AICS to host leading AI and cognitive science researchers

30 Aug 2010

NUI Galway is hosting two of the world’s leading researchers, Professor Scott Kelso and Professor Ulrik Brandes, at the Annual Irish Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science Conference (AICS).

The conference runs from the 30 August to the 1 September.

AI is concerned with creating machines that perform tasks requiring intelligent behaviour. Cognitive Science is the study of the mind and human intelligence, including computational models of human thought.

“Although artificial intelligence might sound abstract and futuristic, it has a surprisingly large number of practical real-world applications,” says Josephine Griffith, lecturer in Information Technology at NUI Galway.

“When you search with Google, get a book recommendation on Amazon, play against the computer in an Xbox game or use speech recognition on a modern mobile phone, you are using artificial intelligence (AI).”

Professor Scott Kelso is an Irish born neuroscientist, who has encouraged a paradigm shift in the understanding of complex human behaviour.

Before Kelso’s work, scientists thought that co-ordinated behaviour, such as picking up objects, needed a central program to instruct the control of these components.

Kelso contended that the behaviour was self-organised and that co-ordinated pattern emerged as the result of interactions among a vast number of connected elements.

Professor Ulrik Brandes is a professor in the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Konstanz in Germany.

He specialises on theory and analysis of social networks, which graph relationships between users of Facebook and Twitter.

At the conference, he will question the effectiveness of current practice in fields such as viral marketing and research assessment in terms of finding the most influential of social economic and information networks.


The AICS was established in 1988 and encourages participation from national and international researchers.

The 2010 conference will feature 22 presentations from Irish universities and institutes of technology, along with a student symposium.

The topics include AI in computer game strategies, robotic learning, clientism in Irish politics, AI for tracking human emotions, automatic recognition of sentiments expressed online and in reviews, understanding how people learn second languages and the interpretation of brain scans.

“NUI Galway has a long-standing involvement and distinct expertise in both AI and Cognitive Science research,” said Dr Michael Madden, lecturer and programme director of the BSc in Information Technology at NUI Galway.

“AI is an important branch of Computer Science, with Irish AI researchers publishing frequently in international AI conferences and journals.

“There have also been some notable successes in AI commercialisation in Ireland, including AI-related patents filed in several universities and some spin-out companies.”