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1 ISSN Volume, 17, number 5 October, 2000 BOARD BNVKI: Joost Kok (chair) Rineke Verbrugge (member) Wiebe van der Hoek (member) Yao-Hua Tan (member) Eric Postma (member) Luc DeHaspe (member) Walter Daelemans (member) EDITORIAL BOARD: Eric Postma (Editor in Chief) Jaap van den Herik Bart de Boer Shan-Hwei Nienhuys-Cheng Cees Witteveen Antal van den Bosch (section editor) Joris Van Looveren (editor Belgium) Richard Starmans (section editor) Radboud Winkels (section editor) BNVKI-SECRETARY EDITORIAL ADDRESS BNVKI newsletter Rineke Verbrugge Joke Hellemons Rijksuniversiteit Groningen Universiteit Maastricht Cognitive Science and Engineering FdAW, Department of Computer Science Grote Kruisstraat 2/1 P.O.Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht 9712 TS Groningen Telephone: / Fax: unimaas.nl/~bnvki BNVKI newsletter 102

2 FROM HERE TO ETERNITY EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Solving puzzles and games is one of the hallmarks of artificial intelligence. Problems ranging in complexity from the elementary textbook example of Tic-Tac-Toe to the highly complex game of Go have stimulated the development of clever problem representations and efficient search algorithms throughout the young history of AI. Relatively recent research has revealed that the hardest problems are to be found at the transition from solvable to unsolvable problems. The application of techniques from statistical physics uncovered a great deal of the underlying structure of search problems such as random SAT. The SAT problem entails finding an assignment to the variables of a logical formula in conjunctive normal form (CNF) that makes the formula true. Statistical physics describes physical systems in terms of the statistical properties of infinitely large numbers of simple elements, i.e., particles or magnetic spins. The average state of the elements exhibits a transition when, for instance, an external variable crosses a critical value. A standard example is water that starts to boil when the temperature crosses the critical value of 100 o Celcius. In terms of random SAT problems, the average density of constraint in a formula plays the role of temperature and the average number of solvable problems a description of the state. As physicists, AI researchers are highly interested in critical behaviour near the phase transition, because at the critical point all elements appear to be connected. After all, at the boiling point all liquid molecules decide collectively to become gas molecules. In the parlour of physics, at the critical point the "correlation length diverges". In other words, each element's state affects the states of all other elements. At the SAT phase transition each variable assignment affects all other assignments and, as a result, finding a solution becomes very hard. Last year a British company launched a puzzle called Eternity. The puzzle consists of 209 different geometrically-shaped pieces that have to be arranged to cover a hexagonal grid (see the illustration of a partially solved puzzle on the cover of this newsletter). Each piece is composed of 12 triangles (of degrees) and covers part of an equilateral triangular grid. For an AI scientist solving a puzzle such as Eternity is a real challenge and in itself sufficiently rewarding. However, to ensure a wider interest for the puzzle, the company announced to award the first person to submit a solution before September with 1 million pounds. At first glance Eternity seems deceivingly simple. However, closer inspection (or trial and error) reveals the true complexity of the puzzle. The inventor of Eternity, Christopher Monckton, spent many years to create a puzzle that is almost impossible to solve. While each piece can be oriented in 12 distinct ways, the total number of different configurations equals Of course, this number does not take the positions of the pieces on the hexagonal grid into account. Adjacent pieces (and the boundaries of the grid) constrain the possible orientations of the pieces ultimately making (at least) a single orientation feasible. The crux of the game is that it appears to be near a critical point of jigsaw puzzles. Presumably, Eternity is near the phase transition from solvable puzzles to unsolvable puzzles. Finding the single or few solution(s) among the many is so hard because of the divergence of the correlation length. The position and orientation of each piece affects the possible positions and orientations of all other pieces. Rumour has it that a solution to Eternity has been submitted. If this turns out to be true, the reader should not be disappointed. A second puzzle is in the making. Eternity II is even more complex than its predecessor and the prize money may be even more than one million pounds. In case you are confident to give it a try purely for intellectual satisfaction I recommend you to visit the sites given below. Your editor is more than happy to discuss solution strategies with you during the upcoming BNAIC. Since the reward cannot be given to Dutch citizens (due to the Wet Kansspelen ), Belgian-Dutch Eternity research is highly recommended.. Official Eternity website: The mathpuzzle.com Eternity page: Java demo van Eternity: Cover image: Example of a partially-solved Eternity puzzle (from BNVKI newsletter 103

3 TABLE OF CONTENTS From Here to Eternity (Editor-in-Chief) Table of Contents BNVKI-Board News (Joost Kok) Agenda for the General Assembly of the BNVKI-AIABM New Candidate (Floris Wiesman) BNAIC 00 Programme (Antal van den Bosch) ECCAI General Assembly 2000 (Wiebe van der Hoek) Disappearing Differences (Jaap van den Herik) SAB 2000 (Rens Kortmann) Section Computational Linguistics (Antal van den Bosch) The Search for the NLP Killer APP an Impression of ACL 2000 (Antal v.d. Bosch) SIKS (Richard Starmans) Section Knowledge Systems in Law and Computer Science (Radboud Winkels) Woordgebruik en Concepten in Juridische Teksten (Arno Lodder) Verbintenisrechtelijke Aspecten van Intelligent Agents (Martin Apistola) Call for Papers Benelearn Conferences, symposia, Workshops addresses, Board Members/ Editors BNVKI newsletter / How to become a member?/ Submissions Advertisement The BNVKI is sponsored by AHOLD and by BOLESIAN In 2000, the publication of the BNVKI newsletter is also supported by the Division of Computer Science Research in the Netherlands (previously called SION, now ACI) BNVKI newsletter 104

