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09:00-10:30 Session 110C: Language and Reasoning
Location: Blavatnik LT2
An ASP Methodology for Understanding Narratives about Stereotypical Activities

ABSTRACT. We describe an application of Answer Set Programming to the understanding of narratives about stereotypical activities, demonstrated via question answering. Substantial work in this direction was done by Erik Mueller, who modeled stereotypical activities as scripts. His systems were able to understand a good number of narratives, but could not process texts describing exceptional scenarios. We propose addressing this problem by using a theory of intentions developed by Blount, Gelfond, and Balduccini. We present a methodology in which we substitute scripts by activities (i.e., hierarchical plans associated with goals) and employ the concept of an intentional agent to reason about both normal and exceptional scenarios. We exemplify the application of this methodology by answering questions about a number of restaurant stories.

Specifying and Verbalising Answer Set Programs in Controlled Natural Language

ABSTRACT. We show how a bi-directional grammar can be used to specify and verbalise answer set programs in controlled natural language. We start from a program specification in controlled natural language and translate this specification automatically into an executable answer set program. The resulting answer set program can be modified following certain naming conventions and the revised version of the program can then be verbalised in the same subset of natural language that was used as specification language. The bi-directional grammar is parametrised for processing and generation, deals with referring expressions, and exploits symmetries in the data structure of the grammar rules whenever these grammar rules need to be duplicated. We demonstrate that verbalisation requires sentence planning in order to aggregate similar structures with the aim to improve the readability of the generated specification. Without modifications, the generated specification is always semantically equivalent to the original one; our bi-directional grammar is the first one that allows for semantic round-tripping in the context of controlled natural language processing.

Cautious Reasoning in ASP via Minimal models and Unsatisfiable Cores

ABSTRACT. Answer Set Programming (ASP) is a logic-based knowledge representation framework, supporting -among other reasoning modes- the central task of query answering. In the propositional case, query answering amounts to computing cautious consequences of the input program among the atoms in a given set of candidates, where a cautious consequence is an atom belonging to all stable models. Currently, the most efficient algorithms either iteratively verify the existence of a stable model of the input program extended with the complement of one candidate, where the candidate is heuristically selected, or introduce a clause enforcing the falsity of at least one candidate, so that the solver is free to choose which candidate to falsify at any time during the computation of a stable model. This paper introduces new algorithms for the computation of cautious consequences, with the aim of driving the solver to search for stable models discarding more candidates. Specifically, one of such algorithms enforces minimality on the set of true candidates, where different notions of minimality can be used, and another takes advantage of unsatisfiable core computation. The algorithms are implemented in WASP, and experiments on benchmarks from the latest ASP competitions show that the new algorithms perform better than the state-of-the-art.

10:30-11:00Coffee Break
11:00-11:30 Session 112D: Implementation of ASP Systems
Location: Blavatnik LT2
Routing Driverless Transport Vehicles in Car Assembly with Answer Set Programming
SPEAKER: Martin Gebser

ABSTRACT. Automated storage and retrieval systems are principal components of modern production and warehouse facilities. In particular, automated guided vehicles nowadays substitute human-operated pallet trucks in transporting production materials between storage locations and assembly stations. While low-level control systems take care of navigating such driverless vehicles along programmed routes and avoid collisions even under unforeseen circumstances, in the common case of multiple vehicles sharing the same operation area, the problem remains how to set up routes such that a collection of transport tasks is accomplished most effectively. We address this prevalent problem in the context of car assembly at Mercedes-Benz Ludwigsfelde GmbH, a large-scale producer of commercial vehicles, where routes for automated guided vehicles used in the production process have traditionally been hand-coded by human engineers. Such ad-hoc methods may suffice as long as a running production process remains in place, while any change in the factory layout or production targets necessitates tedious manual reconfiguration, not to mention the missing portability between different production plants. Unlike this, we propose a declarative approach based on Answer Set Programming to optimize the routes taken by automated guided vehicles for accomplishing transport tasks. The advantages include a transparent and executable problem formalization, provable optimality of routes relative to objective criteria, as well as elaboration tolerance towards particular factory layouts and production targets. Moreover, we demonstrate that our approach is efficient enough to deal with the transport tasks evolving in realistic production processes at the car factory of Mercedes-Benz Ludwigsfelde GmbH.

12:30-14:00Lunch Break
14:00-15:30 Session 115: FLoC Plenary Lecture: Byron Cook
Location: Maths LT1
Formal Reasoning about the Security of Amazon Web Services

ABSTRACT. Amazon Web Services (AWS) uses and develops tools based on formal verification to reason about the security of AWS itself, as well as the security of systems that customers build on AWS. This talk will focus on how AWS services connect customers to logic-based techniques, as well as how AWS uses formal verification internally to provide higher assurance of its security.

15:30-16:00Coffee Break
16:00-18:00 Session 116A: Oxford Union Debate: Ethics & Morality of Robotics

Public debate on "Ethics & Morality of Robotics" with panelists specializing in ethics, law, computer science, data security and privacy:

  • Prof Matthias Scheutz, Dr Sandra Wachter, Prof Jeannette Wing, Prof Francesca Rossi, Prof Luciano Floridi & Prof Ben Kuipers

See http://www.floc2018.org/public-debate/ for further details and to register.

Location: Oxford Union
19:00-21:30 FLoC banquet at Ashmolean Museum

FLoC banquet at Ashmolean Museum. Drinks and food available from 7pm (pre-booking via FLoC registration system required; guests welcome).