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Colloquium - Birnbaum

A Little Semantics Goes a Long Way: The Night Watchman and Other Stories
Lawrence Birnbaum
The Institute for the Learning Sciences, Northwestern University

The intelligent, interactive technologies of the future -- personalized information access systems, learning-by-doing environments, and things not yet conceived -- must be semantically competent. That is, they must be built in accordance with, or have embedded in them, the causal models that people have of their goals, tasks, and environments.

Building these new interactive technologies will require semantic models and toolkits in addition to the computationally-oriented toolkits available today. The problem in developing such toolkits has been the apparent idiosyncrasy and variability of semantic content across domains. In this talk I will argue that there exist high-leverage semantic models of broad applicability that can form the basis of a wide variety of semantically competent technologies operating in a wide variety of settings. I will present a number of examples to show how, in many cases, just a little of this sort of semantics is needed to drive an interesting application.

Refreshments will be served immediately before the talk at 3:30pm.
Hosted by Gerhard Fischer.

Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
May 5, 2012 (14:13)