4 BNVKI- BOARD NEWS Joost Kok During the last few weeks, AI had a good media exposure on Dutch television. Jaap van de Herik discussed future developments in AI and computer science with Paul Witteman in Een Geweldige Tijd, Antal van den Bosch was talking about machine learning in language processing in the program Kwintesens, and Eric Postma was explaining the possibilities and limitations of robots during the socalled wetenschapsweek (science week). In fact, Eric s performance was on local television, but was included in the "best-of-the-week-on-localtelevision" program and hence broadcast throughout the whole country every half hour during the whole weekend. Last year the BNAIC aroused a lot of media attention due to the robot soccer demonstration. It is likely that the upcoming BNAIC, which features a RoboSail demonstration, gets its share of media exposure. Judging from the conference programme, the BNAIC'00 promises to be an inspiring conference. The organizers succeeded in attracting Yoav Shoham (Stanford University) and Yorick Wilks (University of Sheffield) as invited speakers. Shoman is well known for his work on (amongst others) agent technology and his invited lecture is about problems at the interface of game theory and AI. Wilks performs research on linguistic corpora and computational pragmatics. His lecture is about information extraction from a natural-language processing perspective. I am also looking forward to the start-up session in which seven startups in Artificial Intelligence will give presentations about their mission, pre-start experience, the real startup and their prospects. It will be nice to see how our AI techniques can be put to work in such companies. On behalf of the Board of the BNVKI I am looking forward meeting you at the BNAIC'00 in Tilburg! BNAIC 00 HOMEPAGE Agenda for the BNVKI-AIABN General Assembly To be held on Thursday November 2 at h. during the BNAIC Opening (Joost Kok) 2. Minutes of previous general assembly 3. Annual Report (Joost Kok) 4. Financial Report and establishment accounts committee (Wiebe van der Hoek) 5. Selection of new Board 6. Location of BNAIC Plans for the future 8. Any other business NEW CANDIDATE for the Board Floris Wiesman is assistant professor at the Institute for Knowledge and Agent Technology (IKAT) of the Universiteit Maastricht (UM). He studied Computer Science at the University of Amsterdam with a specialization in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. His PhD research was carried out at the Department of Medical Informatics of the UM. The research subject was a graphical browsing approach to information retrieval. After finishing his thesis in 1998, he moved to IKAT where he focussed on agent technology research, with an emphasis on information retrieval. Currently, Floris Wiesman is? of the ToKeN 2000 project, an interdisciplinary NWO research programme focusing on the disclosure of knowledge from information and knowledge systems. Within ToKeN 2000, he studies graphical information retrieval by combining browsing-oriented search with queryoriented search. 2 mobile and agent-based information retrieval on the Web. As future member of the BNVKI board he aims at promoting the development of AI techniques for future mobile computing applications. BNVKI newsletter 105

5 BNAIC'00 NOVEMBER 1-2, DE EFTELING, KAATSHEUVEL PROGRAMME Wednesday, November 1, Registration and coffee Plenary opening Carrousseltheater Prof. dr. J. Kok, BNVKI Drs. M. van Diessen, Wethouder Economische Zaken Gemeente Tilburg Prof. dr. F.A. van der Duyn Schouten, Rector Magnificus KUB Tilburg Invited Lecture "Some interesting problems at the interface of AI and game theory" Prof. dr. Y. Shoham, Stanford University Agent Technology 1 Carrousseltheater Reuse and Abstraction in Verification: Agents Acting in Dynamic Environments C.M. Jonker, J. Treur, and W. de Vries Design of Collaborative Information Agents C.M. Jonker, M. Klusch, and J. Treur Stabilization of Tag-Mediated Interaction by Sexual Reproduction in an Evolutionary Agent System F. Alkemade, D.D.B. van Bragt, and J.A. La Poutré Machine Learning 1 Waterorgeltheater GadC solves the water polution Problem D. Devogelaere, P. Van Bael, and M. Rijckaert SHARVIND: A Genetic-Based Data Mining Tool S. Choenni Interesting Association Rules in Multiple Taxonomies J.M. de Graaf, W.A. Kosters, and J.J.W. Witteman Lunch Three Parallel Sessions Graphical Models Dioramazaal Bayesian Model-based Diagnosis P. Lucas Coffee Break Three Parallel Sessions Logic & Reasoning 1 Dioramazaal Semantics of Input-Consuming Logic Programs A. Bossi, S. Etalle, and S. Rossi Relating Protocols for Dynamic Dispute with Logics for Defeasable Argumentation H.Prakken Classical and General Frameworks for Recovery W. van der Hoek and C. Witteveen Propagation of Multiple Observations in Qualitative Probabilistic Networks S. Renooij, L.C. van der Gaag, and S. Parsons Variational Approximations between Mean Field Theory and the Junction Tree Algorithm W.A.J.J. Wiegerinck Knowledge Representation and Systems 1 Carrousseltheater The law as a dynamic interconnected system of states of affairs: a legal top ontology J. Hage and B. Verheij Towards a Generic Model of Trust for Electronic Commerce Y-H. Tan and W. Thoen DocLog: an Electronic Contract Representation Language Y-H. Tan and W. Thoen BNVKI newsletter 106

6 Search Waterorgeltheater Investigating Probabilistic Opponent-Model Search H.H.L.M. Donkers, J.W.H.M. Uiterwijk, and H.J. van den Herik Ant Based Routing Algorithms L.J.M. Rothkrantz, J.C. Wojdel, A. Wojdel, and H. Knibbe Complexity reduction by using computational histories A. Bos, N. Roos, and C. Witteveen Coffee/Tea break Three Parallel Sessions Evolutionary Computation Dioramazaal Constraint Satisfaction Problems and Evolutionary Computation: A Reality Check J.I. van Hemert Fitness functions for evolving box-pushing behaviour I.G. Sprinkhuizen-Kuyper, R. Kortmann, and E.O. Postma Stepwise Adaption of Weights for Symbolic Regression with Genetic Programming J. Eggermont and J.I. van Hemert Knowledge Representation and Systems 2 Carrousseltheater OIL in a Nutshell D. Fensel, I. Horrocks, F. van Harmelen, S. Decker, M. Erdmann, and M.E. Klein Model-based diagnosis support for satellite-based instruments A. Bos, A. van Gemund, and C. Witteveen Programming robots is fun: Robocup Jr B. Kröse, R. van den Bogaard, and N. Hietbrink Neural Networks 1 Waterorgeltheater SpikeProp: Backpropagation for Networks of Spiking Neurons S.M. Bohte', H. La Poutre', and J.N. Kok Trading off Perception with Internal State: Reinforcement Learning and Analysis of Q- Elman Networks in a Markovian Task B. Bakker and G. van der Voort van der Kleij Ensembles of Nonconformist Neural Networks M.C. van Wezel, M.D. Out, and W.A. Kosters Three Parallel Sessions Demonstrations Dioramazaal Jacob: An Educational Agent in a Virtual Environment M. Evers and A. Nijholt Profit I. Houtzager Demonstration of a Context Management Tool A. Kerssies, T. Verwaart, and E. Westerhof QFAPS: Problem Solving for the Ordinary Web Surfer? J.H. van Lieshout and E.C. van de Stadt LubeSelect: A fuzzy-logic decision support system for bearing lubrication selection via Intranet G. Schram HerKenningsTechnologie E. Zopfi Cooperative Transport Planning J. Zutt and M.M. de Weerdt Methodology Carrousseltheater Emergence of learning methodology for abnormality detection M. van Veelen, J.A.G. Nijhuis, and L. Spaanenburg Torture tests: a quantitative analysis for the robustness of Knowledge-based systems P. Groot, F. van Harmelen, and A. ten Teije Selection of Perturbation Experiments for Model Discrimination I. Vatcheva, H. de Jong, and N.J.I. Mars Neural Networks 2 Waterorgeltheater An application of Linear Response Learning M. Leisink and B. Kappen Visual resolution evolving to a trade-off curve R. Kortmann, E. O. Postma, and H.J. van den Herik Production planning in batch process industries: comparing regression analysis and neural networks W.H.M. Raaymakers and A.J.M.M. Weijters BNVKI newsletter 107

