ILPnet2 is a Network of Excellence consisting of over 20 universities and research institutes. In addition the network actively pursues industrial relations through its End-user-club, consisting of companies and other non-academic institutions interested in practical applications of ILP.
The mission of ILPnet2 is defined by the following long-term objectives:
The network will continue the important role of ILPNET in co-ordinating the research at the network nodes. In addition to existing forms of co-operation support and information sharing for network nodes, a common electronic workspace will be established to facilitate research co-ordination. Workshops and other scientific events to be organised or supported by the network will also contribute to an awareness of the state-of-the-art and stimulate a discussion on the research and application goals of the field of ILP.
One of the most important activities of the network will be the dissemination of a variety of ILP-related information to potential users of ILP research results, such as members of the End-user-club and other interested parties. Electronic dissemination through the WWW will have a primary role and will include the electronic publication of an ILP newsletter, a bibliographic database, and archives of datasets and software systems. While these forms of dissemination were all initiated by ILPNET, the focus will be on information that is reliable, up to date, and interactively accessible. New initiatives will include a series of technical reports and thesis abstracts, an educational archive, and availability of ILP systems for different platforms.
ILPnet2's industrial impact will be mostly achieved through its End-user-club. Typically, members of the End-user-club will not have extensive experience in ILP, but will have practical problems and will be highly interested in solving them. The End-user-club will encourage contacts between its members and the network nodes, in order to achieve tighter co-operation and more application-oriented RTD projects.
More specifically, ILPnet2 will support the organisation of training activities for members of the End-user-club. Part of the ILPnet2 budget will be reserved for travel and subsistence costs of members of the End-user-club attending specialised training events or more general ILP events, such as workshops and summerschools. Members of the End-user-club will also benefit from having access to the expertise of the network nodes, including information on ILP research results relevant to their application area and access to prototype ILP systems developed by the nodes.
The following more specific goals are derived from the network mission and objectives:
Co-ordination of research at the network nodes will be partly achieved by keeping nodes aware of research at the other network nodes on a timely basis, so as to avoid the duplication of research efforts (especially at new nodes) in pursuing research directions that are being or have already been pursued elsewhere in the network. The common electronic workspace will complement existing forms of co-operation support and information sharing. The workshops and other scientific events to be organised/supported by the network will also contribute to research co-ordination, as will the personal contacts and exchange visits promoted by the network.
Nodes of the network will have access to knowledge on ILP research results developed by other members of the network through the common electronic workspace, as well as the forms of information dissemination available to a wider audience. The latter will include the ILPnet2 WWW site with bibliographic information, technical reports, theses abstracts, descriptions of ILP applications and ILP systems, datasets and ILP systems, and the ILP newsletter. Knowledge access will be also facilitated through the scientific and educational events to be organised by network nodes.
Technology transfer will be promoted by the network through its End-user-club, consisting of industrial and other potential users of the results of ILP research. The initial members of this club and their business fields are:
The End-user-club will encourage contacts between its members and the network nodes, in order to achieve tighter co-operation and more application-oriented RTD projects. Visits between club members and nodes will be supported, so that co-operation between the two sides on practical problems is facilitated. Members of the End-user-club will benefit from the access to the expertise of the network nodes, including information on ILP research results relevant to their application area and access to prototype ILP systems developed by the nodes.
ILPnet2 will support the organisation of events targeted specifically at members of the End-user-club. These will include short seminars on ILP and its applications prepared for them, as well as meetings where they will present their problems to ILP experts. As a further step, data analysis workshops can be organised where End-user-club members bring their data which is analysed on the spot by ILP techniques. Part of the ILPnet2 budget will be reserved for travel and subsistence costs of members of the End-user-club attending such events.
End-user-club members will also have the opportunity to pose challenging problems to the ILP community, where their datasets will be available through the WWW to ILP contestants. Comparative studies will be produced at the close of such challenges, providing useful feedback on the successes and shortcomings of ILP in the given application domain.
