Category Archives: Training

1st Autumn School—Bursaries

We offer a number of generous bursaries for the Autumn School. Young researchers, including students, are strongly encouraged to apply. Please provide a Curriculum Vitae and a motivation letter to be considered for funding. Two types of bursaries are offered:

  • a full bursary covers registration, accommodation, and full board for 5 nights: you just need to pay for your travel;
  • a registration-only bursary covers the registration fee only (210€).

Bursaries are subject to availability and applications are examined individually. In order to be eligible for a bursary, you must register before 5 October. To apply, please register using this form.

1st Autumn School—Programme

Pre-School Event: Sunday 26th October

For ESSENCE Fellows, there will be a pre-School excursion on Sunday 26th October. Information on this excursion can be found here. Please note that this is an internal event that is not open to non-ESSENCE participants.

Day 1: Monday 27th October
09:00 - 09:30 Welcome
09:30 - 11:00 Tutorial 1 (Part 1) - Ontology Matching by Pavel Shvaiko
11:00 - 11:30 Coffee break
11:30 - 13:00 Tutorial 1 (Part 2) - Ontology Matching by Pavel Shvaiko
13:00 - 14:30 Lunch break
14:30 - 16:00 Tutorial 2 (Part 1) - Iterated Learning by Simon Kirby
16:00 - 16:30 Coffee break
16:30 - 18:00 Tutorial 2 (Part 2) - Iterated Learning by Simon Kirby
19:00 - 20:00 Opening reception
20:00 - 21:00 Dinner
Day 2: Tuesday 28th October
09:00 - 10:00 Lecture 1 - Linguistic and Knowledge Resources by Vincenzo Maltese
10:00 - 11:00 Lecture 2 - Agreement Computing by Carles Sierra
11:00 - 11:30 Coffee break
11:30 - 12:30 Lecture 3 - Reformation: A Domain-Independent Algorithm for Theory Repair by Alan Bundy
13:00 - 14:30 Lunch break
14:30 - 16:00 Tutorial 3 (Part 1) - Dialogue Semantics and Pragmatics by David Schlangen
16:00 - 16:30 Coffee break
16:30 - 18:00 Tutorial 3 (Part 2) - Dialogue Semantics and Pragmatics by David Schlangen
20:00 - 21:00 Dinner
21:00 - 22:00 After-dinner speaker: Carles Sierra - How to do the PhD and survive it
Day 3: Wednesday 29th October
09:30 - 11:00 Tutorial 4 (Part 1) - Decision-theoretic Approaches in Multiagent Systems by Matthijs Spaan
11:00 - 11:30 Coffee break
11:30 - 13:00 Tutorial 4 (Part 2) - Decision-theoretic Approaches in Multiagent Systems by Matthijs Spaan
13:00 - 14:30 Lunch break
14:30 - 16:00 Tutorial 5 (Part 1) - Argumentation and Dialogue by Sanjay Modgil
16:00 - 16:30 Coffee break
16:30 - 18:00 Tutorial 5 (Part 2) - Argumentation and Dialogue by Sanjay Modgil
20:00 - 21:00 Dinner
Day 4: Thursday 30th October
09:30 - 11:00 Course (Part 1) - Taking Control of your Research Project by Sara Shinton
11:00 - 11:30 Coffee break
11:30 - 13:00 Course (Part 2) - Taking Control of your Research Project by Sara Shinton
13:00 - 14:30 Closing lunch
Post-School Event: Thursday 30th and Friday 31st October
2nd ESSENCE Workshop - Ad Hoc Approaches to ESSENCE problems

The Autumn School will be followed by an internal ESSENCE Workshop which is not open to non-network participants.

1st Autumn School—Topics and Speakers


General Report on the 1st ESSENCE Autumn School by Pavlos Andreadis

Photo of Alan Bundy

Alan Bundy (University of Edinburgh)

Reformation: A Domain-Independent Algorithm for Theory Repair

We describe and invite discussion on work in progress on reformation, a new algorithm for the automated repair of faulty logical theories. A fault is revealed by a reasoning failure: either the proof of a false theorem or the failure to prove a true conjecture. Repair suggestions are systematically extracted via analysis of the attempted unification of two formulae. These suggestions will either block an unwanted but successful unification or unblock a wanted but failed unification attempt. In contrast to traditional belief revision and abduction mechanisms, the repairs are to the language of the theory as well as to the deletion or addition of axioms.