7 Happy hour (sponsored by Bolesian) Invited demonstration: RoboSail Conference buffet Thursday, November 2, Coffee Invited lecture "Information extraction: a new NLP application?" Prof. dr. Y. Wilks, University of Sheffield Meta-Learning for Phonemic Annotation of Corpora V. Hoste, W. Daelemans, E. F. Tjong Kim Sang, and S. Gillis Machine Learning 2 Waterorgeltheater An Initial Approach to Wrapped Input Selection using Least Squares Support Vector Machine Classifiers: Some Empirical Results B. Baesens, S. Viaene, T. Van Gestel, J.A.K. Suykens, G. Dedene, B. De Moor and J. Vanthienen A Unified Approach for Practical Applications of Fuzzy Clustering U. Kaymak Rough Sets and Ordinal Classification J.C. Bioch and V. Popova Coffee break Three Parallel Sessions Planning and Scheduling Dioramazaal Three Parallel Sessions Agent Technology 2 Dioramazaal Multi-Issue Negotiation Processes by Evolutionary Simulation: Validation and Social Extensions E.H. Gerding, D.D.B. van Bragt, and J.A. La Poutré Organization Models and Behavioural Requirements Specification for Multi-Agent Systems J. Ferber, O. Gutknecht, C.M. Jonker, J-P. Miller, and J. Treur Multi-Agent Cooperation in a Planning Framework M.M. de Weerdt, A. Bos, J.F.M. Tonino, and C. Witteveen Natural Language Processing 1 Carrousseltheater Aspects of Pattern-matching in Data-Oriented Parsing G. De Pauw Noun Phrase Recognition by System Combination E.F. Tjong Kim Sang Approximation of the optimal solution for Dynamic CSPs Y-P. Ran, N. Roos, and H.J. van den Herik An Approximation Algorithm for a Logistic Planning Problem J. M. Valk,, A. Bos, J. Rogier, J.F.M. Tonino, and C. Witteveen Natural Language Processing 2 Carrousseltheater An Analysis of Multiple-Word Naming Games J. Van Looveren Efficient Parsing of Domain Language K. Sima'an Imitation games for complex utterances B. de Boer Machine Learning 3 Waterorgeltheater Fuzzy Competitive Exception Learning W-M. van den Bergh and J. van den Berg Learning a Go Heuristic with Tilde J. Ramon, T. Francis, and H. Blockeel BNVKI newsletter 108

8 Adaptive Information Filtering: evolutionary computation and n-gram representation R. Tauritz and I.G. Sprinkhuizen- Kuyper Lunch BNVKI meeting Carrousseltheater Three Parallel Sessions Start-up Companies Dioramazaal HuQ Text Kernel Sentient Machine Research Tryllian WizWise Technology MINEvision PharmaDM SmartHaven Data4S BOM Agent Technology 3 Carrousseltheater Commitment and Trust in Dynamic Logic J. Broersen, M. Dastani, Z. Huang, and L.W.N. van der Torre Negotiation Protocols and Dialogue Games M. Dastani, J. Hulstijn, and L. van der Torre Modelling User Preferences and Mediating Agents in Electronic Commerce M. Dastani, N. Jacobs, C.M. Jonker, and J. Treur Machine Learning 4 Waterorgeltheater Classification and Target Group Selection based upon Frequent Patterns W. Pijls and R. Potharst Data Fusion: A Way to Provide More Data to Mine in? P. van der Putten Fuzzy Clustering Based Target Selection U. Kaymak and M. Setnes Coffee/Tea break Three Parallel Sessions Information Brokering Dioramazaal Small-world semantic networks E.O. Postma, F. Wiesman, and H.J. van den Herik ICEBERG: Exploiting Context in Information Brokering Agents C.M. Jonker and A. Vollebregt ICEBERG demonstration system C.M. Jonker and A. Vollebregt Agent Technology 4 Carrousseltheater Processing an agent's perception: a semantics for updating in the context of causal constraints N. Roos An algorithm for replanning R.P.J. van der Krogt, A. Bos, M.M. de Weerdt, and C. Witteveen Agents Recognizing Emergence L.W.N. van der Torre and A.D.M. Wan Logic and Reasoning 2 Waterorgeltheater Reasoning with Modularly Pointwise Preferential Relations O. Arieli Input-Output Logics D. Makinson and L.W.N. van der Torre Learning in Description Logics by Refining Concepts L. Badea and S-H. Nienhuys-Cheng Awards and closing ECCAI GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2000 Unter den Linden, Berlin, August 23, 2000 Report by Wiebe van der Hoek DISCLAIMER These are not the minutes of the meeting in Berlin, instead I try to give a summary of those issues that are most relevant for BNVKI-members. The official minutes will be eventually available at BNVKI newsletter 109

9 GENERAL Chair of this meeting was the ECCAI chair, Wolfgang Wahlster. The minutes of the previous General Assembly (August 4, 1999, Stockholm), are available at www. eccai.org// Minutes _1999_GA. html. The meeting was attended by plm 20 people, each representing a member society of the ECCAI. The ECCAI has more than 6000 paid individual members, being now the world's largest AI organization (AAAI has about 5000). SERVICES Individual members contribute to ECCAI, depending on the size of the association, at most 3 Euros per year. For this, they get the following benefits and privileges: 1. reduced ECAI conference registration rates 2. reduced PAIS conference registration rates 3. reduced fee for attending ACAI summer schools 4. password for free access to the AI Communications Journal 5. eligibility for ECCAI travel awards 6. participation in the ECCAI Fellows program 7. eligibility for ECCAI dissertation awards 8. 30% discount off list price for ECAI proceedings published by IOS 9. free access listing in the European AI directory 10. free access to the electronic journal ETAI 11. free listings on ECCAI's WebPages to promote AI activities 12. access to ECCAI's mailing lists for broadcasting information 13. active participation in all discussions and event organized by ECCAI For BNVKI members, let me particularly stress that they are aware of the following possibilities: A. ETAI (Electronic Transactions on Artificial Intelligence). ETAI has gained international recognition as a major driving force for innovative methods for scientific publication and scholarly discussion. There are several areas currently active in ETAI, a new area about Ontology s and Semantics for the Web is currently under consideration, and the Machine Intelligence Workshop series is now also a special area in ETAI. B. AICom: AI Communications. Electronic access to AICom is provided to members of the ECCAI societies by a password per association. All four issues of volumes of the European Journal on Artificial Intelligence are now available online. C. ECCAI Fellows Program. At the moment, there are 32 ECCAI fellows. New members can be nominated D. The ECCAI AI Dissertation Award. This Award includes a certificate signed by the ECCAI Chair and 1500 Euros. The deadline for the 2000 ECCAI Dissertation Award is 1 december, EVENTS The ECAI conference series is successful and ranks among the top four international and general AI conferences. This year, ECAI's submission rate again matched that of AAAI. There were submissions from outside Europe like from Australia, Canada, China, Japan and the United States. The acceptance rate was 31%. However, it is a bit worrying that 75% of the accepted papers are only from five of the society members: France, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy and Spain. ECAI is encouraging authors from East-European countries to submit and travel to ECAI. This year, in Berlin, more than 750 conference attendees and 500 workshop attendees were welcomed. ECCAI has sponsored the 8th Advanced Course on Artificial Intelligence (ACAI-99) on the Greek Island of Crete in Chania, that focussed on Machine Learning. For 2001, during the meeting, a proposal from the Czech association was accepted to host the 9th ACAI in Prague, 2-13 July. This course will focus on Multi-Agent Systems and the plan is to merge it with the third European Agent Systems Summer School (EASSS) sponsored by AgentLink. The next ECAI conference will be held in Lyon in 2002, and the meeting decided to accept the proposal for 2004 in Valencia. This will be the first ECAI in Spain. BOARD After 18 years of service, the ECCAI-chair Wolfgang Wahlster is leaving the board. Robert Milne is elected the new chair of ECCAI. The other members of the board are now Marc Ayel, Silvia Coradeschi, Ulrich Furbach, Silvia Miksch and Kris van Marke. Last but not least, on recommendation of the BNVKI, Frank van Harmelen is elected the Chair of ECAI BNVKI newsletter 110

