Category Archives: Artificial Intelligence

CIUUK15: Less than 2 Weeks to go!

A Message from Daniel Lewis – Chief Co-organiser of the Computational Intelligence Unconference:

Computational Intelligence Unconference UK 2015
#CIUUK15
15th August 2015 : 10am – 6pm : Strand Campus, Kings College London

There are less than two weeks to go until the event, and everything is full steam ahead!

We’ve got so many high quality speakers we almost ran out of space on the schedule for them. Rohit Talwar and Prof. Murray Shanahan will be opening the unconference with a discussion about the future of artificial intelligence from a business and societal point of view. We’ve got a section on human-computer interaction with Blaise Thomson and James Ravenscroft. We’ve got a section on Smart Cities and the Internet of Things with David Beeton and Rajesh Bhardwaj. We’ve got a section discussing the practicalities of computational intelligence with Marcelo Funes-Gallanzi, Dr Leandro L. Minku and Peter Morgan. We’ve also got a health and medicine section with Pam Yoder, Hari Ponniah and Dr Yonghong Peng. Plus we’re also putting together a panel of politics/government experts from across the political spectrum to discuss the impact of AI and technology on policy.

It really will be an immensely interesting day, and we are very excited. We hope you are too. Have a look at the schedule on the website.

So far we have three sponsors confirmed: The Goodwill Company as Platinum Sponsors, AVNTK as Bronze Sponsors and ContactSingapore as tea&coffee break sponsors. We have also had a good number of you provide a little bit of crowdfunding sponsorship, which really does help! Plus we’ve had a couple of other offers recently which are yet to confirm. However, we are still short, and so if you personally or if your organisation can help then please do let us know. We are a non-profit organisation, and we don’t charge for admission, and so we are reliant on the generosity of sponsors. The email address is at the bottom of this email if you wish to get in touch about this.

 

You may also want to consider getting yourself a T-Shirt, and profits go towards the venue and catering costs. Get your T-Shirts here: https://www.tboom.co.uk/ciuuk15

CIUUK15 T-Shirt

There is still much to do. We will be updating the website over the next few days with the most recent information, and we will be responding to many emails which came through over the past few days about the event. (Apologies if you’re one of the people waiting for a response!). We will also try to put a list of nearby hotels on the website, just in case you’re staying in the area.

What can you do? Well, make sure you can still come. It’ll be on the 15th August 2015, and we will start at 10am – so try to arrive 15-20 minutes earlier. But no problems if you can only be there part of the date. If you booked multiple tickets, then please also make sure that you can still bring those people, and I will be asking for names of your plus-ones shortly before the event. Come to the event with ideas, come to share, and come with a problem-solving hat on.

The website is: http://ciunconference.org/uk/2015/  & the hash-tag is: #CIUUK15

Any questions then please do send them in my direction, I’d be happy to respond.

See you there!

Daniel Lewis

daniel@ciunconference.org

Bilderberg Meeting 2015 – AI and Cyber-Security

From the 11th June until the 14th June, the Bilderberg Meeting 2015 takes place in Austria. This annual private meeting brings together people from government, from business, from academia and from think-tanks to talk about topical issues around the world. I’ve not had an invite this year, but I’d certainly be willing to attend some time if an invite did come through.

This years Bilderberg Meeting is particularly interesting to me as two of the topics are quite close to my heart. That is:

  • Artificial Intelligence, and,
  • Cyber-security

Many of my readers will know that my current PhD research, at the University of Bristol Intelligent Systems Laboratory, involves the application of data-mining and knowledge-engineering (both forms of Artificial Intelligence) to security, co-funded by British Telecom (BT) and the EPSRC.
Plus, in August 2015 I’ll be starting a Senior Research Assistant position at the University of South Wales, in their Information Security Lab, to begin research/consultancy/teaching in intelligent cyber-security of knowledge-bases.
Not forgetting my pre-PhD industry background in knowledge bases (inc. Semantic Web, Linked Data and Open Data), and also my founding of and continuing involvement in the Computational Intelligence Unconferences.

