VU’s Network Institute has a yearly Academy Assistant programme where small interdisciplinary research projects are funded. Within these projects, Master students from different disciplines are given the opportunity to work on these projects under supervision of VU staff members. As in previous years, this year, I also participate as a supervisor in one of these projects, in collaboration with Petra Bos from the Applied Linguistics department. And after having found two enthusiastic students: Dana Hakman from Information Science and Cerise Muller from Applied Linguistics, the project has just started.
Our project “ABC-Kb: A Knowledge base supporting the Assessment of language impairment in Bilingual Children” is aimed at supporting language therapists by (re-)structuring information about language development for bilingual children. Speech language therapists and clinical linguists face the challenge of diagnosing children as young as possible, also when their home language is not Dutch. Their achievements on standard (Dutch) language tests will not be reliable indicators for a language impairment. If diagnosticians had access to information on the language development in the Home Language of these children, this would be tremendously helpful in the diagnostic process.
This project aims to develop a knowledge base (KB) collecting relevant information on the specificities of 60 different home languages (normal and atypical language development), and on contrastive analyses of any of these languages with Dutch. To this end, we leverage an existing wiki: meertaligheidentaalstoornissenvu.wikispaces.com
The award is named after Prof. Bob Wielinga, one of the most prominent European scientists in the area of knowledge-based systems, best known for his work on the KADS methodology, who has been one of the key influences on the development of the area in the past three decades. Bob was both my own and Guus Schreiber’s promotor so this makes it extra-special for us. In 2009 he was also appointed at our department, where he continued supervising PhD students until he passed away earlier this year. It is especially nice that the award, which was named after Bob Wielinga goes to work that is not only authored by people from Amsterdam but also work that Bob at some point discussed with Niels in the Basket, before his passing.
I am an assistant professor (UD) at the Web & Media group at the Computer Science department of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). I am also a senior research fellow at Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. In my research, I combine (Semantic) Web technologies with Human-Computer Interaction, Knowledge Representation and Information Extraction to tackle research challenges in various domains. These include Cultural Heritage, Digital Humanities and ICT for Development (ICT4D). More information on these projects can be found on this site or through my CV .
Yesterday, we received the sad news that Prof. Bob Wielinga passed away. Bob was my promotor and a true mentor to me and many other Dutch AI researchers and he will be sorely missed.
When I first met Bob as lecturer of the UvA course Knowledge Systems he looked like a ‘real’ professor, with a big white beard and dressed in a dark suit. When later he became my Ph.D. supervisor I found out just how much of a powerhouse he was. He was very humble but at international conferences people mentioned his name with appropriate reverence. He was a very patient and supporting mentor to me and my colleagues and I learned so much from him. Bob was always truly interested in the work of all his students and colleagues, no matter how diverse. He was the only one that could have held such a diverse group of researchers in the SWI group (the later HCS) together.
Artificial Intelligence in the Netherlands has lost one of its greats.
This November my good friend Wybren Meijer, asked me to join a small group of people to come up with a nice entry for the Noordervisie 2040 competition. This competition was organized by the three norther provinces of the Netherlands and the challenge was to come up with an inspiring and innovative vision for the region in 2040. I contributed only a small part, related to smart grids (about which I had previously helped make a dissemination video) and ICT infrastructure.
At the Noorderstorm 2040 gathering in Drachten, of which you can find a video below, the plan was presented by the group members. Things went better than expected and we were awarded the second prize!
I hope to make the whole plan available online, but for now you find a very short quote for the plan below (also in Dutch) .
Onze toekomstvisie voor 2040 staat deels wel, en deels niet op gespannen voet met de nuchtere aard van de Noord-Nederlander. Ze vormt een uitdaging voor de nuchtere geest omdat wij oproepen rekening te houden met een radicaal andere toekomst. De wereld van 2040 zal nieuwe vormen van
technologie, demografie, economie, samenleven en cultuur kennen.