Qualitative Spatial Reasoning

Tony Cohn

Course Description

While the field of Qualitative Reasoning is now well established it is only recently that there has been substantial investigation of calculi suitable for representing and reasoning about space in a qualitative way. This tutorial will survey the state of the art in qualitative spatial representation and reasoning techniques, including mechanisms for reasoning about spatial change. We will look at how these ideas may be applied in a wide variety of domains, from robotics and high level vision to the semantics of natural language expressions and of visual programming languages though to Geographical Information Systems. The tutorial will conclude with a look at open research issues.

The aim of the tutorial is to present the state of art in Qualitative Spatial Reasoning to the non specialist; this could either provide a suitable introduction for the intending research student, or for a practitioner in another research area or application domain who may be interested in exploiting QSR techniques. The presentation is expected to include practical demonstrations of techniques and applications including video footage. There will be ample opportunity for tutees to ask questions.

After an introduction covering basic ontology, some history and motivation, the tutorial syllabus will cover major aspects of qualitative spatial representation (including topology, distance and size, orientation and shape), uncertainty and vagueness, spatial change, reasoning techniques, applications and research issues.

Prerequisite Knowledge

Some basic knowledge of logic would be helpful but not essential for understanding the tutorial.

About the Lecturers

Tony Cohn is Professor of Automated Reasoning at the University of Leeds and has been leading a research group on qualitative spatial reasoning since the late 1980s. He coordinates the European network SPACENET on qualitative spatial reasoning and has given a number of invited tutorials and lectures on the subject in various international AI and Geographical Information Systems forums. He has been chairman of the European and British AI societies and programme chair of several AI conferences.
Last modified: Thu Feb 20 13:14:03 JST 1997