However, I wanted to highlight the who’s-who in AI and Cyber-Sec at this years Bilderberg Meeting:

  • Zoë Baird, CEO and President of Markle. A consultant in the realms of cyber-security and healthcare. In my opinion she would a great candidate for the Computational Intelligence Unconference.
  • Franco Bernebè. He has a lot of interest in ICT, Telecoms and also renewable energy. No doubt that Franco will have an interest in hearing the latest details of Artificial Intelligence and Cyber-security, and would probably be able to give some valuable insight to the unfortunately-closed-door Bilderberg Meeting.
  • Patrick Calvar, French Internal Security, seems to have an interest in surveillance. He’ll have his own experience in surveillance, both online and offline.
  • Ann Dowling. Although she is not involved in artificial intelligence or cybersecurity (she is in mechanical engineering), she is the current head of the Royal Academy of Engineering here in the United Kingdom – which has an interest in both AI and cyber-sec.
  • Regina Dugan, Vice President for Engineering, Advanced Technology and Projects at Google. Not much to say about this, other than she work with Ray Kurzweil at Google. Google are well-known for being researchers and developers of advanced robotics, advanced data mining techniques and all kinds of other things, including our next entry who is also at the Bilderberg meeting this year…
  • Demis Hassabis, a strong researcher in all things relating to strong AI, connectionist AI (including “deep mining”) and neuro-science. He started DeepMind which was acquired by Google last year. He’ll certainly be able to provide an academic perspective to the meeting.
  • Wolfgang Hesoun, CEO of Seimens Austria. Seimens has a keen interest in Cyber-security, and also (although slightly less so) artificial intelligence.
  • Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and entrepreneur in the IT industry. LinkedIn has an interest in data mining and data storage, and I am sure that Reid will be able to provide interesting insight from a business-social-media perspective on both AI and cyber-sec. He actually started his career in user-experience architecture, so I imagine that he has the technology knowledge to back-up his business head. Back in the day he was also involved with PayPal, and more recently is a “Board Observer” of a bitcoin technology company, which will obviously have cyber-security interests.
  • Wolfgang Ischinger is the chair of the Munich Security Conference, and a German Diplomat involved in Security of all forms. There is a Cyber-security activities section of the Munich Security Conference, assisting with a Cyber Security Summits.
  • Alex Karp, CEO of Palantir. Palantir are heavily involved in both artificial intelligence and cyber-security, they do a lot of contract work with both the private and public sectors. Interestingly Alex’s PhD was in “neoclassical social theory”
  • Konrad Kogler, Director General of Public Security in Austria. Coming from a policing background Konrad probably won’t be too “hot” on cyber technologies, but he’ll have a general interest in it, and it would be interesting to hear how the police fit in with certain aspects.
  • André Kudelski, Chair/CEO of the Kudelski group which is involved in digital TV, in physical-access systems and in cyber-security. André has a background in R&D and Engineering, so I suspect he’ll know his technology.
  • General Jim Mattis, Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University. Has a strong interest in all things security, and the experience to boot. Goodness knows if he has any experience of cyber-defence, but I’m sure he’ll have an opinion on it. Also note that he is at Stanford University, which is very well known for its computer science (including artificial intelligence) – does he have any insight into other projects at Stanford?
  • Pierre Maudet, “Vice-President of the State Council, Department of Security, Police and the Economy of Geneva”, he is a social liberal (but an economic conservative) and also a member of a Ecology/Green think-tank. He is one of the council members in charge of security for Switzerland, which is well known as being one of the most secure countries on the planet. It would be interesting to hear what he has to say.
  • Jim Messina of The Messina Group. The Messina Group pride themselves at being “data-driven strategists”. They worked on the Barack Obama campaigns, and they’ve recently crossed the political spectrum and the ocean to work with the Conservative Party here in the United Kingdom. They do a lot of data analysis, and so I am sure that Jim will be able to provide some insight into how data can be shaped-by, and shape, society.
  • Peter Thiel,  co-founded PayPal with Max Levchin and the very famous Elon Musk. Co-founded Palantir (of which Alex Karp will also be in attendance at the Bilderberg meeting). He funds various businesses, social ventures, philanthropic adventures and interesting research. He has funded much work on Artificial Intelligence via the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI). Economically he is libertarian, but he seems to be somewhat socially liberal, and in general seems to be quite a nice person from what I can tell, and what I have heard from my friends and contacts who have met him. He is also involved in things such as longevity research, technological singularity and human sustainability.