10 DISAPPEARING DIFFERENCES Jaap van den Herik IKAT, Universiteit Maastricht A manifest profit of the Research School SIKS, in which originally AI groups and Database groups collaborated as two separated disciplines, is the disappearance of the differences. The cooperation works quite well and the profit for the school, the school members and the students is that their research scope is broadened. This is reflected in the titles, topics and contents of the Ph.D. theses listed below. In this list of nine announcements we see that the four AI topics and the three Database topics (admittedly, all are from Professor Kersten) harmoniously go together. For instance, Principles of Probabilistic Query Optimization is such a topic that is interesting for Database research as well as for AI. The first two announcements of the list have a special nature. The Ph.D. thesis by Stavros Zouridis should be classified under Law and Informatics. The subtitle reads: Over ICT, organisatie, wetgeving en het automatiseren van beschikkingen. (On ICT, organisations, legislative drafting, and the computerization of judicial orders). The thesis deals with the progress of computer decisions in the Dutch society. I believe that this is an important phenomenon, especially since the progress is seldom recognised as such. Most people think that taking a new computer is only upgrading the hardware, whereas it in many cases provides new software with extra possibilities and as a consequence leads to additional facilities for the organisations. The second announcement is more fundamental. Logic Engineering is a description logic, and description logics are a family of formal languages used for structured knowledge representation. The aim of the thesis is to explore and exploit the connections between description and hybrid logic, their similarities and differences. I started this overview of theses with mentioning the research School SIKS. From the nine Ph.D. theses, five theses belong to SIKS, the four others are related theses. However, the relation is quite close. Next to the first two announcements discussed above, we have P.A. Jones thesis Best First Search & Document Processing Applications. This thesis mainly deals with Information Retrieval which is a topic of increasing interest, especially in relation to a growing world wide web. In the the thesis we see many applications of AI search techniques. The supervisor, Professor Koster, is a regular visitor of SIKS meetings and after the successful, recent Information Retrieval Day, he has together with this author made a proposal to SIKS to incorporate the topic of Intelligent Information Retrieval in their AIO-courses. The other non-siks thesis is by Paul Vogt, the supervisor is Luc Steels. The topic is Lexicon Grounding on Mobile Robots. The contents of the research is familiar to the BNVKI members since Paul Vogt has presented this topic on the BNAIC in the framework of other related presentations of the VUB group (the Vrije Universiteit Brussel). After the reception of his doctor s title, dr. Vogt moves from the VUB to the UM. From Maastricht he will remain active in the Dutch AI scene. Finally, I would like to wish all Ph.D. students who still have to defend their thesis (after they have received this newsletter), much success, the others are congratulated with the passing of their last examination which has given them the highest academic title of The Netherlands and Belgium to receive on own merits. S. Zouridis (September 15, 2000) Digitale Disciplinering. Katholieke Universiteit Brabant. Promotor: Prof.dr. P.H.A. Frissen. C.E. Areces (October 12, 2000) Logic Engineering. The Case of Description and Hybrid Logics. Universiteit van Amsterdam. Promotor: Prof.dr. J.F.A.K. van Benthem, co-promotor: dr. M. de Rijke. R.M. van Eijk (October 18, 2000) Programming Languages for Agent Communication. Universiteit Utrecht. Promotor: Prof.dr. J.-J.Ch. Meyer, copromotoren: dr. F.S. de Boer and dr. W. van der Hoek. N. Peek (October 30, 2000) Decision-theoretic planning of clinical patient management. Universiteit Utrecht. Promotor: Prof.dr. J.-J.Ch. Meyer, co-promotor: dr. P.J.F. Lucas. F. Waas (November 3, 2000) Principles of Probabilistic Query Optimization. CWI, Universiteit van Amsterdam. Promotor: Prof.dr. M.L. Kersten. P.A. Jones (November 7, 2000) Best First Search & Document Processing Applications. Katholieke Universiteit Utrecht. Promotor: Prof. C.H.A. Koster, co-promotores: dr. P. van Bommel and dr.ir. Th.P. van der Weide. BNVKI newsletter 111

11 P. Vogt. (November 10, 2000) Lexicon Grounding on Mobile Robots. Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Promotor: Prof.dr. L. Steels. N. Nes (November 14, 2000) Image Database Management System Design Considerations, Algorithms and Architecture. CWI, Universiteit van Amsterdam. Promotor: Prof.dr. M.L. Kersten. J. Karlsson (November 14, 2000) Scalable Distributed Data Structure for Database Management. CWI, Universiteit van Amsterdam. Promotor: Prof.dr. M.L. Kersten. SAB 2000 The sixth international conference on the simulation of adaptive behavior, Paris, France, September, 2000 Report by Rens Kortmann IKAT, Universiteit Maastricht changes in this environment. According to the announcement: the purpose of this conference is to bring together researchers in neurosciences, ethology, cybernetics, artificial intelligence, robotics, and related fields to improve our understanding of the behavio[u]rs and underlying mechanisms that allow animals and, potentially, robots to adapt and survive in uncertain environments, and to simulate those mechanisms in robots and autonomous synthetic systems. This year the conference was hosted at the College de France in Paris by Jean-Arcady Meyer and colleagues. Altogether, the conference consisted of five days of talks and demonstrations, a day of workshops, and a day of tutorials. The last two days were co-organised by the PPSN (parallel problem solving from nature) conference. The five days of talks each started with an invited lecture and were followed by proper talks of half an hour and poster spotlight sessions that consisted of a series of 2.5 minutes talks. The latter sessions were meant for presenters of posters to outline the contents of their work shortly in front of a full audience (approx. 300 persons). Personally, I liked the idea of poster spotlight sessions and would like to recommend it to future organisers. Jean-Arcady Meyer MONDAY The conference venue: College de France Once every two years the adaptive behaviour community comes together to exchange ideas on how to build autonomous systems that interact with their environment and that are able to adapt to The first invited lecture was delivered by Alain Berthoz who talked about brain mechanisms for navigation and spatial memory. Prof. Berthoz is head of the physiology lab at the College de France in Paris and his group focuses on the physiology of perception and action. Amongst other examples he mentioned the research on neural networks mediating gaze stabilisation in natural and artificial visual systems. The morning continued with methodological talks on the animat approach to adaptive behaviour, i.e. the approach of studying the concept of adaptivity through building situated agents (animats) that interact with their environment. Amongst others, the Dutch PhDstudents Bram Bakker and Michiel de Jong presented their work on the epsilon state count, a technique to estimate the number of states in an BNVKI newsletter 112

