ESSENCE Research

Vision

In everyday life, humans exhibit strong skills in resolving communication problems by re-negotiating what they mean. Modern-day computational systems, however, are lacking in resilience and robustness in this respect. Whenever different components with different vocabularies and models of meaning interact within distributed, open enviroments, they have to rely on their human designers’ abilities to resolve problems of miscommunication.

The aim of the ESSENCE network is to translate these abilities of natural communicating systems to computational systems in order to improve their resilience and robustness, and by doing so to also make these systems more comprehensible to human users. To this end, we bring together research on phenomena observed in human communication with research from areas that investigate heterogeneous computational communicating systems.

ESSENCE operates as a transnational virtual research centre that brings together researchers from computational systems that take inspiration from human-based models and vice versa. This centre generates new expertise through research on specific sub-topics, which act as thematic focal points within the area of shared, evolving semantics.

The network's activities focus on training a new cadre of researchers in the state of the art of relevant areas, adopting a holistic approach that spans across existing disciplinary boundaries. Our programme of interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial training involves a diverse range of non-academic and industrial partners, and aims to ground our research in appropriate application contexts to improve the employability of network participants.

ESSENCE aims to build a sustainable European research base for future training, research collaboration and commercial exploitation of new techniques in the area. It seeks to establish strong collaborative links with third parties, and promote interest in the broader area through targeted public engagement and outreach activities.

Research themes

Our work is split into four thematic areas, each addressing core research questions that contribute toward the overall vision of ESSENCE. Integration of these is driven by three core application domains, to which all themes contribute models, algorithms, and experimental results.

ESSENCE Research Topics

Objectives

The network will build a sustainable European research base for future training, research collaboration and commercial exploitation of novel techniques in the area, and establish strong collaborative links with third parties. It will also promote interest in the broader area through targeted public engagement and outreach activities. To achieve this overall aim, we will pursue the following more specific objectives:

  1. Bridging the gap between the sub-areas involved through a joint programme of research that will produce novel integrated results to enable a step change in the state of the art.
  2. Expanding European research capacities in the area that will grow beyond the duration of the project by seeding the people pipeline with experts trained in appropriate skills.
  3. Improving cross-sectorial collaboration in the area by bringing stakeholders from different domains together and addressing technological challenges driven by their business needs.
  4. Developing a holistic approach to research training in the area by establishing training links among partners with key expertise and improving collaborative ties among them.

ESSENCE will achieve these goals by following a principled methodology that will enable a crossover between existing bottom-up and top-down approaches, training a cadre of top-quality young researchers within this scientific context. The transnational virtual research lab it will create will have sufficient critical mass to foster the development of an international ESSENCE community, and to lay the foundations for future industrial exploitation of ESSENCE technologies.