These are just some of the many Participants to the Bilderberg Meeting of 2015. It is a shame that the result of the meeting is not public, as it would be very very interesting to see what was discussed and what opinions these humans take. Perhaps someday I’ll be invited and will find out for myself, but even if that happened I would probably be sworn to secrecy. I guess at the moment we can only speculate, and see what happens over the next few months and years.

I would, however, like to invite those listed above, or those involved in various companies I have listed, or anybody else interested to come along to the Computational Intelligence Unconference UK 2015 (CIUUK15). We are looking for attendees, for speakers and for sponsors. Any way that you can help will be appreciated, just contact me. CIUUK15 will happen at Kings College London on the 15th August 2015. Perhaps we can have our own Bilderberg-style meeting at the unconference, just a bit more open. We certainly have people attending who are at the cutting-edge of their fields, along with people in academia, in business and in the public sector.

Daniel Lewis
* My Computational Intelligence Unconference Email Address: daniel <<at>> ciunconference <<dot>> org

CIUUK15 Update

I’ve just sent out a message (similar to what is below) to our Computational Intelligence Unconference UK 2015 attendees…

At the time of writing we have 109 days to go (event is on 15th August 2015), we have 100 people already registered (our capacity is over 200) – 7 of which have given us some crowdfunding,  we have 5 speakers already confirmed (with much more time and space for additional talks/workshops). A very big thank you to those who have registered, and if you haven’t registered yet, then go do it now (website: http://ciunconference.org/uk/2015 )

But we need help! Here is how you might be able to help:

(1) Social Networking: We need help to get the word out about the event. If you have a twitter, facebook, linkedin or other social network account then it would be great if you could advertise the event. You can use our official Short-URL bit.ly/ciuuk15 and our official tag #CIUUK15

(2) Sponsorship: We are in urgent need of sponsorship. We’ve got to raise funds to cover the cost of the venue and the food & drink. We are doing our best to keep costs down and get the best deals. Ideally we need a few corporate sponsors, and preferably quite soon, however smaller organisations and personal donations will be very welcome (including crowdfunding offers). If you work for an organisation who could offer some sponsorship in return for marketing/advertising and bespoke audience-engagement, or if you could personally offer to cover the costs of attendance (which is roughly £60 a head), then please let me know as soon as possible. Even if you have a contact in a related company which might be interested in helping us out, then let them know and let me know. I will reiterate, we are non-profit, and are entirely organised by volunteers, and all incomings will go straight into venue/catering costs. The event is heavily dependent on the generosity of our sponsors and volunteers.

(3) Meet-ups/Hackathons: We have a seminar room, and we’re keen on having guest meet-ups and guest hackathons use the space for an hour or two each. So, if you lead or are a part of a (related) meet-up or hackathon, then please get in touch.

(4) Tutorials/Workshops: The same seminar room could also be used by a business or organisation for a tutorial/seminar/workshop. However, we may ask for a donation if the business is for-profit. Feel free to email me to find out more.

(5) Talks: We are also in need of more talks. Short talks and Long talks. If it’s a talk by a business then the business might also want to think about helping to sponsor the event. If its a talk from a personal perspective, or a very technical perspective, then the talk can be done freely (libre et gratis).

(6) Volunteering: We will need on the day volunteers. Volunteers will help manage the rooms and the microphones, and will help give out the badges/lanyards at start. We also need people to: bring cameras (still and moving); to help live tweet the event; and to blog before/during/after the event.

Contact me now if you can help. My email address is:
daniel [at] ciunconference [dot] org

More information about the event is on our website:
http://ciunconference.org/uk/2015
Kings College, London - 15th August 2015 – 10:00-18:00

On behalf of the organisation team, thank you for your interest, thank you (in advance) for your help, and to those of you attending, I look forward to seeing you on the 15th August 2015.

Daniel Lewis
* Chief Co-organiser of the Computational Intelligence Unconference UK 2015
* Founder & Chair of the Computational Intelligence Unconference Association (a Non-profit Unincorporated Association)
- Email: daniel [at] ciunconference [dot] org

Thoughts on… What will happen in 2015?

At this time of year, like many people, I tend to reflect on what has happened in the previous year, and what this year will bring. In the past I’ve blogged about my thoughts on what we might see as a community in the year ahead. Stay with me, as my (for want of a better word) “predictions,” tend to be a little different from the usual crystal ball blog posts out there on the web. Primarily because of my interests aren’t just in tech or science.

