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Call for Papers

ECAI'98 Workshop on

Abduction and Induction in AI

Brighton, August 25, 1998

New submission deadline: April 17, 1998


Abduction and induction have been recognized as important forms of reasoning with incomplete information that are appropriate for many problems in Artificial Intelligence. Abduction is generally understood as reasoning from effects to causes or explanations, and induction as inferring general rules from specific data. In Artificial Intelligence, a typical application of abduction is diagnosis, and a typical application of induction is learning from examples.

In spite of their importance in AI, there is a considerable lack of agreement regarding the logical inference operations underlying abduction and induction. On one hand, both abduction and induction are often perceived as embodying a form of "reversed" deduction: together with the background knowledge, the hypothesis should entail a given observation or set of observations. However, it is often argued that in many cases abductive or inductive hypotheses do not entail the observations. Furthermore, it is an open issue whether the number of observations (one or few in the case of abduction, many in the case of induction) constitutes a fundamental difference between the two forms of reasoning, and how this should be formalised.

Workshop focus

This workshop is the third of its kind, the first one having been organised at ECAI'96 in Budapest, and the second one at IJCAI'97 in Nagoya. The first workshop was successful in bringing people from different disciplines together, and in identifying some of the main general issues. The second workshop approached the issue of integrating abduction and induction from a more practical AI perspective. The main conclusion to be drawn from these two workshops is that whether one perceives abduction and induction as two of a kind or as fundamentally different reasoning forms depends strongly on the domain of application and the particular AI approach employed. Hence, an appropriate question to ask is not "What is the relation between abduction and induction", but rather "What are good reasons for perceiving them as fundamentally different or fundamentally similar?"

The workshop will thus aim to address the following questions:

  1. What are the typical AI problems to which abduction and induction can be applied? How can these problems be characterised? Can these characteristics be formalised?
  2. Until now the computational methods involved in abduction and induction have been quite different. Does this demonstrate that abduction and induction should be distinguished rather than identified?
  3. What is the appropriate logical framework for reasoning about the differences and similarities between abduction and induction? Is the question of distinguishing or identifying abduction and induction merely dependent on the level of abstraction?

How to contribute

It is the organisers' intention to provoke a genuine workshop atmosphere. In order to achieve this we solicit position papers rather than full technical papers. Furthermore, the presentations and discussions at the workshop will be limited to a few key issues.

Position papers

By a position paper we mean a short paper (3-5 pages) that is specifically written for the purposes of this workshop. It may contain a brief summary of one's own research programme and results, but it should address at least one general topic of the workshop and identify general issues related to or arising from this work. An effort should be made to cover both forms of reasoning rather than concentrating mainly on one of the two. Authors are encouraged to indicate general problems that they believe need to be addressed and therefore should be amongst the topics of discussion at the workshop. Submission of a position paper would normally be required for participation in the workshop. The number of participants will be limited to max. 30.

Your position paper should reach the Program Committee by April 17, 1998. Email submissions are encouraged (PostScript, HTML, ASCII, or LaTeX; for other formats see the workshop's WWW pages). Submissions should be sent to the following address:

	Peter Flach, ECAI'98 workshop
	Dept. of Computer Science, University of Bristol
	Merchant Venturers Building, Woodland Road
	Bristol BS8 1UB, United Kingdom 
Submitted papers will be evaluated by the Program Committee. Authors of accepted papers may expand these to a maximum of 6 pages. These papers as well as a list of discussion topics arising from them will be available on-line before the workshop.

On-line material

Additional background material will be made available through the workshop's WWW pages at Links to material concerning the previous two workshops, including contributed papers and and workshop reports, can also be found on this page. There is an email discussion list for topics concerning abduction and induction; contact Peter Flach if you want to be included.

Workshop format

The workshop itself will consist of presentations and moderated discussions. The presentations are intended to put the issues under discussion into context. The speakers will be selected among the authors of accepted papers by the Program Committee. In addition, there will be one or two invited speaker(s).
The discussions will each address one of the main topics of the workshop. The topics for discussion will be preselected by the Program Committee according to the submitted papers, but participants will be encouraged to propose other topics at the workshop.

Please note that in order to participate in this workshop you have to register for ECAI'98!


April 17, 1998 deadline for submission
May 13, 1998 notification of acceptance/rejection and invitation of speakers
June 8, 1998 deadline for final versions of papers
August 25, 1998 workshop

Program Committee

Henning Christiansen Roskilde Universtiy, Denmark
Luca Console University of Torino, Italy
Peter Flach (co-chair) University of Bristol, United Kingdom
Randy Goebel University of Alberta, Canada
Katsumi Inoue Kobe University, Japan
John Josephson Ohio State University, USA
Antonis Kakas (co-chair) University of Cyprus, Cyprus
Chiaki Sakama Wakayama University, Japan

Workshop organisers

Peter Flach (primary contact)
Dept. of Computer Science, University of Bristol
Merchant Venturers Building, Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1UB, United Kingdom 
tel. +44 117 9545162
fax  +44 117 9545208

Antonis Kakas
Dept. of Computer Science, University of Cyprus
POBox 537, CY-1678  Nicosia, Cyprus
tel. +357 2 338705/4
fax  +357 2 339062

Last change: 7 April, 1998 | Peter Flach
WWW location: