AAAI Spring Symposium 2014

Qualitative Representations for Robots

March 24–26, 2014 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California

An event related to the AI-Robotics coordination effort.


As the the field of robotics matures, the construction of ever more intelligent robots becomes possible. For many of the challenging tasks we want robots to perform it is crucial that the robot can be provided with knowledge: knowledge of its capabilities, of its environment, and of how the former interacts with the latter. The fields of AI and robotics have many approaches to representation and reasoning. This symposium focusses on one approach which has been growing in popularity across these communities in recent years: qualitative representations. Such representations abstract away from the quantitative representations that underlie many physically situated systems, providing more compact, structured representations which omit (unnecessary) detail. Qualitative representations exist for many aspects of space and time; action; uncertainty; and categorical knowledge (ontologies).

Qualitative representations have many advantages, including naturally encoding semantics for many systems, being accessible to humans, providing smaller state spaces for learning and reasoning, and also suitable for communication via natural language. These advantages have seen them being increasingly used in intelligent physically-grounded systems, from encoding spatial configurations of objects, to modelling human behaviour over time. This work is being done in many different places, and across different subfields of AI such as knowledge representation and reasoning, planning, uncertainty, learning, and perception. We strongly believe that the time is now right to bring these disparate groups together to share experiences and technical knowledge. We also wish to connect the new applied work being done with qualitative representations in robotics to the rich history of related ideas in AI.

Symposium Format

The symposium will include invited talks, presentations on accepted papers, discussion and demonstrations. This event runs in parallel with the symposium on Knowledge Representation and Reasoning in Robotics. Due to the overlapping nature of these events, we will have joint sessions and coordinate our activities.

Invited Talks

  • Tony Cohn, University of Leeds
  • Jeff Siskind, Purdue University - Seeing, Saying, Doing, and Thinking: The compositional structure of perception, language, action, and thought
All invited talks will be shared between this symposium and the symposium on Knowledge Representation and Reasoning in Robotics


Highlighted sessions are shared with the symposium on Knowledge Representation and Reasoning in Robotics.

Monday March 24, 2014

08:45 - 09:00 Welcome remarks
09:00 - 10:00 Invited Talk: Jeffrey Siskind, Purdue University
Seeing, Saying, Doing, and Thinking: The compositional structure of perception, language, action, and thought
10:00 - 10:30 Grounding Language in Perception for Scene Conceptualization in Autonomous Robots
Krishna Dubba, Miguel de Oliveira, Gi Lim, Luis Lopes, Anthony Cohn, David Hogg
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee Break
11:00 - 11:30 A Probabilistic Model of Human-Robot Spatial Interaction using a Qualitative Trajectory Calculus
Christian Dondrup, Marc Hanheide and Nicola Bellotto
11:30 - 12:00 Multi-robot Human Guidance using Topological Graphs
Piyush Khandelwal and Peter Stone
12:00 - 12:30 From Sequence to Trajectory and Vice-Versa: Solving the Inverse QTC Problem and Coping with Real-World Trajectories
Konstantinos Iliopoulos, Nikolaos Mavridis, and Nicola Bellotto (presented by Christian Dondrup)
12:30 - 14:00 Lunch Break
14:00 - 15:00 Invited Talk: Daniele Nardi, Sapienza University of Rome
Representing Knowledge About Environments: Semantic Mapping
15:00 - 15:30 Ontology-based Cognitive System for Contextual Reasoning in Robot Architectures
Alessandro Oltramari, Yury Vinokurov, Christian Lebiere, Jean Oh, and Anthony Stentz
15:30 - 16:00 Coffee Break
16:00 - 16:30 Effects of Training Data Variation and Temporal Representation in a QSR-Based Action Prediction System
Jay Young and Nick Hawes
16:30 - 17:00 A qualitative representation of social conventions for application in robotics
Frank Dylla, Arne Kreutzmann and Diedrich Wolter
17:00 - 17:30 Posters + Discussion