First of all, I want to say that this year is going to be a big one for me. I’ll be reaching 3 decades of age in the middle of the year. Beki and I will have been married 5 years this coming August. I’m also plan to fully complete my PhD in Artificial Intelligence & Data Mining (or more officially ” Engineering Mathematics (Intelligent Systems)”), and hope to have secured a postdoctoral position by the end of this year (please do let me know if you’re interested in employing me or working with me!). I’ll also progress from Journeyman to Freeman status in the City of London Livery “the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.” We’ll also be running the second Computational Intelligence Unconference (CIUUK15), and I hope to start planning other unconferences in 2016. Finally, I’m also hoping to progress from Deacon to Priest in my very liberal (and Science-friendly!) independent church.

Enough about me though, on to the societal forecast…

Politics in 2015!

In the United Kingdom, over the past couple of years, we’ve rather unfortunately seen a rise in ring-wing politics in the form of the political party known as UKIP. This is largely due to distrust amongst the population of the main three political parties here (the Conservatives (“Tories”), the Liberal Democrats (“LibDems”) and the Labour Party), why is there distrust? Well we had two terms of a Labour office, which saw terrorism spread, wars occur, prices of oil and housing rise, and the destruction of main party socialism (i.e. the Labour Party slowly became less and less socialist). We then, in 2010, had an election result leading to a hung parliament, the Centre-Right Tories joined forces with the Centre-Left Radical LibDems. The result of that has been more things getting privatised, the excessive rise of university tuition fees, oil prices rising gradually (although more recently falling), various things being taxed, and various other things not being taxed, it has also destroyed the publics belief that the LibDems are leftward leaning at all. People in the UK are searching for another option. Many people, unfortunately, like to blame other people, and blame is what UKIP do best (they are a traditionalist and nationalist political party with a neoliberal economic perspective). So the right-wing UKIP has seen a rise in interest. This is bad news. However, we’ve also seen a rise in support for the Green Party (which is centre-left/left-wing), as well as the SNP in Scotland and Plaid Cymru in Wales (which are both centre-left), so perhaps not all is bad.

What does this have to do with 2015? Well it is General Election year here in the UK, where the population will go to the polls in May and vote for a new parliament. So here is my prediction…

Distrust in the three main political parties will continue to rise. This means that more people will begin to move away from what the three main political parties see as the “centre of politics”, to political ideologies at the extremities. As 2014 saw a significant rise in nationalist neoliberalist agenda of UKIP.  This year, 2015, there will be more hardcore socialists and communists coming to light. However, in order to combat the right wing, they will have to empathise. This empathy will come in the form of anti-authoritarianism and anti-statism, yes, we’ll start to see a rise in ideologies of anarcho-socialism, libertarian socialism, Trotskyism and anything that combines decentralisation with strong communal welfare. We just have to look at Spain and Green to see their rise in radical socialism (in the form of Podemos and Syriza respectively).

This might be slow, and it may not make a significant impact on the general election, but I suspect that by the end of the year it will be making more impact.

Politics and Technology

I would like to couple this with technology though, as something big is happening behind the scenes. This big thing originates from technology is now reaching every part of our lives, and actually making us live healthier and more sociable lives. It can be used as a force for good, and I think that gone are the times when people think tech is bad simply based on a perception of the masses watching television for endless amounts of hours. You just have to look at the CES 2015 exhibition happening at the moment, to see some wonderful things (including for sustainability of the natural environment! – e.g. the electric scooter “Gogoro” will attempt to make low pollution travel in urban areas). With this is a sense that technology really can help the welfare of humanity, this is good (because I believe it can!).

Coupled with this individualism (in otherwords libertarian) perspective living in a communal welfare system (in otherwords socialist), that I think is going to be on the rise, we will see technology fitting in very nicely indeed.

A few of organisations to look out for are:

There is one word to look out for, and this is a very positive word… techno-progressivism.

