A summary of 2017

The year is coming to an end, Christmas is around the corner, and reviews of 2017’s events are popping up everywhere. I think this is a nice opportunity to also look back at the year 2017, to summarize what has happened in my academic life, and to speculate a bit about 2018.

Looking Back

So what has happened this year? Quite a lot, as it turns out:

  • First of all, I created my web presence: This website, an ORCID, and profiles on Twitter, GoogleScholar, ResearchGate, etc.
  • I developed a mathematical formalization of the conceptual spaces framework for AI purposes, including a publicly available implementation.
  • I managed to publish four peer-reviewed papers (two workshop and two conference papers) about my ongoing research.
  • I did quite some traveling and attended multiple scientific events which allowed me to present my own work, to learn about exciting research done by others, and to start growing a network:
    • The spring school “Interdisciplinary College” in Günne/Germany
    • The Dagstuhl seminar “Human-Like Neural-Symbolic Computation” in Dagstuhl/Germany
    • The workshop “Neural-Symbolic Learning and Reasoning” in London/UK
    • The “German Conference on Artificial Intelligence” in Dortmund/Germany
    • The workshop “Concept Learning and Reasoning in Conceptual Spaces” in Bochum/Germany
    • The workshop “Artificial Intelligence and Cognition” in Larnaca/Cyprus
    • The “SGAI International Conference on Artificial Intelligence” in Cambridge/UK.
  • Together with some colleagues of mine here in Osnabrück I planned an interdisciplinary summer school on concepts for 2018 (with a co-located workshop on the same topic). Currently, we are waiting for the feedback on our funding application.
  • I started getting my feet wet with (deep) neural networks: On the one hand with InfoGAN for learning interpretable shape dimensions, on the other hand with Logic Tensor Networks for learning concepts.
  • I also started taking didactics classes which have already helped me a lot to improve my teaching.
Looking Forward

So what will the year 2018 look like? I’ve given up making detailed schedules because research tasks usually take much longer than I anticipate anyways. But here are some rough ideas:

  • I want to continue playing around with InfoGAN, β-VAE, and other representation learning approaches in order to learn meaningful dimensions for describing shapes.
  • Moreover, I’ll invest more time into Logic Tensor Networks – adapting them in such a way that they work with my formalization of conceptual spaces and doing some actual concept learning experiments.
  • Teaching will also continue to play an important role in my academic life. I’m looking forward to applying the knowledge I’ve gained in the didactics classes in practice.
  • There are a few open ends with respect to my formalization that I would like to tie up – namely how to generalize the definitions of similarity and betweenness from instances to concepts.
  • After (hopefully) having made satisfactory progress with InfoGAN and LTN, I want to start with the main part of my PhD project: Devising an incremental clustering algorithm for concept formation in conceptual spaces.

I don’t know how realistic these plans are, so we’ll see how many of them I can cross of from this list a year from now.

3 thoughts on “A summary of 2017”

  1. Happy New Year, Lucas, and good luck with your plans in 2018! One of my goals for 2018 is to just keep pace with you on the most shallow of academic levels…. 🙂 Please keep your followers updated about your workshop/summer school about concepts. You attended quite a few interesting workshops/conferences in 2017. How can we learn about what’s planned in Europe for 2018? How does one tap into the “European AGI workshop tour” schedule? I’ve attended a number of AI conferences in the US, but they tend to be sponsored by businesses like O’Reilly and Re:Work, and they tend to be more industry-related rather than academic. How can one find out more info about the European academic AGI conference circuit?

    1. Happy new year yourself 🙂
      As far as I’m aware, there are no European conferences that focus completely on AGI, but I’ll try to compile a list of interesting conferences and mailing lists for my next blog post. Thanks for the idea!

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