Slides (PDF)

Alan's Bio:
Alan Bundy is Professor of Automated Reasoning in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests include: the automation of mathematical reasoning, with applications to reasoning about the correctness of computer software and hardware; and the automatic construction, analysis and evolution of representations of knowledge, also called ontologies. His research combines artificial intelligence with theoretical computer science and applies this to practical problems in the development and maintenance of computing systems. He is the author of 272 publications and has held 60 research grants.
He is a fellow of several academic societies, including the Royal Society, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Academy of Engineers. The major awards for his research include the IJCAI Research Excellence Award (2007) and the CADE Herbrand Award (2007). He was awarded a CBE in 2012. He was Head of Informatics at Edinburgh (1998-2001) and a member of: the Hewlett-Packard Research Board (1989-91); the ITEC Foresight Panel (1994-96) and both the 2001 and 2008 Computer Science RAE panels (1999-2001, 2005-8). He was the founding Convener of UKCRC (2000-5), a member of the Scottish Science Advisory Committee (2008-12) and a Vice President and Trustee of the British Computer Society with special responsibility for the Academy of Computing (2010-12).

More about Alan Bundy:

Photo of Pavel Shvaiko

Pavel Shvaiko (Informatica Trentina)

Ontology Matching

Ontology matching is the task of finding relationships between different ontologies. In semantic web practice it is very important for mediating queries across data sources expressed in different ontologies or for interlinking open data, for instance. Ontology matching has benefited from years of very active research. The goal of this tutorial is to present ontology matching in an inclusive framework and to show by example how this is instantiated in tools for matching and manipulating alignments between ontologies. It also aims at presenting extensions of this framework towards more intricate questions (scalability, reasoning, involving other resources and people): these will also be discussed in a general way and illustrated on practical examples. This tutorial is targeted at people needing to involve ontology matching in their works, at practitioners who want to concretely learn how to start with ontology matching, and at students who are starting research involving ontology matching.

Videos (ESSENCE members only)

Slides (PDF)

Pavel's Bio:
Pavel Shvaiko, PhD, is a programme manager, and head of the Culture & Tourism area at Informatica Trentina. He has provided various consulting services, co-authored and co-edited a number of books, contributed to, and published in various international journals and conferences in the fields of Semantic Web, Artificial Intelligence, and Information Systems. He coordinated/participated in a number of European and national industrial projects (e.g., Vivi Fiemme or Your Trentino, which provide a mobile platform for an enhanced tourist experience in the context of big events, such as World Nordic Ski championship of 2013 and Winter Universiade 2013). His specialties include: strategic consulting, innovation management, research and business development with topics involving semantic heterogeneity management.

More about Pavel Shvaiko:

Photo of David Schlangen

David Schlangen (University of Bielefeld)

Dialogue Semantics and Pragmatics

The predominant way in which humans create shared meaning is via verbal interaction. This holds both for the acquisition of concepts during infancy as well as for everyday interactions. In this tutorial, I will sketch the basics of how linguistics studies verbal interaction. There is a fundamental puzzle that the study of interaction needs to address: A belief in the narrow sense can only be "in" one head, but yet in the wider sense, we can talk about interlocutors, after interacting, coming to "share beliefs". The need to deal with the uncertainty that is inherent in this process of communication, that is, of making something common, is what structures dialogue, as we will see.
In the second part of the tutorial, we will look at one particular approach to studying this problem, namely by building artificial agents that can take part in dialogue and create some semblance of shared meaning (and ideally, do something useful).

Slides part 1 (PDF)
Slides part 2 (PDF)

David's Bio:
David Schlangen is a professor of Applied Computational Linguistics at Bielefeld University. His main research interest is in language use and verbal interaction. He studies instances of such language use in (more or less) natural settings (but in the lab), deriving from these observations formal models, which he also often implements in computer systems. The goal of the modelling work is to contribute to the understanding of the phenomenon "language use", as well as, in the case of the computer implementations, to build more natural and easy to use interfaces for interacting, or even cooperating, with computer systems.
He teaches classes on "text technology" (basically, computational linguistics with some elements of computing for the humanities) and more generally on speech and language technology (mostly dialogue systems), corpus linguistics, and semantics and pragmatics. Besides this work on dialogue, he also maintains an interest in discourse processing in general, among other things in automatically analysing sentiment in texts.

