ILPnet2: ILP Network of Excellence
(NoE Nr. 977102)

Progress Report for the Period 01/09/1998 to 31/08/1999

Background, objectives and workplan for the first year

ILPnet2 is the Inductive Logic Programming (ILP) Network of Excellence consisting of over 20 universities and research institutes. In addition the network actively pursues industrial relations through its End-User Club (EUC), consisting of companies and other non-academic institutions interested in practical applications of ILP. ILPnet2 succeeds ILPnet, the ILP European Scientific Network.

The mission of ILPnet2 is defined by the following long-term objectives:

The workplan for the first year was as follows:

Activities in the first year

Below we report on the activities of ILPnet2 in the first year and relate them to the workplan. These include establishing of infrastructure, dissemination of ILP related information through the Internet, where the ILPnet2 library is a highlight, and organization of a number of seminars and workshops, with an emphasis on events addressed at the EUC. More detailed information on ILPnet2 activities can be found at the ILPnet2 website at http://www.cs.bris.ac.uk/~ILPnet2/.

Infrastructure

In terms of establishing infrastructure, a central ILPnet2 website has been created at the University of Bristol. Information on activities of ILPnet2 also resides at websites of the network nodes: in particular, information on ILP systems, applications and datasets and educational materials resides at the Jozef Stefan Institute website. All nodes from CEE countries now have WWW access. Each of them has a home page on the Internet. Through the ILPnet2 WWW pages links to each member node are given, which include the top-level institution (e.g. university), the relevant departments/groups (e.g. faculty/department, research group) and contact persons. The ILPnet2 WWW pages also contains (pointers to) information on members of the ILPnet2 EUC and the ILPnet2 activities described below.

ILPnet2 website

ILPnet2 exploits the Internet as the main medium of information dissemination. Information disseminated in this way includes bibliographic information, including also technical reports and thesis abstracts, information on ILP systems and information ILP applications and datasets. In this respect, ILPnet2 expands on activities undertaken by ILPnet, the ILPnet2 predecessor.

An ILPnet2 on-line library was created, which is a substantial improvement over the bibliographic database in ILPnet. The ILPnet2 on-line library provides the possibility to store abstracts and even full documents and not just references to the documents. Thesis abstracts and technical reports can also be included in the on-line library, as well as pointers to the authors' home pages on the Internet. Other useful features include: on-line submission of publications, the possibility to add keywords, and a global search facility. A provision for on-line submission of ILP technical reports has been made within the ILPnet2 online library, which will be operational in the second year. References to recent publications, e.g. from recent ILP workshops and journal special issues on ILP were added to the library. The number of publications in the library grew by 25% (from 600 to over 750) in the first year. Recently, the library has been included in the on-line collection of computer science bibliographies at http://liinwww.ira.uka.de/bibliography/LogicProgramming/ilpnet.html.

An ILPnet2 systems page has been set up, which contains pointers to short descriptions of ILP systems (in a common format). Eight ILP systems not present in ILPnet are included here: FFOIL, FORS, ICL, ILP-R, RIBL, REGAL, STILL and TILDE. The short descriptions contain pointers to more detailed descriptions and the software itself and/or contact information for the autors of the software.

An ILPnet2 applications and datasets page has been set up, which contains pointers to short desriptions of ILP applications. The short descriptions contain pointers to more detailed descriptions of the applications and the datasets used, which in some case include the datasets themselves, and appropriate bibliographic references. Most of the application descriptions are recent and were not present in ILPnet. Most of the applications and system descriptions and application descriptions describe research results of the ESPRIT IV ILP2 project which finished in June 1999.

ILPnet2 organizes educational events: in the first year, these were addressed primarily to end-users and are described below. ILPnet2 also aims at making a variety of ILP educational materials available to prospective teachers and students. An initial list of on-line educational materials has been compiled and made available through the ILPnet2 WWW pages. These include on-line versions of lectures/slides and syllabi of ILP or ILP related courses taught at universities or other institutions. We expect this list to grow significantly over the second year, with network nodes providing information on ILP related courses they offer.

End-user events and workshops

Another highlight of ILPnet2 activities are the events addressed at end-users. ILPnet2 supported the organization of two seminars for end-users that included lectures on ILP and its applications, and the organization of a workshop on the topic of Learning Language in Logic.

A seminar on ILP and Knowledge Discovery was organized as a part of the Summerschool on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (Caminha, Portugal, 28 September - 4 October 1998). The seminar included lectures on ILP and its applications and was attended by several members of the ILPnet2 End-User Club (EUC) (Syllogic, Studio Phi, DIALOGIS, ATLANTIS Telecom, Sentient Machines Research, and Morphologic were represented). Members of the EUC also gave presentations of the problem areas in which they are interested to apply ILP and KDD techniques. A report on the seminar is included in the appendix.

An industrial day on the topic ``Achieving competitive advantages with data mining and decision support'' was organized on 29 June 1999, Bled, Slovenia, in conjunction with ILP'99 (The Ninth International Workshop on ILP) and ICML'99 (The Sixteenth International Conference on Machine Learning). The EUC member Studio Phi actively took part in local organization. Two other members of the EUC actively participated with presentations at this industrial day (Syllogic and DIALOGIS). A report on the industrial day is included in the appendix.

ILPnet2 also supported the organization of the first international workshop ``Learning Language in Logic'' (LLL), 30 June 1999, Bled, Slovenia. The area of LLL has sprung up from the fields of ILP and natural language processing (NLP) and is receiving an increasing amount of attention. This is an area where ILP holds a lot of promise for practical applications. The workshop was attended by 20 participants, including representatives of the EUC members Syllogic and Center for Dutch Language and Speech. Springer has agreed to publish a volume based on contributions from the workshop. A report on the workshop is included in the appendix.

ILPnet2 also supported the organization of ILP-99, the Ninth International Workshop on Inductive Logic Programming, 24-27 June 1999, Bled, Slovenia. ILP'99 was co-located with ICML'99, the Sixteenth International Conference on Machine Learning, 27-30 June 1999. On the overlap day, a joint invited talk and a joint poster session took place. ILP'99 was attended by 80 participants, which is the largest number of participants so far. Through the overlap day with ICML'99, ILP research results were exposed to a larger audience (ICML'99 was attended by 220 participants). ILP Workshop proceedings are now regularly published by Springer. A report on ILP'99 is included in the appendix.

Summary and outlook

In summary, most of the activities planned in the workplan for the first year have taken place. Only the publication of the newsletter and technical reports have been delayed. The first issue of the ILP newsletter will contain the report on ILPnet2 activities in the first year. More frequent issues are planned for the second year.

On the other hand, two activities planned for the second year have started ahead of schedule. Work on making ILP systems available for different platforms has started and portability of four different ILP systems to different platforms/operating systems has already been tested. Also a common electronic workspace for computer supported cooperative work has been created. We will work towards populating and actively using the workspace by network nodes in the second year. In addition to continuing dissemination of various kinds of information through the WWW, activities planned for the second year include the organization of an ILP workshop, a summerschool on ILP and its applications and a problem presentation workshop for end-users.

Appendix: Reports on Meetings Sponsored by ILPnet2

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