12 animat. Moreover, the technique can be applied to estimate the number of states necessary to perform a particular task in a particular environment. Altogether, the epsilon state count can be used to compare different animats and different environments, concerning the number of states. The poster spotlight sessions continued with a few methodological papers, but were mainly concerned with the topic of perception and motor control. The coupling of perception and motor control is a key issue in neuroethological research, as well as in autonomous systems design. Examples of the presentations include the research on visuo-motor control in simulated salamanders (Auke Jan Ijspeert and Michael Arbib), the evolution of ear shape in an artificial bat performing echo-location (Jose Carmena et al.), and the application of highly adaptive neural oscillator networks to the motor control of animats (Artur Arsenio). TUESDAY Tuesday, the second day of the conference, started with a guest lecture by Stephen Grossberg who talked about brain mechanisms of autonomous adaptive behaviour. His work mainly focuses on self-stabilising development and learning in the human brain and the application to autonomous systems design. Thereafter, more work on perception and motor control was presented, followed by talks concerning action selection - decision making in autonomous systems on `what to do next'. A remarkable talk was given by Myra Wilson and Mark Neal who discussed the usefulness of autonomous behaviour in a teleoperated robot. The researchers had built a teleoperated sheep-dog robot that controlled a robotic sheep. They concluded that adding little autonomy to the robot's behaviour greatly reduced the amount of operator interactions with the robot. However, the returns of making the robot completely independent of a human controller did not live up to the design efforts. This observation holds for many tele-operated systems. inspiration for their own algorithms mediating visually-guided behaviour. The other way round, biologists use robotic models to gain understanding of the insect visual system. The day was devoted to the topics of navigation and (evolutionary) learning and featured talks and poster highlight sessions on, for instance, modeling head-direction cells and place cells of rodents for spatial learning in a biomimetic robot (Angelo Arleo and Wulfram Gerstner), multi-agent reinforcement learning (Ron Sun and Chad Sessions), the development of communication (Edwin de Jong), and the evolution of visual resolution (yours truly et al.). THURSDAY Thursday morning was dedicated to a series of talks and the afternoon featured demonstrations of all sorts. Raphael Holzer gave an invited lecture on interfacing electronics with living beings. Already on the first day Karen Fleming et al. presented their work in which a lamprey's brain constituted the control mechanism of a mobile robot. Here we had yet another example of combining hard-ware and wet-ware. The afternoon sessions comprised plenary presentations by Owen Holland and Frederique Kaplan followed by a number of parallel demos. Holland gave a retrospective on one of the relatively unknown pioneers in the field of adaptive behaviour: Grey Walter. The talk comprised a demonstration of one of Walter's animats from the early 1950s - an artificial tortoise made of analogue circuitry and spare parts of domestic appliances. In contrast, Kaplan demonstrated experiments on a brand new type of robot: Sony's Aibo, the robot dog. The research involved teaching the robot names of objects it perceived with its camera. Other demonstrations included computer programs simulating spatial behaviour of agents (Vicen QueraDepto) and a patrolling Khepera robot (J. Diard and O. Lebeltel). WEDNESDAY On Wednesday Mandyam Srinivasan began the day by giving a talk on insect vision and navigation and the application to robots. It is known that insects perform robust, complex navigation using extremely small brains when compared to mammals or other higher animal species. Moreover, for their behaviour the insects rely on their visual system to a great extent. It is for this reason that many roboticists interested in autonomous behaviour look at the insect visual system and neural mechanisms in order to gain Owen Holland and his artificial tortoise. BNVKI newsletter 113

13 (e.g. J. Knowles), and speech as adaptive behaviour (L. Steels). Sunday featured a range of tutorials on topics such as bio-informatics (D.W. Corne), evolutionary robotics (D. Floreano and S. Nolfi), and embodied cognitive science (R. Pfeifer). The artificial tortoise and Sony s aibo. FRIDAY Friday was the last day of the official conference and was opened by guest speaker Jean-Pierre Aubin with a mathematical talk applying viability theory to animat design. The day continued with a session on evolution that featured, amongst others, work by Andrew Slocum et al. on the development of minimally cognitive behaviour in an artificial system based on recurrent neural networks. The last sessions of the conference were dedicated to collective behaviour and communication in groups of animats and to applied adaptive behaviour. Examples are the study of the communication system and numerical competence in ants (Zhanna Reznikova and Boris Ryabko), the grounding of a language in mobile robots (Paul Vogt), and the use of mobile robots in the rehabilitation of children with autism (Kerstin Dautenhahn and Iain Werry). Autistic children lack mechanisms to relate to and interpret the social world around them. It is argued that by letting the child play with mobile robots, it will actually learn to appreciate social interaction. Ultimately, it is hoped that the child will make an effort to connect to the social world, which will increase the quality of their life. Demonstration of six-legged robots. Altogether, I found the conference very successful. The next SAB conference will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, in September The event will be chaired by John Hallam, Gillian Hayes and Bridget Hallam of the division of informatics of the University of Edinburgh. I am looking forward to the conference and hope some of the readers have become interested to attend as well. J-A. Meyer, A. Berthoz, D. Floreano, H. Roitblat, and S.W. Wilson (eds.) (2000). From animals to animats 6, proceedings of the sixth international conference on simulation of adaptive behavior, MIT Press, Cambridge. The SAB 2000 web-page: Demonstration of Aibo. The weekend after the conference was devoted to workshops on various topics such as classifier systems (W. Stolzman), evolutionary computation BNVKI newsletter 114