More about David Schlangen:

Photo of Simon Kirby

Simon Kirby (University of Edinburgh)

Iterated Learning: induction, cultural evolution, and the origins of linguistic structure

Abstract: Iterated learning describes the process whereby an individual learns their behaviour by exposure to another individual’s behaviour, who themselves learnt it in the same way. It can be seen as a key mechanism of cultural evolution. In this workshop, I will review various methods for understanding how behaviour is shaped by the iterated learning process: computational agent-based simulations; mathematical modelling; and laboratory experiments in humans and non-human animals. I will show how this framework has been used to explain the origins of linguistic structure - specifically, the fundamental “design features” of human language (e.g. compositionality, duality of patterning, recursion). We will discuss how cultural evolution might be considered alongside biological evolution in explanations of language origins, and the extent to which modelling iterated learning can solve some of the puzzles surrounding human uniqueness.

Videos (ESSENCE members only)

Slides (PDF)

Simon's Bio:
Simon Kirby is a professor of Language Evolution at the University of Edinburgh. His work concerns the origin and evolution of language, and the unique ways that culture and biology interact in our species. He has pioneered a new approach to understanding cultural evolution of behaviours such as language which is called Iterated Learning. A number of research groups around the world - in addition to his own - are now studying Iterated Learning using techniques as diverse as mathematical modelling, computational simulation, and psychological experiments. His view is that a complete understanding of human nature requires an account of the complex interactions between individual learning, cultural transmission and biological evolution in human populations.

More about Simon Kirby:

Matthijs Spaan (Delft University of Technology), Frans Oliehoek (University of Amsterdam) and Stefan Witwicki (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)

Decision-theoretic approaches to planning, coordination and communication in multiagent systems

Decision making is an important skill of autonomous agents, but, in many real-world systems, this task is complicated by uncertainty about the effects of actions and limited sensing capabilities. In particular, we will be concerned with planning problems that optimize how an agent should act given a model of its environment and its task. As agents often do not exist in isolation, attention will be given to the problem of decision making under uncertainty with multiple, interacting agents. Key issues here are how agents should coordinate and whether, what, how and when agents should communicate with each other.
In this tutorial, we will build on the Markov decision process (MDP) and its extensions, such as the multiagent MDP and the partially observable MDP, to formalize such settings. We will treat models ranging from no-communication to full synchronizing communication at every time step, and will discuss a small number of basic solution methods. The extensions to MDPs and POMDPs that we will cover allow a team of agents to coordinate under a variety of different assumptions about what and when agents communicate.

 Videos (ESSENCE members only)

Slides (PDF)

Photo of Matthijs SpaanMatthijs's Bio:
Matthijs Spaan is an assistant professor at the Algorithmics group, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands. His research focuses on decision making under uncertainty for single agents (such as robots) as well as multiagent systems. A major goal of Artificial Intelligence is designing agents: systems that perceive their environment and execute actions. In particular, a fundamental question is how to build intelligent agents. When uncertainty and many agents are involved, this question is particularly challenging and has not yet been answered in a satisfactory way.
Uncertainty manifests itself in various forms when computing plans for agents, in particular in real-world scenarios involving robots. For an agent in isolation, planning under uncertainty in acting and sensing has been studied using decision-theoretic models like Partially Observable Markov Decision Processes (POMDPs). However, single-agent centralized methods do not suffice for large-scale multiagent systems, for which he studies multiagent extensions such as the decentralized POMDP (Dec-POMDP) model.

More about Matthijs Spaan:

Photo of Frans OliehoekFrans's Bio:
Frans Oliehoek is a Research Scholar at the Informatics Institute of the University of Amsterdam and a Lecturer at the Department of Computer Science of the University of Liverpool. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science (2010) and M.Sc. Artificial Intelligence (2005), both from the University of Amsterdam. From 2010-2013 he was a postdoc at MIT (CSAIL) and Maastricht University (Department of Knowledge Engineering - DKE), after which he was appointed Assistant Professor at DKE. Frans' research focuses on decision making under uncertainty, with emphasis on multiagent systems. He organized several workshops on Multiagent Sequential Decision Making Under Uncertainty at AAMAS and taught tutorials on Decision Making Under Uncertainty at AAMAS and the European Agent Systems Summer School. He received the best PC-member award at AAMAS 2012, and was awarded a prestigious NWO VENI research grant that funds his research since the beginning of 2014.

More about Frans Oliehoek:

Photo of Stefan WitwickiStefan's Bio:
Stefan Witwicki is currently a scientist at EPFL working in the intersection of planning and robotics. He obtained his PhD at the University of Michigan in 2011, where he was advised by Ed Durfee. His research interests include planning and reasoning under uncertainty, multiagent coordination and applications to robotics, smartgrids, and automated services. He is active in the AAMAS and AAAI research communities, where he has served on a number of related program and review committees, has received nominations for best paper and best dissertation awards, and has been co­-organizing the annual Workshop on Multiagent Sequential Decision Making Under Uncertainty (MSDM) since 2011.

More about Stefan Witwicki:

Photo of Sanjay Modgil

Sanjay Modgil (King's College London)

Argumentation and Dialogue

This tutorial teaches fundamental concepts in logic-based models of argumentation and dialogue, and discusses the benefits of such models for agent reasoning and communication in the presence of uncertainty and conflict. Students will first be taught the fundamentals of reasoning using logic-based argumentation. Argument game proof theories will then be presented for these reasoning models, and subsequently generalised to models of dialogue. Students will be taught fundamentals of dialogue protocols which govern the goal orientated submission of agent locutions, the contents of which implicitly define arguments that are evaluated in order to further guide dialogical interactions. The tutorial will then review the benefits of argumentation as a means for facilitating reasoning and communication between both human and/or computational agents, through enhancing the rationality of these communicative interactions.

Slides part 1 (PDF)
Slides part 2 (PDF)

Sanjay's Bio:
Sanjay Modgil is a lecturer in the AIS (Agents and Intelligent Systems Group) at King's College London. His current work involves research on argumentation theory; in particular the ASPIC+ model of logic-based argumentation, extensions to abstract argumentation systems to accommodate argumentation over preferences and values, and metalevel argumentation. He also works on applications of argumentation to agent reasoning and communication. His previous research interests lie in the areas of default reasoning, belief revision, non-monotonic logics, modal logics, and their applications in artificial intelligence.

More about Sanjay Modgil:

Photo of Carles Sierra

Carles Sierra (Artificial Intelligence Research Institute, Spanish Research Council)

Agreement Computing

In modern IT-enabled societies, the human user is being assisted with an increasing number of tasks by computational communicating entities/software (usually called agents). Agents interact with and act on behalf of their human users. Their assistance could take different forms, starting with simple technical support such as email filtering, information retrieval, shopping, etc., and moving towards full delegation of more complex tasks, such as service composition for travel organization, dispute resolution in the context of divorces, labour controversies, traffic accidents, etc. To support the agents with the more complex tasks, we argue that the concept of “agreement” lies at the basis of agent communication and interaction. Interacting agents will need to base their decisions and actions on explicit agreements. Agreement Computing aims at proposing a plethora of adequate theoretical methods and applied techniques in order to allow for the design and implementation of those new generation "intelligent" communicating artefacts that will form the basis of future modern "mixed" societies populated by interconnected and mutually interacting humans and artefacts.

Slides (PDF)

How to do a PhD and survive it

This talk will give and up-to-date commentary on the book by the Nobel Prize winner Santiago Ramon y Cajal “Advice for a young investigator” published in 1899 and containing a deep reflexion on the values involved in scientific research. Despite being a rather old book its reading is still relevant. It touches upon many questions that young researchers put to themselves. It gives recommendations on publishing behaviour, relevance of research, theoretical vs practical research, motivation for research, ethics of research, and many others.

Slides (PDF)

Carles's Bio:
Carles Sierra is a professor (and vice director) at Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (IIIA) of the Spanish Research Council (CSIC). He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). His expertise is in artificial intelligence broadly, with specific interests in agents, negotiation, and electronic institutions. He has participated in more than twenty research projects funded by the European Commission and the Spanish Government, and has published more than two hundred papers in specialised conferences and scientific journals. He has received several best paper awards in the area of agents and artificial intelligence. He is an ECCAI fellow, and on the editorial board for a range of journals, including the top journal in the area of agents - Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems. (JAAMAS) and Artificial Intelligence (top AI journal).

More about Carles Sierra:

Picture of Vincenzo Maltese

Vincenzo Maltese (KnowDive Research Group, University of Trento)

Linguistic and Knowledge Resources

In order to automate tasks and properly interact with their users, modern ICT applications require very accurate, up-to-date and diversity-aware knowledge resources. Examples of tasks that benefit from such resources are natural language processing (NLP), ontology and classification matching, entity and semantic search, document classification. At this purpose, in the past forty years several general-purpose and domain-specific linguistic and knowledge resources have been developed. Work spans across several disciplines and communities such as Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science, Linguistics, Knowledge Representation, and Knowledge Organization. We first introduce the general notions and then go through some notable examples of vocabularies, ontologies and knowledge bases exploring strengths and weaknesses.

Slides (PDF)

Vincenzo's Bio:
Vincenzo Maltese is a post-doc research fellow at the University of Trento, within the KnowDive Research Group. He has published about thirty conference and journal papers. His main area of expertise spans between Knowledge Representation and Knowledge Organization. Current work is mainly devoted to methodologies and tools for the creation and maintenance of knowledge resources. He participated in several projects including InterConcept (mapping large scale Knowledge Organization Systems), LiveMemories (active digital memories of collective lives), Semantic Geo-Catalogue (extending geo-catalogues with semantic capabilities), and the LivingKnowledge EU FET project (dealing with diversity in knowledge). He is currently the project manager of the SmartSociety EU project (hybrid societies of humans and machines). He is co-author of the open source tools S-Match and GeoWordNet (

More about Vincenzo Maltese:

Sara Shinton

Sara Shinton (Shinton Consulting Ltd)

Taking Control of your Research Project

A researcher’s role is to grasp a complex problem or topic, develop an approach to address it and present a novel solution. Alongside the intellectual challenge of working at the limits of understanding, there is also a significant challenge in managing your workload.
Project management principles can help you to tame the project and manage your time effectively under pressure. This workshop will take these principles and tailor them for academic research and writing.
You’ll have the opportunity to use a range of tools, helping you to:

  • explore possibilities,
  • make decisions,
  • organise your actions,
  • identify priorities,
  • monitor progress,
  • evaluate your work and your plan.

Slides (PDF)

Sara's Bio:
Since 2000 Sara has run Shinton Consulting Ltd, a researcher development company. Focusing on academic career issues and skills development she works with institutions across the UK and in Europe. Her background includes postdoctoral research (physical chemistry), careers guidance and academic development. She has been short-listed for a Times Higher Education prize on three occasions (2007, 2010 and 2013) winning in 2010 for her role in designing and facilitating the Scottish Crucible and Scottish Futures programmes.
She regularly writes about academic and researcher career development issues and has contributed chapters to a range of books, most recently “Achieving Impact in Research”. She writes regularly for the Institute of Physics on topics including career breaks and career balance, researcher employability and career change. In 2004 she wrote “What Do PhDs Do?” the first ever analysis of doctoral destinations.
Sara is active on social media, including Twitter (@sarashinton) and LinkedIn. Her website includes many resources for researchers and academic leaders (

1st Autumn School—Travel and Accommodation Information

General Information on Ischia

In the following PDFs you can find general touristic information on the island of Ischia and on the Amalfi Islands, respectively.

Travel Information

Transfer from Naples Airport to Seaport

The Naples Alibus Airport Shuttle is a direct bus from the Naples Capodichino Airport, to the Central Train Station and Naples Molo Beverello Port. It is a cheap alternative to taking a taxi and more convenient than using the city buses. The Alibus bus stop is located approximately 50 metres from the entrance to the airport, and stops just outside the ferry ticket booths at the Naples Molo Beverello Port. The ticket costs around 4€ and can be purchased on board.

Alternatively, you can hire a taxi for around 25-35€ (max. 4 people).

Transfer from Naples Seaport to Ischia

The ferry from Naples to Ischia and vice versa is included in the hotel accommodation price. You can check out the timetable of arrivals and departures of the Medmar and Caremar companies. N.B., you should take the line Napoli-Ischia and not Pozzuoli. Important: in order to obtain a personal registration number to board your ferry, you should send your exact departure and arrival dates and hours to Francesca Annunziata at the travel agency taking care of bookings: Besides the dates and hours, please indicate in your email the fact that you are attending the ESSENCE event. You can also contact the travel agency by phone (see below).

Transfer from Ischia Seaport to Hotel Terme Tritone

The transfer from the port of Ischia to the hotel is not included in the price. You have three options:

  • take a taxi to the hotel;
  • take one of the following three lines of the Eavbus company: 1, 2, or CS, and get off at the stop ‘San Francesco’, between ‘Lacco’ and ‘Forio’ (buses leave more or less each 30 minutes, timetables here);
  • if a group of attendees arrive to the Ischia sea port at the same time, we can arrange to pick you up: in this case, the travel agency will contact you in advance to inform you of this possibility. (Of course, for this to happen you need to inform them of your arrival times, as explained above.)

Accommodation Information

The Autumn School will be held at the Hotel Tritone**** which is located in the town of Forio, on the beach of San Francesco.

General Hotel Information

  • Location: Forio
  • Facilities: two restaurants, two bars.
  • Rooms: equipped with air-conditioner, TV, hairdryer, fridge, and telephone.
  • Services: indoor and outdoor swimming pool, Turkish bath, Kneipp pool, gym, TV room, wellness centre, and free Wi-Fi point. There is also a beautiful park around the hotel.
  • Beach equipment: one sun umbrella and two loungers per room are included in the price.
  • Spa: private spa facilities.

Room prices

The prices below are per person in a shared double room (includes meals, hotel facilities, and ferry transfers):
  • 3 nights: 340€;
  • 5 nights: 510€;
  • 7 nights: 660€;
  • single room: +15€ extra per day.

Autumn school attendees should ideally stay for 4 or 5 nights with an arrival date on Sunday 26 October and a departure date on 30 or 31 October. Nothing stops you from staying longer though, if you wish to do so, and we will help make arrangements upon request.

Contact Us

For any information related to travel or accommodation, you can contact directly the travel agency taking care of bookings (they speak English):
Pietro - 0039 366 2074154
Francesca - 0039 389 9410648
Silvana - 0039 331 4319763


1st Autumn School—Venue

The Autumn School will take place within the premises of the Hotel Terme Tritone, on the island of Ischia, Italy.

Hotel Terme Tritone****

Photo of Hotel TritoneHotel Tritone is located on the enchanting island of Ischia, with beautiful sea views of the bay of San Francesco. The hotel’s restaurant features Mediterranean dishes, as well as Italian and International buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The hotel also offers a private beach as well as an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool and and various spa facilities. We have negotiated special prices for Autumn School attendees that include accommodation and full board (including the use of all hotel amenities) at an affordable rate.

For more information on the hotel: Hotel Tritone****

The Island of Ischia

Photo of the island of Ischia Ischia is the largest of the three islands off the coast of Naples (Procida, Capri and Ischia), on the Tyrrhenian Sea.
With forty kilometres of coastline, the island offers gorgeous beaches, atmospheric villages, and striking wilderness. Purchase local pottery and crafts at Sant’Angelo, enjoy the bar scene of Forio, or visit the famous Argonese Castle. From interesting historical sites to exciting outdoor activities and relaxing spas, Ischia has something to offer every visitor.

For more information visit: Island of Ischia.

1st ESSENCE Autumn School on Evolving Semantic Systems

Painted image of the isle of IschiaThe ESSENCE Autumn School on the subject of Evolving Semantic Systems will run from Monday 27th October until Thursday 30th October, 2014. The School will be held on the island of Ischia, Italy, at the four-star Hotel Terme Tritone.

The School is primarily of interest to PhD students, but the School is also open to undergraduate/postgraduate students and researchers with an interest in the subject area. Tutorials and lectures will be delivered by internationally renowned speakers who are experts in various areas related to the evolution of meaning, from ontologies and knowledge representation to natural language processing, agent-based systems and language evolution.

The registration deadline is 5 October 2014, at midnight (CET). For registration details, please see our registration page. A number of bursaries will be offered to cover registration and/or accommodation and subsistence, on the basis of applicants' CVs and motivation letters, which should also explain whether additional funding is available from other sources to cover part of the participation and/or travel cost.  Bursaries will cover registration fees and/or accommodation, subject to availability. They do not cover travel expenses. To apply, please visit the registration page. The deadline for bursary applications is 5th October 2014; however, we will still try to consider first-rate applications received past this date. Applicants will be notified in good time to make travel arrangements.

About the Autumn School

The ESSENCE Autumn School will feature a host of lectures, tutorials and training courses delivered by top experts in Artificial Intelligence and related fields. Themes of the Autumn School include: ontology matching; learning; theory repair; knowledge resources; dialogue, decision, and agreement in multi-agent systems; as well as a half-day transferrable skills course in research project management for doctoral students. Please visit our Programme page for details.


ESSENCE is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network funded under the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme (agreement no. 607062) that runs from November 2013 to October 2017. It is a four-year research training network that will build a European research base for the study of evolving semantic in natural and artificial communication. ESSENCE investigates how meaning emerges and evolves through communication among intelligent systems. We develop methods that enable software agents, sensors, and robots to autonomously negotiate meaning among themselves. Our methods are inspired by the capabilities of humans to understand each other despite differences in their individual viewpoints.

The network supports 15 young scientists at the doctoral and post-doctoral levels who investigate different aspects of the overall research theme in close collaboration with industry and a number of leading academic institutions across Europe. The fellows are supervised by leading experts from at least two institutions. They spend extended periods of time visiting other institutions within the network, including secondments with industrial and governmental organisations.

In addition to scientific training, which includes work on doctoral theses, publications, and participation in conferences and workshops, the network provides training in a broad range of transferable skills, such as project management, technical writing, and entrepreneurship. ESSENCE features an extensive programme of training, dissemination, and outreach events.

 Video of the School

2nd ESSENCE Workshop—Ad Hoc Approaches to ESSENCE problems

Workshop Programme

The 2nd ESSENCE Workshop is a private event open only to ESSENCE members and invited guests.

Day 1: Thursday 30 October
14:00–15:00 Welcome and Opening of Workshop by Michael Rovatsos
15:00–15:30 Presentation of the Gender Action Plan by Fiona McNeill
15:30–16:00 Coffee Break
16:00–18:00 Cohort 1 Fellows: Poster Session and ‘Rapid Fire Talks’:
Yana Knight
Tânia Marques
Julian Schlöder
Thomas Brochhagen
Paul van Eecke
Mladjan Jovanovic
Nicola Bova

Day 1 (Thursday afternoon) of the workshop is dedicated to opening talks and very short poster presentations from ‘cohort 1’ fellows (recruited in early 2014). Cohort 1 fellows are asked to prepare a poster in advance on their respective research topics. At the workshop the posters will be exhibited in the conference room and fellows will present them in short five-minute talks.

Day 2: Friday 31 October
09:30–11:00 Cohort 2 Fellows: presentations
Aimilios Vourliotakis
Mercedes Huertas
11:00–11:30 Coffee break
11:30–13:00 Cohort 2 Fellows: presentations
Kristof Kessler
Adrian Kemo
13:00–14:00 Lunch break
14:00–15:30 Further discussions and summing up
15:30–16:00 Coffee break
16:00–17:00 Empty slot

Day 2 is dedicated to new ‘cohort 2’ fellows, recruited during Summer 2014. Fellows are asked to prepare a 15-minute talk with slides where they present their planned research topics. After each talk, around 30 more minutes will be allocated for questions and a free discussion of the plan and ideas put forward by the student, involving both seniors and fellows.

3rd International ESSENCE Workshop:
Algorithms for Processing Meaning

Call for Participation

Palace of Arts, BarcelonaThe problem of sharing meaning is becoming an increasingly important issue for computational systems, as more and more of these systems are expected to interact with each other and with human users without prior agreement on the semantics of communication, to process and connect unstructured and heterogeneous data generated by different sources, and to coordinate their activities in environments that involve multiple views and objectives. The ESSENCE network studies this problem from an interdisciplinary point of view, bringing together researchers and practitioners from computer science, artificial intelligence, robotics, natural language processing, linguistics, philosophy, and cognitive science.

The aim of this workshop is to bring together students and top researchers from all these (and other) communities to discuss key issues in this space, which have hitherto engaged in largely disconnected efforts to understand phenomena related to the emergence and evolution of shared semantics. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • ontology mapping, matching, and learning;
  • symbol grounding and anchoring;
  • dialogue systems, natural and artificial;
  • semantic search, linked data analysis and curation;
  • information retrieval, extraction, text processing;
  • agent communication and coordination;
  • rational models of communication, language games;
  • human-robot and robot-robot interaction;
  • game-theoretic models of communication and signalling;
  • data and sensor fusion, distributed signal processing;
  • natural language generation and understanding;
  • models of language evolution, emergent semantics;
  • automated data integration, machine translation;
  • crowdsourced common-sense knowledge bases;
  • social network analysis of communication and meaning;
  • multilingual and cross-cultural semantic analysis;
  • cognitive modelling of language acquisition and development;
  • data-to-text generation.