 

Technologies and Sciences

  • This year I think we will see very significant progress in terms of preventative medicine for cancer. I think this will at first involve analysing our bodies cheaply and easily before we have cancer. So that we can try to stop it in its tracks before we it even develops its early stages. I think this is likely to involve DNA and/or RNA analysis on a large scale.
  • Public and private organisations will shift from just green living, and especially from “greenwashing”, perspectives into a bright green evironmentalist perspective. With particular advances in bright green architecture, but obviously we’ve already seen advances in “smart lighting” and “smart heating,” and that will continue to see uptake by organisations as well as individuals.
  • The rise of privately-funded space project. Not just SpaceX, and other private organisations, but also home-builds. Think home-made quadcopter drones that can easily fly very high, maybe into space ;-)
  • At least one significant and highly publicised study on the positive results of meditation will be released. It would be great if this was related to the relation between meditation and the length of telomeres, which apparently there have been a few studies on already.
  • “Smart clothing” – I think we’ll start to see wearable technology on clothes in retail shops that you see on the high-street. Prices will be quite high at first, and totally unrepresentative to the cost it would be to make it at home, but it’ll begin to reach the masses.
  • There might be a co-operation between bitcoins (or another cryptocurrency) and credit unions. Which would be very neat!
  • I don’t think that computers will see superintelligence this year, but artificial intelligence tools and techniques will continue to be updated and improved… possibly with a bit more effort, and possibly making them a lot more polished.

 

These are just some thoughts. They are based on some insight, but it is all just for fun really, and I don’t in any way guarantee these things happening. Feel free to comment, or to get in touch directly.

Thank you for reading.

Daniel

Thoughts on… X-mu Fuzzy Applications: Wind Energy

So as part of a GW4 Alliance Collaboration between me (Daniel Lewis, at the University of Bristol) and Tibin Joseph (at Cardiff University), we have put our collective minds together and used the X-mu approach for current controllers in Wind Energy Farms. It is based on existing work which handles errors in auto-tuning current controllers for sending electricity from wind farms over long distances.

The result, so far, is a short report with some initial findings. The report is informal, and is accessible as a PDF via:

“Offshore Wind Energy Transmission with Multi Terminal High Voltage DC grids (MT-HVDC) and Fuzziness”

Web address: http://vanirsystems.com/static/GW4_Collab_FuzzyCurrents.pdf

The hope is that we can transform this initial report into a publishable piece, however your comments will be warmly received if you have any.

I’ll leave any further description for the time being, but please do continue to read this blog to keep updated – as I’ll be describing the X-mu method in more detail, and will have some tutorials uploaded shortly. I am sure that you can follow Tibin’s progress on the MEDOW project also.

Many thanks to Tibin, and also the GW4 Alliance.

Thoughts on… The X-mu Library (An Introduction)

OK, so one of the many outputs of my PhD Research and Development is a software library in the python programming language for what we call the “X-mu Approach” to Fuzzy Set Theory. I’ve released this library as free and open source software via github ( danieljohnlewis/xmu-python ), and I’ve started to build an online calculator… but I’m not quite ready to make that public quite yet (although if you’re up for testing it, then please do get in touch!)

Something is fuzzy when it has a graded membership… what I mean by this is that subjectively something can be categorised to a certain degree. So it might be “lightly raining” or “very heavily raining”, they are fuzzy terms, whereas “its either raining or its not” is what we call a binary term.

So, in traditional fuzzy. A membership function takes in a value (e.g. millimetres of rain per hour) and returns a value between 0 and 1, representing how much it is that term/category (e.g. “very heavy rain”). This value between 0 and 1 is called the membership value, or mu (well, the greek letter μ).

The X-mu (or X-μ) approach, does the opposite (or rather the “inverse”). Which gives us some neat things. It highlights what we call the interval nature of a fuzzy membership function, and when we take those intervals as symbolic/algebraic equations and push that through an algorithm we retain the full meaning of a fuzzy membership function all the way through that algorithm. We also see speed gains in comparison to traditional methods, purely because of the symbolic nature.

Anyway, I hope that I have discussed this reasonably – I started off quite simple, and got a little more technical at the end… but my purpose was to highlight that my X-mu library is available for perusal, and the online calculator for the X-mu approach can be tested (for people that contact me anyway).

This will be the first post of, probably, many about this library. I hope to show off the calculator a bit more in future posts. I also hope to give you a tutorial about downloading and using the library for yourselves. Then I hope to discuss the uses of the library – in things like data mining and robotics, etc.

