» Sang Ah Lee
Department of Bio and Brain Engineering,
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
Sang Ah Lee is an assistant professor of cognitive neuroscience at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. She received her PhD from the Department of Psychology at Harvard University and completed her postdoctoral training at the Center for Mind/Brain Sciences at the University of Trento, Italy. Her main research interests concern the fundamental origins of cognition, with a focus on spatial representation and memory. How do we represent our physical surroundings early in life? What kinds of cognitive changes occur over the course of learning and development to give rise to the abstract and flexible spatial representations that we possess in adulthood? What happens when specific components of cognition or learning are compromised in neurological disorders? She uses developmental, comparative, electrophysiological, and neuropsychological approaches to investigate the role of spatial representations in cognition at multiple levels – from basic navigational mechanisms, to episodic memory, to the formulation of abstract spatial representations.
A Boundary-based View of Spatial Cognition
Decades of research on how organisms encode and remember spatial information have revealed that environmental boundaries, such as walls, ledges, cliffs, hills, and other terrain-like structures, play a fundamental role in spatial mapping and navigation behavior. For instance, when human toddlers see a toy hidden in one corner of a rectangular space, they later search for it (according to the boundary geometry) in the correct corner and its rotationally symmetric corner. Children’s spatial mapping is dominated by boundaries to the extent that even when there is a feature in the room that disambiguates the two corners (e.g., one uniquely-colored wall), children continue to search in the geometrically symmetric corner just as often as the correct corner. This heavy reliance on boundaries decreases across human development, particularly with the emergence of abstract, flexible representations of space. Nevertheless, it is becoming increasingly evident that the dissociation between boundaries and other spatial cues is a fundamental one that can be observed across species, development, and across tasks. From the firing of single neurons in the rodent brain, to the development of spatial knowledge in children, and to visual scene recognition in adults, I will review work from multiple areas of cognitive science that converge upon a boundary-based view of spatial cognition.
WhenTuesday, September 5
» Stefano Borgo
Laboratory for Applied Ontology, ISTC CNR Trento
Stefano Borgo is a researcher at the Laboratory for Applied Ontology (ISTC CNR) in Trento. Trained in mathematics and computer science, he is interested in the formalization of knowledge on space, agents, objects and in their interactions. In applied ontology he concentrates on foundational studies as well as on product and process modeling. Among his research results the development of the DOLCE ontology and the ontological analysis of artifacts and engineering functions. His most recent work is on agent modeling and interaction. He is co-founder and ex-secretary of the International Association of Ontology and its Applications (IAOA), co-founder and steering committee member of Shapes, WoMO and JOWO, member of the Editorial Board of the Applied Ontology journal and technical consultant of UNI (the Italian standardization organization). He published over 100 papers in AI, logic, cognitive science, philosophy, engineering, linguistics, primatology, architecture and urban planning.
Modeling the Knowledge, Action and Environment of an Artificial Agent
We will discuss the notion of agent in general and then focus on the AI view with particular attention to the robotic domain and industrial scenarios. Then we will focus on the knowledge an artificial agent needs in order to properly act in a scenario. In particular, we will see how to organize the agent’s general and contextual knowledge and how to understand and model the notion of environment. This study leads to formalize the interaction between knowledge, context and environment providing an integrated approach for reasoning and acting in industrial scenarios.
WhenWednesday, September 6
» Bin Jiang
Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development,
Division of GIScience, University of Gävle
Dr. Bin Jiang is Professor in GeoInformatics and Computational Geography at University of Gävle, Sweden. He is also affiliated to Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) at Stockholm via KTH Research School. He worked in the past with The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and the University College London’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis. He is the primary developer of the software tool Axwoman for urban morphological analysis (http://fromto.hig.se/~bjg/axwoman/). He invented the new classification scheme head/tail breaks for big data analytics (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head/tail_Breaks). He is the founding chair of the International Cartographic Association Commission on Geospatial Analysis and Modeling. He used to be Associate Editor of international journal Computer, Environment and Urban Systems (2009-2014), and is currently Academic Editor of open access journal PLOS ONE, and Associate Editor of Cartographica. His research interests center on geospatial analysis and modeling of urban structure and dynamics, e.g., agent-based modeling, scaling hierarchy, and topological analysis applied to street networks, cities, and geospatial big data. Inspired by Christopher Alexander’s work, he developed a mathematical model of beauty, which helps address not only why a design is beautiful, but also how much beauty the design has. One can refer to his ResearchGate and Google Scholar pages for more details on what he specializes in.
Topology refers to topological relationship among spatially or geometrically coherent entities such as rivers, mountains, buildings, streets, and cities, so it differs fundamentally from the same notion used in geographic information systems (GIS). In the GIS literature, topology refers to relationship between geometric elements such as points, lines, polygons, and pixels, and it is therefore a basic concept for structuring and reasoning geospatial information, e.g., TIGER data structure and Max Egenhofer or Eliseo Clementini’s topological models. However, these geometric elements are mechanistically defined and imposed, so that they possess little semantic meanings in our perception and cognition. The topology I intend to discuss in this presentation enables us to see the underlying scaling or fractal or living structure of far more small things than large ones, or far more less-connected than well-connected, or far more meaningless things than meaningful ones (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305638074_A_Topological_Representation_for_Taking_Cities_as_a_Coherent_Whole). This living structure, also called wholeness or life or beauty, discovered by Christopher Alexander through his life’s work The Nature of Order, is defined mathematically as a recursive structure, exists inherently in space and matter physically, and reflects in our minds and cognition psychologically. It is through the notion of wholeness or wholeness of spatial configurations – “not something about the way they are seen, but something about the way they are” – that topology matters in spatial cognition. In other words, what is reflected in the minds arises out of the structure that inheres in the physical world. Spatial cognition is, first and foremost, a mode of perceiving the deep structure or the wholeness of space. This presentation, surrounding the concepts of topology, scaling, and beauty, concentrates on why topology matters in spatial analysis and cognition, linking scaling and beauty. The beauty refers to structural beauty or wholeness at deep level rather than surface beauty that is often considered to be in the eye of the beholder.
More details at http://bit.ly/BinJiang-COSIT2017
WhenThursday, September 7