Deadline Extension (28 Jan): Enabling Domain Experts to use Formalised Reasoning (CFP)

28 Jan 2013

Do-Form: Enabling Domain Experts to use Formalised Reasoning


Symposium at the annual convention of the AISB (Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour; University of Exeter, UK

2-5 April 2013


  • Utku Ünver (market design and matching problems)
  • Peter Cramton (auctions)
  • Neels Vosloo (finance markets regulation)

SUBMISSION DEADLINE (extended): 28 January

This symposium is motivated by the long-term VISION of making information systems dependable. In the past even mis-represented units of measurements caused fatal ENGINEERING disasters. In ECONOMICS, the subtlety of issues involved in good auction design may have led to low revenues in auctions of public goods such as the 3G radio spectra. Similarly, banks' value-at-risk (VaR) models – the leading method of financial risk measurement – are too large and change too quickly to be thoroughly vetted by hand, the current state of the art; in the London Whale incident of 2012, JP Morgan claimed that its exposures were $67mn under one of its VaR models, and $129 under another one. Verifying a model's properties requires formally specifying them; for VaR models, any work would have to start with this most basic step, as regulators' current desiderata are subjective and ambiguous.

We believe that these problems can be addressed by representing the knowledge underlying such models and mechanisms in a formal, explicit, machine-verifiable way. Contemporary computer science offers a wide choice of knowledge representation languages well supported by verification tools. Such tools have been successfully applied, e.g., for verifying software that controls commuter rail or payment systems (cf. the symposium homepage for further background). Still, DOMAIN EXPERTS without a strong computer science background find it challenging to choose the right tools and to use them. This symposium aims at investigating ways to support them. Some problems can be addressed now, others will bring new challenges to computer science.

General TOPICS of interest include:

  • for DOMAIN EXPERTS: what problems in application domains could benefit from better verification and knowledge management facilities? Possible fields include:

    • Example 1 (economics): auctions, VaR, trading algorithms, market design

    • Example 2 (engineering): system interoperability, manufacturing processes, product classification

  • for COMPUTER SCIENTISTS: how to provide the right knowledge management and verification tools to domain experts without a computer science background?

    • wikis and blogs for informal, semantic, semiformal, and formal mathematical knowledge;
    • general techniques and tools for online collaborative mathematics;
    • tools for collaboratively producing, presenting, publishing, and interacting with online mathematics;
    • automation and computer-human interaction aspects of mathematical wikis;
    • ontologies and knowledge bases designed to support knowledge management and verification in application domains;
    • practical experiences, usability aspects, feasibility studies;
    • evaluation of existing tools and experiments;
    • requirements, user scenarios and goals.

We particularly invite submissions that address the problems or that apply the tools presented in the papers submitted for stage 1 (see "submission" below).

THE SYMPOSIUM is designed to bring domain experts and formalisers into close and fruitful contact with each other: domain experts will be able to present their fields and problems to formalisers; formalisers will be exposed to new and challenging problem areas. We will combine talks and hands-on sessions to ensure close interaction among participants from both sides.

World-class economists will offer dedicated HANDS-ON SESSIONS on the following topics:

  • Market design and matching problems (Utku Ünver, Boston College): These include matching students to schools, interns to hospitals, and kidney donors to recipients. See the documentation for the 2012 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for more background information (
  • Auctions (Peter Cramton, University of Maryland): Peter works on auctions for ICANN (the ‘knock out’ domain name auctions), Ofcom UK (4G spectrum auction), the UK Department of the Environment and Climate Change, and others.
  • Finance (Neels Vosloo, Financial Services Authority UK): It is currently impossible for regulators to properly inspect either risk management models, or algorithmic trading platforms. To what extent can techniques from mechanised reasoning automate some of the inspection process?


We solicit submissions on any of the TOPICS outlined initially but prefer submissions that specifically address topics identified in the earlier submission Stage 1. In Stage 1 we had solicited

  • from DOMAIN EXPERTS descriptions of "nails": canonical models and problems in their domain that might benefit from better verification and knowledge management facilities. Descriptions should focus on aspects of these models that domain users find particularly problematic, and suspect might be aided by formalisation tools

  • from COMPUTER SCIENTISTS descriptions of "hammers": formalisation, verification and knowledge management tools, with an emphasis on how they could be applied in a concrete real-world setting, or tailored to such application domains.

Commented versions of these submissions are now online at

A tool whose description is submitted to Stage 2 could, e.g., be motivated with a Stage 1 problem, and sketch how the tool could, or will, be applied in this domain. Each submission will be refereed by three PC members on average. Submissions will be judged based on the PC's views of the likelihood of contributing to a better matching of hammers (formalisation and verification tools) to nails (domain problems).

At this stage we accept PDF submissions in any layout but count 1200 words as one page for fair comparison. We invite research and position papers, as well as tool and system descriptions, from 3 to 10 pages. Besides PDFs we invite the submission of formalised knowledge representations with human-readable annotations.

To submit a paper, please go to the Do-Form EasyChair page ( and follow the instructions for Stage 2 there.


Final versions should be prepared in LaTeX according to the AISB formatting guidelines linked from the symposium homepage. For the final version, non-PDF submissions should be accompanied by a PDF abstract of 2 to 4 pages. Electronic proceedings (with an ISBN) will be made available to the convention delegates on a memory stick, and on the AISB website.

Given a sufficient number of high-quality submissions, we will invite authors to submit revised and extended versions to a SPECIAL ISSUE of a relevant JOURNAL. (E.g., co-chair Manfred Kerber is on the editorial board of Mathematics in Computer Science.)


  • Submission (Stage 2): 28 January 2013
  • Notification: 18 February 2013
  • Final versions due: 4 March 2013
  • Symposium: 2-5 April 2013 (days to be fixed)
  • AISB Convention: 2-5 April 2013


1. Bill Andersen, Highfleet, US
2. Rob Arthan, Lemma 1, Reading, UK
3. Christoph Benzmüller, Free University of Berlin, Germany
4. Peter Cramton, University of Maryland, US
5. James Davenport, University of Bath, UK
6. Michael Grüninger, University of Toronto, Canada
7. Manfred Kerber, University of Birmingham, UK (co-chair)
8. Michael Kohlhase, Jacobs University Bremen, Germany
9. Christoph Lange, University of Birmingham, UK (co-chair)
10. Till Mossakowski, University of Bremen, Germany
11. Colin Rowat, University of Birmingham, UK (co-chair)
12. Todd Schneider, Raytheon, US
13. Richard Steinberg, London School of Economics, UK
14. Geoff Sutcliffe, University of Miami, US
15. Theodore L Turocy, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science, University of East Anglia, UK
16. Makarius Wenzel, University of Paris Sud, France
17. Wolfgang Windsteiger, RISC / JKU Linz, Austria