Invited eminent scientist (name, title and affiliation, nationality)
Kowalski, Robert Anthony
Description of and results from the invitation
Professor Emeritus, Imperial College London, UK
I asked Prof. Kowalski for the following contributions for 2012.
(1) Invited talk at the NII Shonan Meeting Memorial Symposium, to present the
latest advances in logic programming and knowledge representation.
The NII Shonan Meetings aim to promote informatics and informatics
research at an international level, by providing a world's premier venue for world-class scientists, promising young researchers, and practitioners to come together in Asia to exchange their knowledge, discuss their research findings, and explore cutting-edge informatics topics. These meetings have been hosted by our institute, NII and this memorial symposium celebrated the first anniversary of the meetings.
90 people participated in the symposium including 40% from outside Japan, so this symposium had a really international atmosphere. Prof. Kowalski presented an invited talk entitled "Towards a Logic-based, Unifying Framework for Computing". This is his latest research result, which combines various disciplines of computing, including programming languages, database systems and parallel processing. Different from other logical formalisms, this framework has the unique feature of using destructive assignment in the model theory, thereby avoiding the "Frame Problem", which is a major problem in formalizing these various disciplines in logic.
He also participated in a panel discussion about "What we expect for NII Shonan Meetings", and he gave some proposals for improving the organization of this kind of international meeting from his rich experience of international collaborations.
(2) Discussions on the following research topics.
(a) Advancing the development of a multi-agent model based on abductive logic programming to formalize such aspects of human reasoning as decision making and planning.
(b) Advancing the theory of the "logic of thought" developed by Prof. Kowalski to improve human communication, for example to improve argumentation in a legal court.
(c) Attending the Sixth International Workshop on Juris-informatics (JURISIN 2012), exchanging ideas with the workshop participants, and serving as special commentator on the papers presented at the special session of JURISIN 2012 on Logic Programming and related approaches to Legal Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, in order to enhance the participants' research on juris-informatics.
Concerning the activities (a) and (b), the hosting researcher (Ken Satoh)
visited his office at Kyoto University, where Prof. Kowalski was a visiting professor for three months from the middle of September to the middle of December 2012. We also met and held discussions at several conferences. At our meetings, we discussed (a) and (b). Concerning (a), we mainly discussed his latest contributions to the unification of various disciplines of computer science on September 20, 25, October 11-13, 25-26. Concerning (b), we mainly discussed legal reasoning and normative reasoning on September 25, 28, October 5, October 19-20, November 2, 9, 15, 22 and December 7. As a result of these discussions, we discovered an interesting problem concerning the relationship between global norms and individual norms - namely the problem of proving the satisfaction of global norms assuming the satisfaction of individual norms. For example, we would like to know that if each individual obeys the traffic rules, then we can guarantee that no collision will occur. We also investigated the reverse problem of inducing individual norms from global norms, to guarantee the satisfaction of the global norms. These problems seem to be quite new, so we decided to continue investigating them within the formalism of his unifying framework during his visit next year.
Concerning the activity (c), "juris-informatics" is a new research area, which studies legal issues from the perspective of informatics. The purpose of the JURISIN workshop is to discuss both fundamental and practical issues for juris-informatics among researchers and practitioners from such arious backgrounds as law, social science, information and intelligent technology, logic and philosophy, including the conventional "AI and law" area. The meeting in Miyazaki was the 6th workshop in the series and it was held as a part of the International Symposium on AI 2012 (ISAI 2012) organized by Japanese Society of Artificial Intelligence. Prof. Kowalski not only founded the field of logic programming in the 70's, but also pioneered its application to legal knowledge representation and reasoning in the early 80's. In particular, he worked on the formalisation of the British Nationality Act in logic programming and the formalization legal rules more generally. This background of research on legal reasoning was very valuable in contributing to the discussions with the participants of the workshop, and the reason we asked him to act as a commentator on the special session.
The special session consisted of the following four papers:
"Detecting Conflicts in Legal Systems" by Tingting Li, Tina Balke, Marina De Vos, Ken Satoh and Julian Padget,
"Modelling Legitimate Expectations" by Marina De Vos, Tina Balke and Ken Satoh, "Misconception in Legal Cases From Dynamic Logical Viewpoints" by Katsuhiko Sano, Ryo Hatano and Satoshi Tojo, and
"On Generality of PROLEG Knowledge Representation" by Ken Satoh, Takamune Kogawa, Nao Okada, Kentaro Omori, Shunsuke Omura and Kazuki Tsuchiya.
Prof. Kowalski gave valuable comments on each of the papers, and each of the authors responded to his comments. In particular, he mentioned examples from the British Nationality Act that challenged Ken Satoh's formalization of knowledge representation in the paper of "On Generality of PROLEG Knowledge Representation". Ken Satoh responded by showing how to formalize these examples in his formalization, but the examples deepened his understanding of how to formalize legal rules in his formalism.
In conclusion, these activities succeeded to contribute to the development of computer science in Japan by enhancing the knowledge of various researchers by his invited talk and by discussions with him.
Contributions to the Host Institute
Since the NII Shonan Meetings are hosted by the host institute, NII, researchers in NII attended the Memorial Symposium and listened to his talk, so our knowledge of logic programming and the logic-based unifying framework is advanced. His suggestions for promoting the NII Shonan Meetings were also valuable.
The hosting researcher had discussions with him almost every week about knowledge representation, legal reasoning and multi-agent systems, and thought about these issues very deeply. We also started a new research theme concerning the relationship between global norms and individual norms.
In conclusion, this invitation resulted in good effects not only for the Host Institute itself, but also created a new research theme.