Industry Presentations

We have introduced a new element to the Application Stream this year, in the form of presentations and case-studies by industry practitioners. Speakers from BT, BAE Systems, Smith & Nephew, HeadCase, Experian International and Elzware will present their perspective on the development of AI based applications, offering insights into the practical issues faced in implementing and deploying AI based systems. We hope that delegates will find these an interesting, valuable and thought-provoking counterpoint to the more theoretical papers that are the main staple of the conference, and that they promote (or provoke) wider consideration and discussion of the practical and non-technical issues involved in turning ideas and theories into reality.

Session 3: Agents and Semantic Web - Tuesday 12 December, 1600-1730

Being somewhat agile to deliver some things quick and on the cheap

Simon Thompson - BT Labs

A key challenge in downstreaming AI technology is the need to demonstrate its value to customers. This leads to a chicken and egg situation, because customers often won't make the required investment before a provable business case exists and often no business case can be made without a trial that requires substantial investment. In this talk I'll describe the methods and philosophy that some of the teams at BT Labs have adopted to try and over come this issue. Unfortunately there will be no quantative proof of the success of the methods, but instead I'll offer some anecdotes that illustrate how some of the approaches have been useful, or not so useful, in getting take up of our tools and technologies.

Simon Thompson is a Principal Scientist and Team Leader at BT Labs. He works in the Intelligent Systems Research Group leading teams working on building new methods of improving customer contact using advanced technology. Simon's research focuses on how web sites can be made easier and more effective for users by using machine inference systems.

Session 4: Industry Presentations - Wednesday 13 December, 1115-1245

Engineering Intelligent Systems

Simon Case - BAE Systems

Typically AI components form part of a broader system whole. This talk addresses transitioning AI technology from prototype to reliable system component. It will describe an approach taken at the BAE Systems Advance Technology Centre to producing well-understood components which can then be used as parts of reliable systems.

Simon Case is Group Leader of the Intelligent Systems Group of the BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre. He has a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Bristol, and an MSc in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh.Having previously held posts for the Intelligent Systems Research Centre at British Telecom, as Research Scientist, and Senior Research Scientist, Simon has experience of many intelligent systems projects including research and development of agent systems and analysis of unstructured information. He is the author of a number of journal papers on personal agents. His current interests include data integration, decision making and planning in volatile domains.

To heal, or not to heal: that is the question

Dr Nick Granville - Smith & Nephew

Many skin complaints are treated conservatively at first, to see whether a simple treatment will succeed. If the treatment is still failing after several months, a more expensive or intrusive treatment may be tried. However, this delay only serves to incapacitate the patient for longer than necessary. This talk describes a study to discover if there were any markers present at an early stage of the disease which would indicate whether or not the complaint was going to heal. If it was not, then the more intrusive treatment could be started earlier for the benefit of the patient. Both traditional statistical methods and non-traditional methods (e.g. neural networks) were used to try and find this set of markers. The entire project was a leap of faith for the company as it was not known at the start of the study whether a set of markers even existed.

Dr Nick Grenville has been working for Smith & Nephew for many years, most recently in the Technical Services Group (TSG). This group comprises scientists with a range of skills including spectroscopy, microbiology and materials science; Nick adds computer modelling and data analysis to the group. The TSG used to work only for the other S&N businesses, but now is able to seek contracts with all companies. By training, Nick is a chemist with a PhD in tribology, but now finds himself working on problems as diverse as the strength of medical implants, the degradation of bioresorbable materials and the analysis of medical images. In recent years, he has gained experience of neural networks, genetic algorithms and support vector machines. Nick is also Editor of Networks, the journal of the Natural Computing Applications Forum.

Virtual Worlds and Digital Humans

Mark Stephen Meadows - HeadCase

This talk looks at two successful virtual worlds (Second Life and Eve), and considers them as petri dishes of emerging civilizations. While they are largely a form of street theatre, these interactive narratives also present different social roles of collaboration and competition. Then, with that initial set of observations laid down, we look at the emerging need for digital humans in these systems. What role will intelligent, emotional, and social characters have in social worlds? Who can use them? How do they work if they are able to migrate across platforms? And is this the next step of VW infrastructure or the introduction of a slave class?

Mark Stephen Meadows (aka Pighed) is an artist, writer, and engineer with over 15 years experience in interactive media. Co-founder and Creative Director of HeadCase Humanufacturing he has also spent time at Xerox-PARC, Stanford Research Institute, and The Waag. The author of Pause & Effect, The Art of Interactive Narrative he helped build the third commercial web server (1992), the first open-protocol 3D multi-user environment (1997), and has won awards such as the Ars Electronica Golden Nica and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's highest honours. He is based in Los Angeles where he lives on his boat, paints, writes, and plays accordion.

Real World, Real Threat

John Walker - Experian International

For many years now, popularity of using computers, and the Internet, has also resulted in trend of growth in areas like on-line crimes, manifesting in attacks against people who have fallen victims cyber crime, scams, and malicious code. To recent years, this was considered to be the territory of single persons, or small groups who were intent on making a quick profit via criminal intent. However, it is now very clear that both business and the public are exposed to activities that are supported by Serious and Organised Crime which can, and do generate millions of pounds of revenue – this presentation will consider the real threats, and look to the reality of the on-line risks we all suffer the potential of on a daily basis’

John Walker was in the RAF in the very early days of Computer Security, and served at number specialist signals units, as well as working with GCHQ, CESG, and other agencies. He has worked for Logica, BAe, Police, Local Authorities, and a number of large commercial organisations, including General Motors, where he held the position of Security Manger (Europe) John is a published author, and has also presented at many venues and forums across the world on the topic of IT Security, eFraud, and eCrime. John is a Fellow of the British Computer Society, and also holds the post of Chair on the DTI ISO17799 Steering Committee, is a member of the Skills for Justice Steering Committee, and is Vice Chair of EURIM (e-Crime), a body consulting with Industry and Government. Today, John maintains hands on approach from a well-equipped and networked laboratory, which is located at his home in Derbyshire.

Session 5: Natural Language - Wednesday 13 December, 1415-1545

Soft AI and Commercial Applications

Phil Hall - Elzware Ltd

Delivering AI into a commercial environment has been the objective of Elzware Limited, a UK based company, since 2002. In this short presentation Phil Hall will present a state of the union in the delivery of pattern matching Chatterbots cross sector. He will explain how we got from " ... it's a gimmick ... " to " .... it's saving me money ... " and " .... I can see the people not the clicks ... "With financial, entertainment and travel sectors pushing forwards with real-time commercial conversational systems and education and call centres following behind into more leading edge innovation, maybe now is the time to ask ... ' Are we there yet ?'

Phil Hall saw the potential in Conversational Systems long before they were a commercial reality. An experienced and adroit IT professional, Phil has worked across market sectors, proving himself to be an adaptable and dedicated businessman. His work as the M.D. of Elzware Limited has brought him into contact with the leading lights of the Chatterbot/Virtual Assistant world. Partnering with Creative Virtual, the sole distributor of Kiwilogic’s LingubotTM technology in the UK, Phil has played a key role in bringing the Conversational Interface into the public eye. In 2006, he has facilitated the launch of Lingubots for British Telecom, SHARP UK, Teletext Holidays, Birmingham Midshires, and content refreshes for many others. From commercial experience with Logica UK and academic perspective from University College London, Phil is a 21st Century bridge builder. Try not to mistake him for a Chatterbot as it annoys him.