In the meantime, if you have any questions then please do comment, or get in touch directly… its daniel [at] vanirsystems, and has a dot com at the end of it.

 

Thoughts on… my postdoctoral position (late 2015 / early 2016)

I’ve been thinking about what happens after my PhD, I am due to complete it around October/November 2015. I would love to know for sure that I’ll be at X University doing Y research and Z teaching. As I am a strong believer in transparency and openness, I’d like to open up my careers search. Below you’ll find some details about me and what I am looking for, and if you can help me in any way then I would love to hear from you. Please contact:
danieljohnlewis [at] gmail [dot] com


 

Who (name): Daniel John Lewis
Who (current detail): Daniel is a PhD student in Engineering Mathematics (Intelligent Systems) at the University of Bristol, where he is researching a form of fuzzy data mining over hierarchical data sets. Due to complete PhD in October/November 2015. He has also received teaching experience while at the University of Bristol, and has assisted with “widening participation” programmes.
Who (background detail): Before beginning his PhD he worked for a non-profit on a Linked Open Data EU-funded project (LOD2). Before that he has had numerous positions in Semantic Web / Linked Data Consultancy and Web / Software development.
Who (other detail): He is also an events organiser (voluntary, e.g. Computational Intelligence Unconference), and has written technical documents for numerous online (e.g. IBM developerWorks) and print outlets (e.g. .net Magazine).
Who (languages spoken): English (mother-tongue), Italian (improving), Spanish (very basic)
Who (currently where): Bristol, England, United Kingdom.
Who (previously where): Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom, and before that, Kent, England, United Kingdom.

Position wanted: Research position or Research+Teaching positions
To start: End of 2015 / Beginning of 2016
Location type wanted: A University or a Research institute. Public or private. I am only currently interested in university / research institute positions, and not for-profit business.
Location wanted: United Kingdom (preferably South England or South Wales), elsewhere in the European Union (preferably Italy or Italian-speaking Switzerland), or in the USA (preferably California), but open to other suggestions
Department wanted: Open to ideas, but could be Computer Science, Mathematics, Philosophy or Psychology
Research wanted: Can come with own ideas, or happy to work on existing ideas. Would be good to focus on Data Mining and/or Artificial Intelligence and/or Artificial General Intelligence. Preferably including the use of fuzzy set theory / fuzzy logic, would also be open to belief function research. Would also be happy to partake in research into Digital Humanities, Robotics and/or Smart Cities. Also happy to use my knowledge of Semantic Web / Linked Data.
Teaching: Would be happy to teach/lecture things relating to computer science, particularly artificial intelligence, logic and/or programming (primarily Python and/or C).

For more details about Daniel please visit his LinkedIn profile ( @danieljohnlewis ), and if you can assist with his search for a postdoctoral university position then get in touch via email. His personal email is:
danieljohnlewis [at] gmail [dot] com

(
Replacing the [at] with @, and the [dot] with .
This is for spam deterrence.
)

MIRI: Machine Intelligence Research Institute

MIRIx Bristol – October 2014

This invite is about MIRIx, a set of local events affiliated to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (based in California) – one of the worlds best known research organisations of “Friendly AI“. I am the volunteer organiser for “MIRIx Bristol”, and I’d like to get our first meeting off the ground. MIRIx will be held at the University of Bristol in South West of the United Kingdom.

We are planning to have our first meeting in October 2014 (date to be confirmed), and if the reader is interested in attending, then please do send an email to me. We will have to vet applications for attendence. This is partly due to security, as the event will be held on university premises, and partly because numbers will be limited.

Although the event is likely to be made up largely of University of Bristol staff and students, we may well have visitors from outside of the university – particularly those who are involved in Friendly AI research  / MIRI / “Less Wrong” Community.

We will be talking about the combination of Probability and Logic, in particular we will discuss the paper:
“Definability of Truth in Probabilistic Logic” by Christiano, Yudkowsky, Herreshoff, Barasz

We will also discuss work on Bayesian Logic Networks by the famous Stuart Russell.

We are hoping to have snacks and drink available (for free, thanks to sponsorship). However, this is to be confirmed.

This blog post will be updated when the date is confirmed and when the food & drink sponsorship is confirmed. Thank you for your patience.

Thoughts on… truth

Didier Dubois and Henri Prade wrote the following quote in a 1988 book entitled Non-standard  Logics for Automated Reasoning:

A degree of truth is not a degree of uncertainty about truth.

