (University of Lisbon, Portugal). The program chair is Michael Wooldridge, University of Liverpool. For more details, see

ECAI 2012: 

The 20th ECAI conference will be held in Montpellier and organized by the LIRMM as decided during the last ECCAI General Assembly. Congratulations for the proposers ! More information later.

ECCAI sponsored conferences     

14 - 18 Sep 2008
ICAPS'08 International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling, Sydney (Australia)
16 - 19 Sep 2008
KR 2008 11th International Conference on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, Sydney (Australia)
19 - 22 Oct 2008
ICAI-08 International Conference on Advanced Intelligence, Bejing (China)
30 - 31 Oct 2008
RuleML-2008 International RuleML Symposium on Rule Interchange and Applications, Orlando, Florida (USA)

National conferences of ECCAI member societies

02 - 04 Oct 2008
SETN ´08 5th Hellenic Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Syros (Greece)
09 - 11 Dec 2008
AI-08 28th SGAI International Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Cambridge (UK)

ECCAI journals

- IEEE Intelligent systems 

Last issue: July-August 2008  on Computational Cultural Dynamics

Computer technology is leading to sweeping changes in how we reason about groups in diverse cultures. This special issue features articles on computational models for cultural dynamics and on applications that employ such models to achieve such goals as understanding other cultures, recovering from conflicts and disasters, and reducing terrorism.

Also in this issue: video game characters, the smart power grid, robots and war, Semantic Web agents, and more

Issue Highlights

The following articles are available without an electronic subscription:

A Letter from the Editor
Why It Matters(pdf)
James Hendler and Jie Bao
Computer science research and technology can make a real difference in the world. The recent earthquake in China provides one example.

Computational Cultural Dynamics
A Computational Approach to Etiquette: Operationalizing Brown and Levinson's Politeness Model (pdf)
Christopher A. Miller, Peggy Wu, and Harry B. Funk
A central source of cultural differences is the communication of politeness, which can powerfully affect perception and behavior. A computational adaptation of a universal theory of human politeness could reduce software development costs and increase an intelligent agent's behavior repertoire.

Histories & Futures Cassandra or False Prophet of Doom: AI Robots and War (pdf)
Noel Sharkey
The possible future deployment of autonomous fighting systems raises serious questions. For example, will these systems be able to discriminate between innocents and combatants? What are the responsibilities of AI researchers embarking on such projects?

- AI Communications

Last issue : Volume 21, Number 1 / 2008

To secure an anchor – a recovery planning approach to ambiguity in perceptual anchoring
by Lars Karlsson, Abdelbaki Bouguerra, Mathias Broxvall, Silvia Coradeschi and Alessandro Saffiotti

Ripple Down Rule learning for automated word lemmatisation
by  Joël Plisson, Nada Lavrač, Dunja Mladenić and Tomaž Erjavec

Pattern-based automatic taxonomy learning from the Web
by  David Sánchez and Antonio Moreno

An ASP-based approach to dealing with agent perception failure
by  Francesco Buccafurri, Gianluca Caminiti and Domenico Rosaci

The CADE-21 automated theorem proving system competition
by Geoff Sutcliffe

Next ECCAI-Bulletin in December 2008

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