14 SECTION COMPUTATIONAL LINGUISTICS Section-Editor Antal van den Bosch THE SEARCH FOR THE NLP KILLER APP AN IMPRESSION OF ACL 2000 Antal van den Bosch Tilburg University Despite all efforts to get NLP (natural language processing) software as standard issue on everyone s desktop, most people have not seen much more than the red and green curly lines that the worlds most widely used word processor places below misspelled or awkward sentences in a seemingly random fashion. There is no such thing as linguistically intelligent web searching yet boolean search over keywords rules. Speech recognition? Dialogue systems? Proofing tools? Maybe you know this poem (and this is only an excerpt): I have a spelling checker, It came with my PC It plane lee marks four my revue Miss steaks eye can knot sea. Eye ran this poem threw it. You sure reel glad two no Its vary polished in it s weigh, My checker tolled me sew. WAHLSTER All seemed lost until last ACL ACL is the Association for Computational Linguistics, which holds a yearly international conference on its own topic and aim; it also has spawned a European and a North-American chapter which both hold biannual conferences (EACL and NAACL, respectively previous reports in this newsletter have covered recent instantiations). These conferences typically attract several hundreds of attendees, and these numbers are growing, indicating a healthy research field as well as a growing interest from the market. ACL s current president is Wolfgang Wahlster, a well-known character also in the AI world, as he has been involved in ECCAI and has been a onetime invited speaker of the NAIC, for that matter (Antwerp, 1997). Wahlster is best known for his coordination of the very big VERBMOBIL project in which speech-to-speech systems were developed: imagine two businessmen, one German and one Japanese, speaking to eachother over the phone in their own languages, while hearing the other also in their own language speech-to-speech translated in between by the VERBMOBIL engine. It was Wahlster who, at his presidential address during the ACL-2000 banquet, revealed the killer application that will bring NLP into every household. The banquet was held at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the host of the conference. The location attracted a top number of Asian researchers to the conference. Rightfully so, because computational linguistics is a very hot topic in the multi-lingual Asian part of the world, in which markets are already huge (Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea) or developing to be huge (China, Malaysia). Even the two computational linguists from the Philippines were there altogether, bringing ACL to Hong Kong was a major achievement and a brilliant move of ACL. KILLER APP? So what is this killer app? It is certainly simpler than most of the applications presented at the conference. The fact that most of the presentations at the conference were on applications is perhaps a surprise to someone who knows computational linguistics from the 1970s, 1980s or early 1990s; the change that has taken place is that people have massively embraced statistical and other corpusand data-based techniques (machine learning, neural networks, data mining in general), and have applied them to existing and manually-annotated language data to produce language technology applications that work, robustly, sometimes quite accurately even, and often much more accurate than man-crafted rule-based systems from the past decennia. As a down note on this development, the quality of presentations has levelled and has become a repeating tune that will sound familiar to those who have been at AAAI, IJCAI, and ICML conferences: we have a (language) task, we have a technique that is basically suited for the task, we have added some innocent heuristics, and the number/graph that summarizes our results is the following:... For the critical viewer who expects to see deeper insights, real new ideas, and alta vista papers, this sometimes strikes as a monotony. On the other hand, I think it illustrates how close computational linguistics has come to the AI conferences I mentioned a few lines earlier. BNVKI newsletter 115

15 The best papers (in case your interest is aroused, you are welcome to browse in or search for the authors names on the web), in my view, were Spoken Dialogue Management Using Probabilistic Reasoning by Nicholas Roy, Joelle Pineau and Sebastian Thrun from Carnegie Mellon University, about a nursing robot that can hold a decent conversation using POMDP models of the ongoing (partly misheard) spoken dialogue, and Rule Writing or Annotation: Cost-efficient Resource Usage for Base Noun Phrase Chunking by Grace Ngai and David Yarowsky, Johns Hopkins University. This is a highly personal choice. The common hot themes found in the conference were machine learning for tagging and chunking (i.e., low-level parsing useful for other tasks such as information retrieval), machine translation with Asian languages, stochastic grammars, term and entity extraction and labeling in free texts, web and text mining, and automatic question answering. Y2K Enough deviation what was the killer app? The answer is in the now the Y2K. Wahlster presented it with pride: finally computational linguistics has produced an answer to a worldencompassing problem, the Y2K-bug, which has, according to Wahlster, a non-numerical solution rather than the clumsy numerical bug fixing originating from bad programming (not by computational linguists obviously!). As a first product, ACL has produced a calendar for the year 2000 that fully complies with Y2K. You will find an exciting excerpt on page 123 of this newsletter. SIKS MASTERCLASS I-BUSINESS in Tilburg On October 31, the day before BNAIC00, the School for Information and Knowledge Systems (SIKS) organizes a masterclass in Tilburg on the theme "i(-ntelligent) business". Main speaker is prof Yoav Shoham who is also invited speaker at BNAIC. In this masterclass, Yoav Shoham will give an in-depth overview of auction theory. In the morning session, presentations are given by two Dutch companies active in the field of business intelligence. The program for this day is as follows: Welcome, coffee Section Editor Richard Starmans Business Intelligence in practice (Synergetics) Data mining and Customer Relationship Management (Data Distilleries) lunch ANNOUNCEMENT FOR BNVKI-AIABN MEMBERS The preliminary version of the monetary.survey of the BNVKI can be obtained via the BNVKI homepage Combining Data and Knowledge (Hennie Daniels, KUB/EUR) Auction theory (Yoav Shoham, Stanford) drinks COSTS F 25,- for Ph.D.-students and members of SIKS (lunch included). The fee must be paid at the start of the masterclass in Tilburg (SIKS will repay this amount to its Ph.D.-students). For others, the costs are F 50,-. Note that there is a limited number of seats. BNVKI newsletter 116

16 DATE October 31, 2000 LOCATION: Tilburg University (main building), room B702. See for how to get to the university. REGISTRATION: Registration must be done in advance. Preferably by to Alice Kloosterhuis, phone , fax For more information on the program, you can also contact Hans Weigand, The masterclass is organized in cooperation with the SOBU working group Logica & Informatiesystemen. As the masterclass is part of the "advanced components stage" of SIKS' educational program, all SIKS- Ph.D-students are strongly encouraged to participate. CALL FOR PARTICIPATION AND REGISTRATION BASIC COURSES Electronic Commerce (B7) and Internet Computing (B8) 11 december- 15 december 2000 For SIKS-Ph.D. Students and others interested in both topics INFORMATION From December 11 till December 15, the School for Information and Knowledge Systems (SIKS) organizes two basic courses: Electronic Commerce (B7) and Internet Computing (B8) in Driebergen (Zeist). The location will be conference-center "Kerk en Wereld". Both courses will be given in English and are part of the obligatory Basic Course Program for SIKS- Ph.D. Students. Although these courses are primarily intended for SIKS-Ph.D. Students, other participants are not excluded. However, their number of passes will be restricted and depends on the number of SIKS-Ph.D. Students taking the course. ORGANIZATION dr. H. Weigand (KUB) and dr. F. Dignum (UU) CONTENT There is a provisionary program, attached to this message. However, the schedule has not been completed yet and some names must be filled as well. More details will be available at our site as soon as possible. COSTS SIKS-Ph.D. students will not be billed. Other groups will be charged as follows: - Students of ASCI, GST, OzsL and IPA: f. 1150,- - Other academic participants: f. 1500,- - Non-academic participants: f. 2000,- A reduction is possible for those participants that follow only part of the program. REGISTRATION Anyone who is interested in the courses, is kindly requested to contact Janneke Nolles for registration! You can reach her preferably by e- mail: Please inform her whether you are a SIKS Ph.D. Student or not and whether you are a vegetarean or not. After your registration you will receive the final program and other details about the courses as soon as possible. For further questions about the content of the course, please contact the coordinator of SIKS. PROVISIONARY PROGRAM Monday: Welcome by prof. dr. J.-J.Ch. Meyer (UU), Scientific Director of SIKS Opening by Hans Weigand (KUB) Interorganizational workflow (Paul Grefen, UT) lunch BNVKI newsletter 117