This is a very important quote, and gets right to the matter I’d like to highlight. It distinguishes those problems with truth which are answered by two distinct, but related theories.

To answer the question of “a degree of uncertainty about truth”, something known as “Probabilistic Logic” was created. This merged together classical forms of logic, with its propositions and predicates, with Bayesian (or Bayesian-style) probability theory. It puts probability theory in a subjective perspective, and assigns probabilities to rules and statements, without the need for a frequency-based possible-worlds probability calculation.

As Didier and Henri rightly point out however, this really should not be confused with “a degree of truth”. For a degree of truth, fuzzy theory (i.e. fuzzy set theory and fuzzy logic) holds the solution. Fuzzy theory allows an object or statement to have a degree of membership of a set or a particular scenario.

For example “John is tall”. Tall is a vague concept, and “John” has a degree of truth of belonging to the vague “tall” concept. This is how fuzzy set theory, and matches our human way of thinking about tallness.

From a probabilistic logic perspective we would need to ask “what is the probability that John is Tall?”, which is quite a different question.

Of course, this is an area which has, for some reason, been a thorn in the fuzzy theorists side. There are many more probability theorists in this world at the moment, than there are fuzzy theorists. Once you start working with probability theory, it is easy to apply it to everything, even if it doesn’t quite fit. There are also some strong believers of probability theory, often labelled “Bayesians”, which attempt to assert that fuzzy set theory and fuzzy logic is somehow weak because the models can be “made-up” by experts instead of generated through statistics. Many fuzzy theorists have argued back, saying that its flexible model is actually a strength and not a weakness.

My own (current) research draws heavily from fuzzy set theory, but it (i.e. my current research) also has an element of probability theory as it implements data mining algorithms such as association rule mining and sequence pattern mining, which have a statistical element. I’m keen to investigate some more areas of the overlap between fuzzy and probability theories, as I consider them both to have a place (as do most other fuzzy theorists in fact). Of particular interest is the relationship of Fuzzy Formal Concept Lattices and Credal Networks. (Credal Networks are (and I simplify here) Bayesian Networks with added imprecision).

Let me know your thoughts on the above, and whether you have any hints or tips on the above. Feel free to email me or post a message in the comments box on this blog post.

CI Unconference UK 2014 – Organisers Report

The following post was originally posted at:

http://ciunconference.org/uk/2014/report.php

 

Computational Intelligence Unconference UK 2014 on Saturday 26th July 2014 at BT Centre, Newgate Street London

CI Unconference UK 2014: http://ciunconference.org/uk/2014/

Organisers Report

Report Written on Monday 28th July 2014 by Daniel Lewis

 In short, the day went incredibly well, and I would consider it to be a success.

The talks were of very high quality, and when they were given to our attendees the talks became high quality discussions.  This was largely due to a good amount of questions and comments from the group, and also the time-cushions between talks that I had scheduled. Thank you to the speakers!  Talks were split over two rooms, with longer talks and large-group discussions happening in the 170-seater “Auditorium”, and shorter talks and smaller-group discussions happening in the 40-seater “Media Suite”. We also had Damien and Viktoriya give demonstrations during lunchtime of the Micro Python kit. Also, Andrew Vladimirov gave demonstrations through the whole afternoon of his brain monitoring and brain stimulation devices. Both demonstrations received much attention, and a good amount of dialogue.

Some videos, and a good amount of still photos, were taken of the day, and will be available to find via this years event website (along with slides from the talks). The event was supported by the volunteers, and a big thank you from all attendees go to: Beki, Marcelo, Dennis, Steve, Cathy and Abi. The event was also live-documented by attendees via twitter with the hash-tag #CIUUK14. I suspect that blog posts and other forms of report will appear online in due course.

The venue was sponsored by the BT Innovate and Design Team (based at Adastral Park, Martlesham Heath (near Ipswich), Suffolk), and was hosted at the BT Centre at 81 Newgate Street, London. On behalf of all the attendees I thank BT for helping us get the unconference running, from those that sponsored the event, to the production team, the AV team and the reception & security teams. A special mention to Rebecca, Monika, Nick and Nick, who helped us a huge amount on the day itself.

