ECAI workshop on Parts and Wholes

Nicola Guarino <>
Date: 06 Feb 1994 13:23:29 +0100 (MET)
From: Nicola Guarino <>
Subject: ECAI workshop on Parts and Wholes
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                              PARTS AND WHOLES:

                           Monday, August 8, 1994
                         Amsterdam, The Netherlands

                           Held in conjunction with
           (11th European Conference  on  Artificial  Intelligence)

   Currently, there are two main approaches to the study of "parts" and
their relations. The conceptual (cognitive) approach looks at the variety
of part-whole relations and their role in language processing, perception,
and action planning; the philosophical/logical approach, on the other hand,
looks at formal theories of parts, wholes and related concepts in the
framework of formal ontology.

   There are important differences between the two views. Philosophical
systems tend to focus on a single "part-*of*" relation used for modeling
ontological domains like time, space, or pluralities; conceptual approaches
tend to assume a whole family of different "part-*whole*" relations for a
variety of entities and tasks. Classical logical theories such as Lesniewski's
or Goodman's privileged extensional aspects of the part-wholerelation, while
for conceptual approaches and intensional formal mereology the old proverb
holds that a whole is more than its parts.

   While disciplines such as linguistics, philosophy and psychology have
contributed significantly to the research in this field, their impact on
artificial intelligence is extremely limited, although AI could represent
the ideal workbench for a unification of approaches dominant in different
fields. Knowledge about parts is of great importance for a wide variety of AI
domains, like vision, qualitative and naive physics, robotics, and natural
language processing. For example, the structure of an object can be used
for visual recognition, for reasoning about the functionality of the whole,
or for planning its assembly.

   The goal of this workshop is to bring together researchers from these
various disciplines in order to explore

   (i)   the benefits and limits of formal mereology in modeling commonsense
         part-whole relations;
   (ii)  the import for knowledge representation formalisms of the two
         current approaches to the study of "parts" and their relations;
   (iii) the possibility of a unified theory of parts and wholes.

   The workshop topics will include the following:

- Classical extensional mereology: uses, extensions and adaptations;
  comparison with alternatives to mereology: set theory and lattices.
- Intensional mereology: essence, dependence, and integrity; individual
  properties as parts.
- Conceptual distinctions among wholes: masses, collections, complexes;
  natural entities and artifacts; sums and scattered individuals.
- Parts and structure: physical connection, spatial, temporal, functional
  and other constraints among parts; Gestalt theories and perceptual parts;
  granularity issues.
- Parts, space and time: relationships between mereology, topology,
  geometry; boundaries and surfaces; relationships between parts of physical
  objects (continuants) and parts of events (occurrents).
- Parts and natural language: parts, part-names and possessive constructions;
  plurals and mass terms.
- Reasoning about parts: transitivity, upper and downward inheritance of
- Dealing with parts within existing KR formalisms: distinguishing parts
  from other attributes, computational issues of reasoning about parts.

Two possible kinds of contributions are solicited from interested participants:

   (a) regular papers of 10 pages max, presenting on-going research;
   (b) position papers of 3 pages max, motivating the interest in the field
       and explaining particular points of view.

A limited number of regular papers will be chosen for an oral presentation
at the workshop, while suitable space will be devoted to discussions based
on contributions from participants (rejected regular papers are
automatically treated as position papers). Participation will be limited to
around 35 people.

Preference will be given in the workshop schedule to contributions
underlining the impact of mereological issues on AI practice, especially
on: knowledge representation, natural language processing, qualitative and
naive physics, spatial and temporal reasoning, vision, and robotics.

Submission of papers, regular and position, to any member of the workshop
organizing committee is due by April 15 1994. Hard copy (4 copies) and
electronic submissions (either PostScript, LaTex or MacWord converted in BinHex
format) are equally acceptable, with a strong preference for the latter.
All submissions should include an exact address and an e-mail address.

Paper submission deadline: April 15, 1994
Notification:              May 20, 1994
Final version due:         June 6, 1994
Workshop:                  August 8, 1994

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Participants will be requested to register for the main
ECAI conference.

                            Organizing committee:

Nicola Guarino
        Corso Stati Uniti 4, I-35020 Padova
        tel: +39 49 8295751, fax: +39 49 8295778

Simone Pribbenow
        University of Hamburg, Computer Science Department,
        Bodenstedtstr. 16, D-22765 Hamburg
        tel: +49 40 4123-6111, fax: +49 40 4123-6159

Laure Vieu
        Institut de Recherche en Informatique de Toulouse, UPS,
        118 route de Narbonne, F-31326 Toulouse
        tel: +33 61556091, fax: +33 61558325