SAC 2006 Keynote Speakers

Intelligent agent technology: Human-machine natural dialogue and inter-agent communication
Dr. David Sadek
France Télécom R&D

Date: Monday April 24, 2006

The intelligent agent paradigm has generated such a tremendous interest in today's world of R&D, and so vast is its range of potential applications, that it is already seen as the source of a new technological revolution that will encompass application domains from access to information, to games, including resource monitoring, personal and public digital assistants, natural language interfaces, intelligent intermediation, e-business, training and education, and so on. This interest is particularly emphasized by the inter-connection of networks and the inter-operability of software and services.

The agent approach aims to introduce the required intelligence into information processing. The idea is to produce a changeover from software that provides functions to software that offers services. The latter will be more user-friendly, simpler, richer and more easily adaptable, precisely because more intelligent and mastering the semantics of the information and the functions being handled. The semantics technologies enable to implement services in which the system, namely the software agent, is capable of carrying on a natural dialogue with the user. Associated with a permanent multimedia connectivity, such technologies will, in the coming years, offer to the user a coherent view of a seamless inter-service and inter-media continuum. As soon as the market begins to witness generic agent technologies along with standards for ontologies and knowledge representation, this will mark the real technological leap forward introducing a deep change of telecommunication use and market. The present scientific, technical and industrial landscape holds every indication that these fundamental changes will take place progressively over the very next years.

This talk particularly focuses on why and how the concept of cognitive agent provides a relevant approach to model and to implement intelligent human-machine natural dialogue systems. The rational dialogue agent model comes within this approach, which also allows for handling interactions between software agents according to the same principles. This model is at the basis of the Artimis technology and also at the origin of the FIPA ACL standard communication language. Several operational Artimis based applications have been developed and commercial large scale services have begun to be deployed. Beyond its promising potential, the presented approach opens new research perspectives in the domains of the design of artificial intelligent behaviors and the organization of agent societies. Several demonstrations illustrating the different issues tackled in this talk will be given.

Speaker's Bio
David Sadek is chair of the research program on intelligent agents and natural interactions, at the R&D Division of France Telecom. He is also head of the industrial leverage unit for advanced human-computer dialogue based services. His work on formal models of cognitive agents and natural communication is at the basis of the first world-wide effective generic technology of rational agents and dialogue systems, which he has created with his team. This leading edge technology, which has entered the industrial process for large-scale commercial services, is already deployed in several applications of internet virtual assistants on France Telecom portals. Also, his work on the semantics of communicative actions gave birth to the FIPA ACL standard for an inter-agent communication language. In 1999, he received, together with his team, the France Telecom Innovation Prize for the Artimis rational dialogue agent technology. In 2002, he was awarded Medal Blondel for his contribution to Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence.


Advanced Program Development using Abstract Interpretation
Dr. Manuel Hermenegildo
Technical University of Madrid and University of New Mexico

Date: Wednesday April 26, 2006

One of the fundamental challenges in program development, from large applications to embedded code, is to be able to develop, in the shortest time possible, programs that are efficient and correct. We argue that in order to achieve this goal, in addition to factors such as better programming languages, substantially improved functionality is needed from programming environments. We present a novel program development framework which uses "Abstract Interpretation" as a fundamental component. Abstract interpretation is a technique which has allowed the development of very sophisticated program analyzers and transformers, which are at the same time provably correct and highly practical. The framework that we present uses this type of program analysis to obtain information about the program. This information is then used to validate programs with respect to partial specifications written using assertions, to detect and locate bugs, to simplify run-time tests, to perform high-level program transformations (such as specialization, parallelization, or resource usage control), and to enrich mobile code with safety certificates. The system can reason with much richer information than, for example, traditional type declarations. This includes pointer aliasing, shapes, exceptions, determinacy, abounds on resource consumption (such as computational cost or sizes of data in the program), etc. CiaoPP, the preprocessor of the Ciao multi-paradigm programming system is an implementation of this framework and will be used to illustrate these ideas.

Speaker's Bio
Manuel Hermenegildo received his Ph.D. degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, USA. He is currently Full Professor of Computer Science at the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) and also holds the P. of Asturias endowed chair in Information Science and Technology at the U. of New Mexico, USA. Previously he was project leader at the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC) research center and Adjunct Professor at the CS Department of the University of Texas at Austin.

He has published over 150 refereed papers in the areas of programming languages, program development tools, advanced compilation techniques, abstract interpretation, parallelizing compilers, parallel and distributed processing, and artificial intelligence. He has given more than 20 invited talks and tutorials in major conferences on these topics. He is also area editor of the Journal of Applied Logic, editorial adviser of the Journal of New Generation Computing, and has been area editor of ACM Transactions of Programming Languages and Systems and of Theory and Practice of Logic Programming. He is also the elected president of the International Association for Logic Programming, and a member of the executive committee of the European Association for Programming Languages and Systems, as well as of several other international committees, and serves as national expert at the OECD. He is also a member of the European Union's high-level advisory group in information technology (ISTAG).