LINGUIST List 5.1491

Tue 20 Dec 1994

Calls: Workshop on Connectionist-Symbolic Integration

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Ron Sun,

Message 1:

Date: Mon, 19 Dec 1994 18:34:08
From: Ron Sun <>

Call For Papers
 to the Workshop

 Connectionist-Symbolic Integration:
 From Unified to Hybrid Approaches

 to be held at IJCAI'95
 Montreal, Canada
 August 19-20, 1994

There has been a considerable amount of research in integrating
connectionist and symbolic processing. While such an approach has
clear advantages, it also encounters serious difficulties and
challenges. Therefore, various models and ideas have been proposed to
address various problems and aspects in this integration. There is a
growing interest from many segments of the AI community, ranging from
expert systems, to cognitive modeling, to logical reasoning.

Two major trends can be identified in the state of the art: these are
the unified or purely and the hybrid approaches to integration.
Whereas the purely connectionist ("connectionist-to-the-top") approach
claims that complex symbol processing functionalities can be achieved
via neural networks alone, the hybrid approach is premised on the
complementarity of the two paradigms and aims at their synergistic
combination in systems comprising both neural and symbolic components.
In fact, these trends can be viewed as two ends of an entire spectrum.

Up till now, overall, there is still relatively little work in
comparing and combining these fairly isolated efforts. This workshop
will provide a forum for discussions and exchanges of ideas in this
area, to foster cooperative work. The workshop will tackle important
issues in integrating connectionist and symbolic processing.

A tentative Schedule

Day 1:

A. Introduction:

* Invited talks
 These talks will provide an overview of the field and set the tone for
 ensuing discussions.
* Theoretical foundations for integrating connectionist and symbolic

B. Definition of the two approaches:

* Do they exhaust the space of current research in
 connectionist-symbolic integration, or is there room for additional
* How do we compare the unified and hybrid approaches?
* Do the unified and hybrid approaches constitute a clearcut dichotomy or
 are they just endpoints of a continuum?
* What class of processes and problems is well-suited to unified or
 hybrid integration? The relevant motivations and objectives.
* What type of model is suitable for what type of application?
 Enumerate viable target domains.

C. State of the art:

* Recent or ongoing theoretical or experimental research work
* Implemented models belonging to either the unified or hybrid approach
* Practical applications of both types of systems

Research addressing key issues concerning:

* the unified approach: theoretical or practical
 issues involving systematicity, compositionality and variable
 binding, biologically inspired models, connectionist knowledge
 representation, other high-level connectionist models.

* the hybrid approach: modes and methods of coupling, task
 sharing between various components of a hybrid system, knowledge
 representation and sharing.

* both: commonsense reasoning, natural language processing,
 analogical reasoning, and more generally applications of
 unified and hybrid models.

Day 2:

D. Cognitive Aspects:

* Cognitive plausibility and relations to other AI paradigms
* In cognitive modeling, why should we integrate
 connectionist and symbolic processing?
* Is there a clear cognitive rationale for such integration? (we may
 need to examine in detail some typical areas, such as commonsense
 reasoning, and natural language processing)
* Is there psychological and/or biological evidence for
 existing models? If so, what is it?

E. Open research issues:

* Can we now propose a common terminology with precise
 definitions for both approaches to connectionist-symbolic integration
 and for the location on the continuum?
* How far can unified systems go?
 Can unified models be supplemented by hybrid models?
 Can hybrid models be supplanted by unified models?
* Limitations and barriers faced by both approaches
* What breakthroughs are needed for both approaches?
* Is it possible to synthesize various existing models?

Workshop format

- panel discussions
- mini-group discussions: participants will break into groups of 7/8
 to discuss a given theme; group leaders will then form a panel to
 report on group discussions and attempt a synthesis with audience
- interactive talks: this is a novel type of oral presentation
 we will experiment with. Instead of a classical presentation, the
 speaker will present a problem or issue and give a brief statement
 of his personal stand (5 min) to launch discussions which he will
 then moderate and conclude.
- classical slide talks followed by Q/A and discussions.

Workshop Co-chairs:

Frederic Alexandre, Crin-Cnrs/Inria-Lorraine
Ron Sun, The University of Alabama

Organizing Committee:

John Barnden, New Mexico State University
Steve Gallant, Belmont Research Inc.
Larry Medsker, American University
Christian Pellegrini, University of Geneva
Noel Sharkey, Sheffield University

Program Committee:

Lawrence Bookman (Sun Laboratory, USA)
Michael Dyer (UCLA, USA)
Wolfgang Ertel (FRW, Germany)
LiMin Fu (University of Florida, USA)
Jose Gonzalez-Cristobal (UPM, Spain)
Ruben Gonzalez-Rubio (University of Sherbrooke, Canada)
Jean-Paul Haton (Crin-Inria, France)
Melanie Hilario (University of Geneva, Switzerland)
Abderrahim Labbi (IMAG, France)
Ronald Yager (Iona College, USA)


- The submission deadline for participants is February 1, 1995.
- The authors and potential participants will be notified
 the acceptance decision by March 15, 1995.
- The camera-ready copies of working notes papers will be due on April 15, 1995


- If you wish to present a talk, specify the preferred type of
presentation (classical or interactive talk) and submit 5 copies of an
extended abstract (within the limit of 5-7 pages) to:

Ron Sun
Department of Computer Science
The University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
(205) 348-6363

- If you only wish to attend the workshop, send 5 copies of a short
(no more than one page) description of your interest to the same address above.

- Please be sure to include your e-mail address in all submissions.
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