The knowledge and language processing group (WSV) at the Department of Informatics at the University of Hamburg investigates higher cognitive processes like language understanding and production, inference drawing, problem solving as well as learning and knowledge acquisition. The research is carried out from an interdisciplinarily point of view: methods of Computer Science/Artificial Intelligence are added by methods and findings from Linguistics, Psychology and Logic. The aim of the investigations undertaken by this research group is the development of mathematical/formal models for cognition, the evaluation of these models by system simulations, and the conception and realisation of application oriented AI-systems on the basis of Cognitive Science.
The knowledge and language processing group WSV used to cooperate with the Graduiertenkolleg Kognitionswissenschaft, a doctoral programme in Cognitive Science at the University of Hamburg until its end of funding in September 2000.
The knowledge and language processing group WSV is involved in the International Research Training Group CINACS.
Main research topics
Knowledge representation of time, space, and events
Representations of the real world concern in particular the anchoring of objects and situations (events) in space and time. Only if the spatial and temporal properties and relations of objects and events are represented adequately, it is possible to unterstand, plan, explain and carry out events in the real world. This research group therefore develops general procedures for representing and processing knowledge about space, time and events and tests them in exemplary domains.
Representation of objects and concepts
This area of interest looks into the part-whole-structure of entities and the relation between structure and category membership. Principles of wholeness and integrity which are fundamental for the development, representation, and processing of concepts as well as strategies for the representation and processing of form and gestalt of objects are investigated.
Understanding and production of language
Natural language processes (i.e. understanding and producing utterances or text) are regarded as specific cognitive processes that interact with othr non-linguistic cognitive processes. It is assumed that a cognitive foundation that is reflected by the design of NL systems is advantageous not only from a purely scientific point of view but also considering productivity and transferability of these systems in the long term.
Multimodality: Representation and Communication
The ability to use a variety of modalities and to integrate them is a core feature of human information processing. This concerns sensor modalities (as visual, auditory and haptic perception), modalities of thinking (e.g. in propositional and pictorial / visual problem solving), as well as modalities of communication (speech and language, gesture, and pictorial / graphical representations). Our research group addresses these topics from two perspectives: On the one hand, we investigate fundamental principles for common semantics and for conceptual interfaces among mono- and multimodal representations, on the other hand, we conduct empirical studies concerning multimodal comprehension and production of language and pictorial representations (as sketches, maps, floor plans, and statistical graphs of different types).
- Auditiv-haptischer Zugang zu räumlich-graphischen Repräsentationen (German version only)
- Multimodal Comprehension of Language and Graphics
- Formal, Artificial and Natural Ontology (German version only)
- Verbal and Multi-modale Route Descriptions (German version only)
- Discourse and Event Structures (German version only)
- ConcEv – Conceptualizing Processes in Language Production (DFG, funding period 1997-2003)
- ARK – Axiomatics of Spatial Concepts (DFG, funding period 1996-2002)
- Texte – Non-vervbal Cognition and Text Understanding (German version only) (DFG, funding period 1994-1999)
- Synphonics (German version only) (DFG, funding period 1993-1995)
- GAP – Processes of Grouping and Delimitation (German version only) (DFG, funding period 1987-1993)
- LILOG-Space (IBM, funding period 1986-1991)
- International Research Training Group CINACS (DFG, funding period 2006-2015)
- Priority Program Language Production (DFG, funding period 1997-2003)
- Priority Program Spatial Cognition (DFG, funding period 1996-2002)
- GrkK – Graduate Program Cognitive Science (German version only) (DFG, funding period 1990-2000)