17 Process Integration (Jian Yang, KUB) Security & Privacy in Cyberspace (Reind vd Riet, VU) coffee break Embedded internet (L. Feijs, TUE) Tuesday: Internet II (Egon Verharen, SURF) Workshop M-commerce (Petra v Krugten, Cap Gemini) Friday: EC markets and agents (lecturer unknown) Exercises (case) lunch payments and security Legal aspecs of EC Drinks More details will be available in the next edition of this newsletter. Wednesday: Intro Electronic Commerce by F. Dignum (UU) Intro case + first discussion (F. Dignum) Modeling of processes/ EDI versus EC Lunch Electronic contracts and trustworthy trade procedures Organisations and EC Coördinator Research School SIKS Dr. R.J.C.M..Starmans P.O. Box TB UTRECHT Tel: (030) / The SIKS homepage contains up-to-date information on SIKS activities Exercises (Case) Thursday: Data integration plus catalogs (lecturer unknown) Exercises (Case) lunch datamining and userprofiling exercise (Case) communities (let's buy it or let's sell it?) BNVKI newsletter 118

18 SECTION KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS IN LAW AND COMPUTER SCIENCE Section-Editor Radboud Winkels WOORDGEBRUIK EN CONCEPTEN IN JURIDISCHE TEKSTEN Verslag van JURIX-lezing Kees van Noortwijk, 13 september 2000 Arno R. Lodder Computer/Law Institute, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Op 13 september j.l. heeft Kees van Noortwijk van de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam tijdens een door de Vrije Universiteit georganiseerde Jurixbijeenkomst een presentatie gegeven over het onderzoek waar de Rotterdamse groep onder leiding van prof. Richard De Mulder zich mee bezighoudt. JURICAS Van Noortwijk begon met het geven van een beknopt historisch overzicht. In de jaren tachtig werd vooral gewerkt aan computeradviessystemen. Deze zogenaamde JURICAS-systemen zijn wereldwijd bekend (onder andere gepresenteerd op de International Conference on Artificial Intelligence & Law 1991). In 1996 is tijdens het jaarlijkse JURIX-congres, voortbouwend op het proefschrift Het woordgebruik meester waarop Van Noortwijk in 1995 promoveerde, ingegaan op het formaliseren van concepten met behulp van een prototype zoeksysteem. Deze concepten werden nader ingevuld met voorbeelden en tegenvoorbeelden van documenten die volgens de gebruiker tot het concept behoren. In uitspraken van de Hoge Raad is op basis hiervan naar soortgelijke arresten gezocht, waarbij de gelijkenis van het gehele document meespeelde. Aangetoond werd dat karakteristieken van juridisch woordgebruik meetbaar zijn. In 1997 is tijdens een Jurix-bijeenkomst een andere methode beschreven (zonder gebruik te maken van voorbeelden en tegenvoorbeelden) voor het zoeken naar vergelijkbare documenten. Hierbij wordt zowel gekeken naar het voorkomen van woorden als naar het vermijden van woorden, bovendien wegen zelden voorkomende woorden zwaarder. Op basis van statistische overeenkomst wordt een clustering van documenten aangebracht. De resultaten hiervan stemmen bemoedigend. Interessant is dat beide beschreven methodes sinds eind jaren negentig in het onderwijs worden gebruikt om mogelijk plagiaat bij studenten te constateren. Bovendien bleek op basis van puur het voorkomen van woorden een goede voorspelling te kunnen worden gedaan over de kwaliteit van het door de student ingeleverde werkstuk. Om bovenstaande analyses mogelijk te maken zijn studenten verplicht hun werkstukken (mede) elektronisch in te leveren. SIMILARITEIT Sinds een aantal jaren wordt inmiddels onderzoek gedaan naar bepalende factoren in rechterlijke beslissingen. In het feitencomplex van een zaak wordt gekeken naar de factoren die in positieve of negatieve zin bijdragen aan de uitkomst van de zaak. Dit zijn in de eerste plaats direct herkenbare factoren als soort rechter (Kantonrechter, Rechtbank) en welke personen rechter waren. Daarnaast zijn er ook minder snel te identificeren factoren zoals in voogdijzaken de argumenten door belanghebbenden danwel betrokkenen naar voren gebracht (zie ook het proefschrift Kennis van Zaken uit 1998 van Lia Combrink-Kuiters). De factoren worden met de hand geïdentificeerd. Dit is, met name voor de niet direct herkenbare factoren, erg arbeidsintensief. Echter, de resultaten van het onderzoek zijn veelbelovend. Door gebruik te maken van similariteit blijkt het nu mogelijk te zijn zaken waarin een bepaalde factor voorkomt automatisch te identificeren, vaak met een hoge mate van waarschijnlijkheid. WOLLIGE UITSPRAKEN Het Rotterdamse onderzoek heeft een lange traditie en tot ondermeer de bovengenoemde interessante resultaten geleid. Dit type onderzoek wordt tot de jurimetrie, de empirische rechtswetenschap, gerekend. Dit verslag sluit ik af met een citaat van de Rotterdamse onderzoekers: De cliënten van juridische dienstverleners, bijvoorbeeld managers van op winst gerichte bedrijven, zullen binnenkort niet langer genoegen nemen met wollige uitspraken, maar zullen betrouwbare schattingen van kosten en risico s wensen. Om aan deze marktwens te voldoen zullen juristen ander grondwerk moeten verrichten. Zij zullen jurimetrie moeten gaan beoefenen (Informatietechnologie voor juristen, 1999, p. 261). Het kan niet anders dan dat deze uitspraak door informatici van harte onderschreven wordt. BNVKI newsletter 119