Many CEE nodes still do not share information through the World Wide Web (WWW), currently the most popular electronic medium for information sharing and dissemination. ILPnet2 will support the establishment of improved software infrastructure for electronic information sharing among network members and dissemination to the outside world. The ILP electronic information server, established in ILPNET, which provides a variety of information to node members and, in most cases, the outside world, will be maintained and extended. On the software side, a common workspace based on Computer Supported Co-operative Work (CSCW) will be established, which builds upon the WWW. The establishment of personal contacts, communication and co-operation will also be supported.
Part of the ILPnet2 budget is reserved for short travels, which can be either to ILP-related events (including conferences, workshops, and summerschools; organised under auspices of ILPnet2 or others), or to other ILPnet2 nodes in order to facilitate information exchange and collaboration. ILPnet2 human resources planning include: support for the annual international ILP workshop; organising summer schools on ILP and its applications; and organising seminars on ILP and its applications, targeted on industry and other non-academic potential users.
Electronic dissemination of information will encompass a variety of activities:
Some of these activities have started within ILPNET. New activities include the series of ILP Technical reports and the archive of ILP publications in electronic form. By making ILP research results widely available, these activities should facilitate the co-ordination of research efforts and the transfer of ILP research results to practice.
The management board and in particular the network coordinators will monitor the progress in fulfilling the workplan and where possible take appropriate measures towards fulfilling the workplan. Information on the network activities will be available through the ILPnet2 WWW site and will facilitate the above process.
Network management will take place at three levels:
network co-ordination, network management board, and network assembly.
The overall network manager at BRIS will be Dr. Peter Flach.
He will be the co-ordinating agent for administrative matters
and the primary contact with the outside world. The scientific
manager at IJS will be Dr. Saso Dzeroski, who will be the
co-ordinating agent for scientific matters. Each ILPnet2 node
will assign a node manager who will be the key contact point for
all matters relating to that node.
The network management board will consist of the network manager, the scientific manager, and node managers of the nodes that have undertaken to steer and co-ordinate some of the network's activities (initially, these include BRIS, IJS, GMD, UPT, KUL, JAU, and SO, as detailed below). The management board may vote using electronic mail.
The network assembly will consist of the network manager, the scientific manager, and the node managers. To keep costs to a minimum, the network assembly will interact as much as possible through electronic mail. A formal meeting is held once a year.
Decisions affecting more than one node, such as contractual matters, financial matters, major technical decisions, and admission of new nodes, will be made by the network management board or the network assembly where appropriate. Decisions will be taken by majority vote: in case of deadlock, the overall network manager will make the final decision.
Each of the nodes in the network is expected to contribute towards accomplishing the overall goals of the network. This will be done through taking part in the basic network activities, which include making information on the ILP research at the particular node available to all network nodes (and wider where appropriate), organising workshops, summerschools, seminars, co-operation with other network nodes, and nurturing contacts with industry and interested end users.
To ensure the efficient achievement of the network objectives, some nodes will have additional steering and co-ordination responsibilities for particular types of activities, as follows. Overall network co-ordination will be the responsibility of BRIS, co-ordination of scientific activities will be the responsibility of IJS, infrastructure support of BRIS, IJS, and GMD, electronic dissemination of information of BRIS, IJS, SO, and JAU, educational activities of IJS, KUL, and GMD, and industrial contacts of IJS and UPT.
More specifically, BRIS and IJS will together co-ordinate the ILPnet2 WWW site, publication of the ILPnet2 Newsletter, and publication of ILP Technical reports and ILP-related theses abstracts. GMD will provide support for establishing a common electronic workspace and coordinate activities towards establishing an ILP toolbox for educational purposes. KUL will steer and undertake educational activities. UPT will steer the activities related to the End-user-club and industrial contacts. SO will collect bibliographic items from the network nodes and incorporate these items into the bibliography server maintained by BRIS. JAU will port/make available different ILP systems for a variety of platforms including personal computers and workstations. All nodes are expected to provide information on their ILP research, which will be made available to other network nodes and disseminated as specified above.