The food and drink was sponsored by:

  • Gold Sponsors – Storybricks,
  • Silver Sponsors – RecSys, EF and Oxford University Press,
  • Bronze Sponsors – futuretext and The Human Memome Project

and was provided by the BT Centre Catering team. A big thank you to all of our sponsors on behalf of all of the attendees.

However, there are a few lessons learned. 

Attendance rate. We had approximately 180 people attend, with most attending the entire day (10am – 6pm). Although this is a very healthy number and turned-out to be a good number, it is approximately a 45% no-show rate from our original 325 bookings. Such a high no-show rate is usual when free tickets are involved. However, we will be looking to investigate how we might get a lower no-show rate next year. This might involve either a two-tier ticketing system (for waged a very-low ticket price and unwaged/students at no ticket price), or a donations-based ticket approach where an attendee decides how much they pay based on how much they can afford and how much they think it will be worth. Of course revenue from these methods would go straight into the event itself, and the event would retain its completely non-profit status.

Scheduling. One thing that seemed to be quite essential was that many attendees seemed to expect a printed copy of the schedule. Although this is quite understandable, it is a little worrying as the nature of unconference is quite free-flowing, and we had moved some of the talks to up to 15 minutes earlier during the day, and actually scheduled in a tea & coffee break which did not exist prior to the day. We will ensure that in the future we have printed copies of the schedule, however, we’ll have to ensure somehow that attendees are aware of changes as they happen.

Temperature. We are aware that the temperature of the Media Suite got quite high, I personally spoke to the events production manager at the BT Centre about this, and the cooling system was at full power. Unfortunately it got too warm simply because the room being at (or possibly above) maximum capacity at times, also with people using laptops and mobile devices, and the temperature from outside (it was a very hot summers day outside!).

Video. Many people, both attendees and some who could not attend, wished to have videos of all talks (and some wanted video of the demonstrations). Unfortunately we had not arranged this fully, this was simply a matter of human error. That said, we managed to arrange for two people to come in last minute to video the talks. One turned up (Jamie (thank you!)), and one did not. We could have organised for the BT Centre to bring somebody in to record the auditorium talks with their equipment, however, this would have cost quite a large amount of money for which we did not have the sponsorship.

Lunch. We had ordered sandwiches for 200 people, and we had approximately 160 attendees wanting lunch. The sandwiches all disappeared within 15 minutes. We also had several bowls of fruit, which largely disappeared quite quickly. Nobody mentioned to me that there was not enough lunch, although I suspect that it was quite simple and some attendees may have still been quite hungry. The cost of the lunch, the tea and coffee in the morning and afternoon, and the labour equated to 1212 GBP (which is inclusive of VAT). This was a “haggled-down” price in order to achieve 100% funding. If we are to have a better lunch, we will need to receive more sponsorship, or investigate other forms of revenue. We are, of course, thankful for the food and drink we did receive, and a big thanks go (again) to the sponsors listed earlier in this report.

We have started to think about next year. 

We would like to organise another CI Unconference in Summer 2015, in London (UK). However, I’d like to put together an organisation team, as collectively we can do more than just a single (or couple of) individual(s) organising everything. If you, dear reader, would like to help out, then please let me know. We will also need sponsors, speakers, and on-the-day volunteers. We also need to think about venues. If you can help with any of this, please do email me with CI Unconference UK 2015 in the subject. I will be part of such an organisation team, however, it will become increasingly more important as I am due to finish my PhD in late 2015!

I also have some initial ideas of running CI Unconferences in the USA and elsewhere in Europe. A few of the attendees of the UK 2014 unconference have given me a few suggestions, but I’d like to get some interest from those in USA and Europe, to see if it would be worth doing. If you are interested then please do let me know by sending me an email with CI Unconference USA/Europe in the subject.

Finally, I am keen to find out if there are success stories from the CI Unconference UK 2014. The best way to do this is for attendees (particularly those who hadn’t met before the event) to stay in contact with each other. I would be keen to find out if new projects have been started because of the event. Or, if somebody got a job or a new contract because of the event. Or, perhaps you learnt something which will change the way that you work. Or anything else, personal, academic or professional! Send me an email, or maybe tweet it with the hash-tag #CIUUK14.

To conclude, this years event was incredibly successful, and I look forward to working with you all on making the next one bigger and better.

Daniel Lewis