19 VERBINTENISRECHTELIJKE ASPECTEN VAN INTELLIGENT AGENTS Verslag van de jurix-presentatie aan de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam door Marten Voulon. Door Martin Apistola INLEIDING Marten Voulon is sinds juni 2000 verbonden aan het Computer/Law Institute van de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Als Assistent in Opleiding (AiO) houdt hij zich bezig met onderzoek naar de verbintenisrechtelijke aspecten van intelligent agents. In zijn presentatie stelde Voulon de vraag wat een intelligent agent is. Daarnaast ging hij in op enkele juridische aspecten. Een van de hoofdvragen was hoe een agent zijn gebruiker juridisch zal binden. De presentatie gaf met name een inleidend beeld van het onderzoek dat Voulon sinds juni verricht. INTELLIGENT AGENTS Ten eerste vroeg Voulon zich af wat een intelligent agent is. Het blijkt dat er een groot aantal definities voorhanden is. Voulon stelde dat een intelligent agent een computersysteem is dat de volgende eigenschappen bezit: - Autonomy; het computersysteem kan taken uitvoeren zonder de directe tussenkomst van mensen of andere agenten. - Reactivity; het systeem kan zijn omgeving waarnemen en tijdig reageren op veranderingen in de omgeving. - Pro-activeness; het systeem neemt initiatieven. - Social ability; het systeem is in staat om een interactie aan te gaan met andere (kunstmatige) agenten. Er bestaan veel soorten agents. Voorbeelden hiervan zijn: collaborative agents, mobile agents en internet agents. Voulon ging niet in op de verschillende categorieën. Wel gaf hij een aantal voorbeelden van in de praktijk toegepaste agentsystemen, zoals de Microsoft agent 1, het Bonzi systeem 2 en het El-cheapo systeem e.asp 3 AGENT ARCHITECTUREN Ten tweede behandelde Voulon naast de genoemde voorbeelden van agenten een drietal agent architecturen die zijn ontstaan uit het onderzoeksgebied robotica: - logic based architectures De agent bewerkt intern een symbolische weergave van de omgeving. Deze architectuur vormt de klassieke benadering van de kunstmatige intelligentie. - reactive architectures De agent bewerkt intern de interacties die er zijn geweest met de omgeving. De mate van intelligentie van de agent blijkt uit de interactie met de omgeving en de interactie tussen eenvoudige gedragingen. - belief, desire en intention architectures De agent maakt plannen op basis van beliefs (kennis), desires (wensen) en intentions (bedoelingen). Deze opvattingen kunnen in de loop van de tijd veranderen. De agent is resourcebounded hetgeen betekent dat de agent niet voortdurend kan redeneren. Handelingen moeten worden uitgevoerd. Voulon noemde als voorbeeld van een ontwikkelarchitectuur DESIRE (DEsign and Specification of Interacting REasoning components). AGENTS EN E-COMMERCE Het volgende onderwerp dat Voulon in relatie tot agents besprak was e-commerce. Hij noemde een aantal agentsystemen die kunnen worden ingezet in de e-commerce, te weten: - Kasbah (MIT) Dit is een van de eerste (1996) experimenten waarmee agents gecreëerd konden worden om producten te kopen of te verkopen via het Internet. - Information Economies Project (IBM) Dit project houdt zich bezig met de economische analyse van onderhandelingen door agenten. Een bekend fenomeen is tegenwoordig de digitale veiling op het Internet. Een voorbeeld is Amazon.com s Bid Click waarbij de gebruiker juridisch aan het systeem gebonden is en de (juridische) koop door het systeem tot stand wordt gebracht. Een ander voorbeeld is de ebay s Proxy Bid veiling waarbij het bod van de gebruiker al wordt aangemerkt als contract. AGENTS EN VERTEGENWOORDIGING Voulon vroeg zich tijdens de presentatie af of een agent een rechtssubject is en derhalve rechtshandelingen kan verrichten en of er misschien BNVKI newsletter 120

20 sprake kan zijn van vertegenwoordiging. Om een antwoord hierop te geven kijkt Voulon onder andere naar de constructie van de wil bij EDIsystemen. Hij noemt een viertal, door onder andere Van Esch in EDI en het vermogensrecht genoemde theorieën, te weten: 1. Vertegenwoordigingstheorie De agent treedt op als vertegenwoordiger van zijn gebruiker. 2. Theorie van de geprogrammeerde wil De wil blijkt uit de instellingen van het systeem zoals door de gebruiker ingesteld. 3. Theorie van de algemene wil De wil blijkt uit het in gebruik nemen van het systeem. 4. Theorie van de raamovereenkomst Bij de ontwikkeling van de agent wordt onder andere vastgelegd aan welke standaarden de agent moet voldoen. LICITA Ook kan er gekeken worden naar wettelijke regelingen van agents uit de Verenigde Staten. Hiertoe gaf Voulon een tweetal voorbeelden, te weten de Uniform Computer Information Transaction Act (UCITA) en de Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESGNC). Uit de eerste wet komt een juridische definitie van een agent: electronic agent means a computer program or an electronic or other automated means used independently to initiate an action or respond to electronic records or performances (..) without review or action by an individual at the time of the action or response. Voulon stelde vast dat het vanuit juridisch oogpunt niet zozeer van belang is wat nou de technische definitie van een agent is. Het gaat erom wat vanuit juridisch oogpunt relevant is. Naar Nederlands recht is het volgens Voulon van belang dat de feitelijke handelingen steeds verder verwijderd raken van de wil van de gebruiker: onder andere de wil is namelijk bepalend voor de totstandkoming van een overeenkomst. Discussies over de betekenis van "autonomy", "reactiveness", en "proactiveness" doen daarbij niet rechtstreeks ter zake. In de ESGNC act wordt het volgende beschreven: a contract may not be denied legal effect (..) solely because its formation (..) involved the action of one or more electronic agents so long as the action of any such electronic agent is legally attributable to the person to be bound. Uit de discussies gedurende de presentatie bleek dat een eenduidige uitleg van deze wet moeilijk te maken is. Zo kan de vraag gesteld worden wanneer een agent legally attributable is. In de UCITA is de volgende bepaling opgenomen: a person that uses an electronic agent (..), is bound by the operations of the electronic agent, even if no individual was aware of or reviewed the agent s operations or the results of the operations. De toelichting van de UCITA vermeldt: The electronic agent must be operating within its intended purpose. For human agents, this is often described in terms of acting within the scope of authority. Ook hierbij werd er over de juiste interpretatie gediscussieerd. Want slaat bijvoorbeeld de its nu op de elektronische agent of op het doel van de agent? Een andere regeling die door Voulon werd gepresenteerd beschrijft een wettelijke bepaling voor het verdedigen van een consument tegen een agent: in an automated transaction, a consumer is not bound by an electronic message that the consumer did not intend and which was caused by an electronic error (..). Een consument is dus volgens een wettelijke regeling in de V.S. niet gebonden aan een elektronisch bericht dat niet door hem bedoeld was en het gevolg was van een elektronische fout. Gedurende de presentatie gaf de weergave van de diverse bepalingen aanleiding tot veel discussie over de interpretatie ervan. Tot slot formuleerde Voulon een tweetal onderzoeksvragen die volgens hem moeten worden beantwoord. De eerste vraag is of het vereist is om het Nederlandse recht aan te passen en ten tweede of de vertegenwoordigingstheorie moet worden toegepast. CONCLUSIE Het begrip agent blijkt nog op velerlei wijzen gedefinieerd te kunnen worden, dus zeker het begrip intelligent agent. Inbedding van dit onzekere begrip in het Nederlandse verbintenissenrecht kent nog eens evenzoveel vragen en onzekerheden. Voulon begeeft zich op een complex, doch zeer interessant vlak van technologische ontwikkelingen zoals agentsystemen waarbij juridische aspecten een grote rol zullen spelen. Iets dat in ieder geval voldoende stof oplevert voor onderzoek. END SECTION KNOWLEDGE IN LAW AND COMPUTER SCIENCE BNVKI newsletter 121

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