Member nodes of the network will have the right to use the network's financial resources to support their activities within the network as specified in the budget section below. They will also have the right to access the common electronic workspace and the network's information resources created for information dissemination purposes, such as the database of publications and the archives of applications and software systems descriptions.
Member nodes have an obligation to contribute towards achieving the objectives of the network, primarily through providing information on their ILP research (bibliography, application descriptions, software systems descriptions) and taking part in the other network activities, such as organising workshops, summerschools, seminars, co-operation with other network nodes, and nurturing contacts with industry and interested end users. Some of the nodes have undertaken additional steering responsibilities for particular areas of network activities, as specified above. Each member node is obliged to provide the co-ordinator with cost claims for the use of the network's financial resources.
As interest in ILP has been rising steadily in the last few years, we expect considerable interest in joining the network. The management board will decide on the admission of new nodes. Prospective nodes will have to submit a description of their previous, current and planned research/development, including a discussion of its relation/relevance to ILP. Part of the ILPnet2 budget is reserved for new nodes and will be used to support the same types of activities as for the founding nodes.
A total budget of 200 KECU is planned, of which 70 KECU are to be used in the first year. A detailed breakdown of the costs is given below.
Travel costs. Three travels per node can be funded to attend ILP workshops, other ILP-related events, or short visits to other nodes. At costs of 1 KECU/trip this amounts to 22 KECU per year, or 66 KECU for the whole period.
Activities. To ensure that the network functions efficiently, several nodes have responsibilities to co-ordinate, steer, and undertake activities in selected areas. Some funds will be used to support these efforts. GMD will receive 3 KECU/year for supporting the CSCW technology and coordinating activities related to the ILP toolbox for educational purposes. KUL will receive 2 KECU/year for steering and undertaking educational activities. UPT will receive 2 KECU/year for co-ordinating efforts in promoting industrial relations. SO will receive 1 KECU/year for maintaining a database of bibliographical entries, and JAU will receive 1 KECU/year for making ILP systems available on different computer platforms. The costs of these activities will be 9 KECU/year, a total of 27 KECU.
New nodes. For new nodes, 12 KECU will be reserved. These should cover the costs for twelve travels of new nodes representatives (1 KECU/trip).
End-user-club. For members of the End-user club, 18 KECU will be reserved and will cover the cost of representatives attending educational activities. A further 6 KECU will be reserved for organising events targeted at End-user-club members. One seminar, one problem presentation and one data analysis workshop will be organised, two speakers at each (2 KECU/year).
ILP workshops and summerschools. For organising ILP workshops, 6 KECU will be reserved, i.e., 2 KECU/workshop. Two summer schools will be organised, at 3 KECU/summerschool (total of 6 KECU).
Management costs. Network management and scientific co-ordination each require 9 KECU/year (BRIS: 10% of a senior researcher at appr. 50 KECU/year, and 15% of an administrator at appr. 26 KECU/year; IJS: 15% of a senior researcher at appr. 36 KECU/year, and 15% of a technician at appr. 22 KECU/year). These costs include activities such as maintenance of WWW sites. Total management costs amount to 54 KECU for three years.
Equipment. A workstation will be needed at IJS to maintain the ILPnet2 WWW site (5 KECU, to be spent in the first year).
Annual reports will be produced after the first and second year and a final report after the third year. The scientific co-ordinator will be responsible for preparing the parts of the reports describing progress in achieving the objectives of the network. The nodes, especially those with steering responsibilities, will support the report preparation by providing input on activities relevant to the network. The co-ordinator will be responsible for preparing the parts of the report concerning resources employed, admission of new nodes, and other administrative matters. All nodes will provide input on resource usage through appropriate cost claims.
Information on the network activities will be made available through the ILPnet2 WWW site and will therefore be constantly available to Commission services for review purposes. Information regarding resources employed will be provided to the Commission through the aforementioned reports, unless additional review requests from Commission services are received by the network co-ordinator.