Tuesday March 25, 2014

09:00 - 10:00 Invited Talk: Anthony Cohn, University of Leeds
Learning Qualitative Spatio-Temporal Activity Models
10:00 - 10:30 Probabilistic Logic for Multi-Robot Event Recognition
J Angelo Gurzoni Jr, Paulo Santos
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee Break
11:00 - 11:30 A Planner for Ambient Assisted Living: From high-level reasoning to low-level robot execution and back
Maurizio Di Rocco, Subhash Sathyakeerthy, Jasmin Grosinger, Federico Pecora, Alessandro Saffiotti, Filippo Cavallo, Bonaccorsi Manuele, Raffaele Limosani, Alessandro Manzi, Giancarlo Teti and Paolo Dario.
11:30 - 12:00 Planning Domain + Execution Semantics: a Way Towards Robust Execution?
Stefan Konecny, Sebastian Stock, Federico Pecora and Alessandro Saffiotti
12:00 - 12:30 Invited Talk: Matthew Klenk, PARC.
The Role of Context in Spatial Region Identification
12:30 - 14:00 Lunch Break
14:00 - 15:00 Invited Talk: Michael Gelfond, Texas Tech University
Logic Programing and Probabilistic Reasoning: The P-log Perspective
15:00 - 15:30 Knowledge-Based Reasoning on Semantic Maps
Roberto Capobianco, Guglielmo Gemignani, Daniele Nardi, Domenico Bloisi, and Luca Iocchi
15:30 - 16:00 Coffee Break
16:00 - 16:30 Towards a Similarity between Qualitative Image Descriptions for Comparing Real Scenes
Zoe Falomir Llansola, Lledó Museros and Luis Gonzalez-Abril
16:30 - 17:00 Scene Interpretation for Self-Aware Cognitive Robots
Melodi Ozturk, Mustafa Ersen, Melis Kapotoglu, Cagatay Koc, Sanem Sariel-Talay and Hulya Yalcin
17:00 - 17:30 Posters + Discussion

Wednesday March 26, 2014

09:00 - 10:00 Invited Talk: Mary-Anne Williams, University of Technology, Sydney
Social Robots and the Role of Attention
10:00 - 10:30 Planning in Answer Set Programming while Learning Action Costs for Mobile Robots
Fangkai Yang, Piyush Khandelwal, Matteo Leonetti, and Peter Stone
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee Break
11:00 - 11:30 Bootstrapping Probabilistic Models of Qualitative Spatial Relations for Active Visual Object Search
Lars Kunze, Chris Burbridge, Nick Hawes
11:30 - 12:00 An Approach for Scene Interpretation using Qualitative Descriptors, Semantics and Domain Knowledge
Zoe Falomir
12:00 - 12:30 Relational approaches for joint object classification and scene similarity measurement in indoor environments
Marina Alberti, John Folkesson, Patric Jensfelt

Symposium Chair

Nick Hawes (
School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, UK

Organising Committee

Chris Burbridge and Lars Kunze
School of Computer Science,
University of Birmingham,
Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK and

Alper Aydemir
Computer Vision Group
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, California 91109, USA

Marc Hanheide and Nicola Bellotto
School of Computer Science,
University of Lincoln,
Brayford Pool, Lincoln, LN6 7TS, and

Luca Iocchi and Daniele Nardi
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Informatica,
Automatica e Gestionale "A. Ruberti",
"Sapienza" Universita' di Roma,
Via Ariosto 25, 00185 ROMA, Italy and

Patric Jensfelt and John Folkesson
Centre for Autonomous Systems,
Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, Teknikringen 14, plan7, SE-114 28 Stockholm, Sweden and

Michael Karg
Technische Universität München,
Department of Computer Science,
Informatik 9, Boltzmannstrasse 3, 85748 Garching, Germany

John D. Kelleher
School of Computing, Dublin Institute of Technology,
Kevin Street, Dublin 8, Ireland

Alexandra Kirsch
University of Tübingen,
Department of Computer Science,
Sand 14, 72076 Tübingen, Germany

Matthew Klenk
Palo Alto Research Center,
3333 Coyote Hill Rd Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA

Kate Lockwood
Computer Science and Information Technology,
California State University, Monterey Bay,
100 Campus Center, Seaside, CA 93955-8001, USA

Fiona McNeill
University of Edinburgh,
School of Informatics,
10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9LE, UK

Andrzej Pronobis
Robotics and State Estimation Lab,
University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-2350, USA

Diedrich Wolter
FB3 - Informatics,
Universität Bremen,
P.O. Box 330 440, 28334 Bremen, Germany

Jure Zabkar
AI Lab, Faculty of Comp. & Inf. Science,
University of Ljubljana,
Trzaska 25, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia