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Dawn Levy, News Service (650) 725-1944;

Stanford symposium to explore artificial intelligence frontiers

In the past two decades, the way people use computers has changed profoundly. Researchers at the Knowledge Systems Laboratory (KSL) in Stanford's Computer Science Department will host an artificial intelligence (AI) symposium from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, March 18, to explore ideas and techniques that have affected areas of applied AI, such as rule-based systems, integrated object-inference tools, knowledge-based planning, domain-rule learning and expert-level advisers. The symposium, to be held in the Gates Computer Science Building, Room B03, is called "Knowledge Systems, Learning, Knowledge Engineering, 1965-2015: 50 Years of Lessons Learned and Lessons to Be Learned." It is free and open to the public.

Speakers will survey the impact of research at the Heuristic Programming Project (HPP), the early parent project of the KSL, on programs that employ heuristic reasoning a term Stanford mathematician George Polya popularized and defined as "the art of good guessing." The heuristic knowledge is acquired from experts and is used by AI programs for reasoning.

"These knowledge-based programs, sometimes called expert systems, solve complex, real-world problems, such as chemical analysis, medical diagnosis, engineering design, manufacturing scheduling and computer diagnosis," says Edward Feigenbaum, the Kumagai Professor of Computer Science at Stanford and organizer of the symposium. "They are beginning to play a role as advisers to consumers on the World Wide Web."

Feigenbaum and Joshua Lederberg, a research geneticist, Nobel Prize winner and consulting professor at the Institute for International Studies at Stanford, started the DENDRAL Project in 1965 to use heuristic reasoning to do problem solving in analytic chemistry. Later, the expert for the project, Stanford chemistry Professor Carl Djerassi, ran the project until its conclusion in 1983.

The KSL symposium speakers follow:

Ed Feigenbaum will give an overview of "lessons learned" and implications for the future of science and technology, particularly artificial intelligence.

Doug Brutlag, professor of biochemistry at Stanford, will explore immense changes in computational molecular biology since the MOLGEN project (for analyzing DNA sequences and planning genetic engineering experiments) and provide his vision of future directions and impact.

Bruce Buchanan, professor of computer science, philosophy and medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, will give a preview of his July 2000 Presidential Address to the American Association for Artificial Intelligence.

Doug Lenat, chief executive officer of CYC Corp., will focus on lessons learned during more than 15 years of trying to codify all common-sense knowledge ("CYC" is short for "encyclopedic").

Tom Rindfleisch, director of Stanford's Lane Medical Library, will provide a retrospective look at software invented in support of the HPP goals and a prospective view of digital libraries.

Reid Smith, vice president of knowledge management activities at Schlumberger Ltd., will provide a perspective from pioneering industry efforts in AI.


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