The thematic scope of the workshop is intentionally broad in terms of considering contributions that address some aspect of modelling meaning and its evolution. However, we emphasise that, in line with the ‘Algorithms for Processing Meaning’ theme, submissions that focus on computational aspects of such phenomena will be considered preferentially.

Submission Guidelines

We invite extended abstracts (2-4 pages) and full papers (8 pages, excluding references) for presentation. Papers must be submitted as PDF following the IEEE format ( through the EasyChair workshop page at Submissions are not anonymous.

As the number of presentations at the workshop is limited, the peer review process will filter and rank submissions so that the highest-quality and most relevant ones get a full presentation slot. In consequence, some papers may be invited for poster presentation and/or short oral presentation. Papers that have been submitted or published elsewhere are welcome, as the primary purpose of the workshop is open discussion and exchange of ideas.

No formal proceedings are planned for the workshop, so that authors are able to publish their accepted papers in other venues. If we receive a sufficient number of high-quality, original publications, we will consider publishing post-proceedings by way of an edited volume or a special issue of an international journal. By submitting a paper authors agree for the final version of this paper to be published online after the workshop, and are responsible for ensuring that copyright agreements with other publishers are honoured in the case of previously published work.

We particularly encourage submissions from junior researchers and PhD students, and will provide extensive financial support to attend the event for a number of invited participants. The workshop will not charge a registration fee to invited attendees, and lunch and coffee breaks will be provided free of charge. For participants who wish to attend without presenting a paper, a modest workshop registration fee of EUR 150 will be charged to cover catering costs and print materials.

Submission deadline: May 5, 2015 (extended)
Author notification: May 8, 2015
Final versions: May 15, 2015
Workshop dates: May 20-22, 2015


Residence of InvestigatorsThe workshop will be held at the Residence for Researchers of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in Barcelona ( from Wednesday 20th to Friday 22nd May 2015.
The Residence also provides good quality budget accommodation in the heart of Barcelona, but participants are free to choose other options for accommodation. Barcelona is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city renowned for its history, culture, and nightlife and is easily accessible by air travel from all major international airports.

Organizing Committee

Kemo Adrian, IIIA-CSIC Barcelona
Gábor Bella, University of Trento (Chair)
Nico Bova, University of Edinburgh
Raquel Fernandez, ILLC Amsterdam
Fausto Giunchiglia, University of Trento
Mercedes Huertas, University of Trento
Mladjan Jovanovic, University of Trento
Fiona McNeill, Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh
Robert van Rooij, ILLC Amsterdam
Enric Plaza, IIIA-CSIC Barcelona
Michael Rovatsos, University of Edinburgh
Carlos Ruiz, Taiger, Madrid
Marco Schorlemmer, IIIA-CSIC Barcelona
Luc Steels, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Remi van Trijp, SONY Research Labs Paris
Mila Vukomanovic, University of Edinburgh

Fellows papers presented at the workshop

  • Huertas-Migueláñez, Mercedes, "Crowdsourcing for building and maintaining multilingual knowledge resources", 2015. (pdf)
  • Vourliotakis, Aimilios, Rovatsos, Michael & Ruiz Moreno, Carlos, "Validation of entity relations in linked data", 2015. (pdf)
  • Schlöder, Julian J., Alex Lascarides, "Interpreting English Pitch Contours in Context", Proceedings of the 19th Workshop on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Dialogue (SemDial 2015, "goDial"), 2015. (pdf)
  • Marques, Tânia, "Towards a taxonomy of task-oriented domains of dialogue", Proceeding of the 18th Conference on Principles and Practice of Multi-Agent Systems (PRIMA 2015), 2015. (pdf)
  • Jovanovic, Mladjan, "Gamifying Knowledge Maintenance", 2015.
  • Brochhagen, Thomas, "Minimal Requirements for Productive Compositional Signaling", Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2015), 2015. (pdf)
  • Chocrón, Paula, Schorlemmer, Marco, "Social Coordination Systems with Ontology Heterogeneity", 2015. (pdf)
  • Van Eecke, Paul, "Achieving Robustness through the Integration of Language Production in Comprehension", Proceedings of the EuroAsianPacific Joint Conference on Cognitive Science (EAP CogSci), 2015. (pdf)
  • Bova, Nicola, Rovatsos, Michael, "Towards a Framework for Winograd Schemas Resolution", 2015. (pdf)
  • Adrian, Kemo, "Argumentation and agreement over concept meaning in simple scenarios", 2015. (pdf)


For any queries related to the workshop, please contact