Artificial Intelligence Research and Innovative Technologies for Human Development

Workshop of the ITC-IRST University of Haifa Collaboration

ITC-irst, Povo (Trento), Italy - February 9-11, 2004


Feb 9 - Public Sessions

ITC-irst Main Conference Room


09:15 - 09:40 Gianni Bonvicini, ITC President

Lorenzo Dellai, President of the Autonomous Province of Trento

Moshe Zeidner, Dean of Research University of Haifa

Mario Zen, ITC-irst Director


09:40 -10.10 Aaron Ben Zeev, Rector of the University of Haifa

The University of Haifa

10.10 -10.30 Martin Golumbic, Oliviero Stock

Presentation of the ITC-Irst-University of Haifa Collaboration Workshop

10.30 - 11.00 Pnina Vortman

Presentation of IBM Haifa Labs

11.00 - 11.15 Coffee Break

Talks by Haifa scientists

11:15 - 11:45 Larry Manevitz

Two Applications of Neural Network Technology: User Modeling and Prediction

11:45 - 12:15 Moshe Zeidner

Emotional Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns

12:15 - 12:45 Shaul Markovitch (Technion)

Learning and Exploiting Relative Weaknesses of Opponent Agents

12:45 - 14:15 Lunch

Special talk

14:15 - 15:15 Shay Bushinsky

Computer Chess: State of the Art

Talks by Haifa scientists

15:15 - 15:45 Martin Golumbic

Reasoning About Time -- Recent Research on Interval and Tolerance Graphs

15.45 - 16:00 Coffee Break

16:00 - 16:30 Sarit Kraus (Bar-Ilan University)

Cooperation of self-interested agents

16:30 - 17:00 Gad Landau

A Sub-quadratic Genome Alignment Algorithm

17:00 - 17:30 Tamar Weiss

Usability and accessibility: design for universal accessibility based on robust metaphors, modular structures and intuitive interfaces


Feb 10 – Working Sessions

Irst activity presentation

09:00 - 10:00 PEACH (cultural heritage appreciation) demo, Castello Buonconsiglio

10:00 - 10:30 Transport to IRST and Coffee Break

10:30 - 11:45 Presentations by IRST dept heads

11:45 - 12:45 Visit to Irst Labs

13:00 - 14:00 Lunch

Parallel WP meetings and presentations

14:00 - 17:30 WP 1 Natural language processing/Multiwordnet

Wintner, Pianta, Magnini, Bentivogli, Carmel

WP 2.1 Negotiation and recommendation

Ricci, Hadad, Kraus, Hartman, Avesani, Bekkerman, Kuflik

WP 3 Emotional intelligence, engaging communication, usability

Zancanaro, Stock, Zeidner, Weiss, Strapparava, Pianesi, Dvorkin

WP 4 Reasoning

Golumbic, Traverso, Serafini, Gerevini, Cimatti, Bushinsky, Markovitch

*session will end at 16:00, due to initial lecture at the doctoral course by M. Golumbic

Extra theme: Bioinformatics

Furlanello, Landau, Merler, Demichelis, Gori


Feb 11 – Working Sessions

Parallel WP meetings and presentations

09:00 - 12:45 WP 1 (second part) 1 Natural language processing/Multiwordnet

Wintner, Pianta, Pianesi, Magnini, Bentivogli, Carmel

WP 2.2 User modelling

Kuflik, Manevitz, Furlanello, Avesani, Gori, Ricci

WP 4 Reasoning (second part)

Golumbic, Hartman, Traverso, Serafini, Gerevini, Cimatti, Markovitch

WP 5 + 6 Group visits and shared plans + Technologies

Stock, Zancanaro, Hadad, Bushinsky, Soller, Ribak, Callaway

12:45 - 14:00 Lunch

Joint session

14:00 - 15:00 Discussion about WP7 Showcase development

15:00 - 16:00 Wrapping up and discussion on future activity

16:00 - 16:30 Conclusions



Two Applications of Neural Network Technology:User Modeling and Prediction

Larry Manevitz, University of Haifa


We will try to indicate some of the scope of current technology by briefly sketching two recent applications of neural networks. This is with an eye towards future cooperation within the Trento-Haifa agreement.

1. User Modeling:

We show how a neural network can be used to learn a filter from positive information only and illustrate it with joint results with Malik Yousef of the U. of Pennsylvania . This can be applied to produce an adaptive "user model" that can filter, e.g. information from the internet.

This method has been shown to be superior to other one class methods (including one class Support Vector Machines, Naive Bayes and so on).

2. Prediction

In joint work with D. Givoli of the Technion, and A. Bitar of IBM, Israel , we show how to use a "prediction neural network" to anticipate gradients in wave functions. This allows leverage on numerical techniques, which can produce, in the Finite Element Method dramatic increases in accuracy from the same computational load by using adaptive meshing. This technique has been submitted for a U.S. patent.

(This work is the latest in a series of collaborations with D. Givoli on improving the FEM by the use of soft computing techniques.)



Emotional Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns

Moshe Zeidner, University of Haifa


For many years, researchers have wondered what lies beyond intelligence; that is, whether there are social or personal abilities that may predict real-world success over and above conventional ability measures. Recently, the construct of emotional intelligence (EI) has emerged as one of the most high profile ability constructs of this kind (Goleman, 1998; Matthews, Zeidner , & Roberts, 2002). EI may be broadly defined as a set of competencies for identifying, processing, and managing emotion, that support insight into self and others, and more effective coping with the demands of everyday life. EI research has prospered, in part, due to the increasing personal importance of intelligence for people in modern society, with EI commonly claimed to predict important educational and occupational criteria above and beyond that predicted by general intellectual ability. However, despite a high level of interest in EI among both researchers and practitioners, the science of EI is in its infancy, and many key questions remain unanswered.


It is commonly claimed that tests for EI are predictive of important educational and occupational criteria, beyond that proportion of variance which general intellectual ability predicts. In fact, it has been suggested that EI may be more important than IQ in predicting outstanding performance in upper stratums of leadership (Goleman, 1998). As one group of commentators has argued: “If the driving force of intelligence in twentieth century business has been IQ, then … in the dawning twenty-first century it will be EQ” (Cooper & Sawaf, 1997, p. XXVII). These large claims have not been substantiated by rigorous empirical research (Matthews et al., 2002). Nevertheless, there is accumulating evidence that tests for EI measure something more than established ability and personality constructs, and may predict various criteria relating to social functioning and adaptation (Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 2000).


However, there are various obstacles to realizing the potential ben efits of studying EI, as noted by Matthews et al. (2002), in their recent review of the field. First, there is no agreed definition or conceptualization of EI. It is unclear whether EI is cognitive or non-cognitive, whether it refers to explicit or implicit knowledge of emotion, and whether it refers to a basic aptitude or to some adaptation to a specific social and cultural milieu ( Zeidner , Matthews, & Roberts, 2001). Second, it is unclear how EI may be best measured. Both objective tests and self-report questionnaires have been developed, but scores on different instruments fail to converge particularly well. These measures also relate differently to other individual difference constructs. Objective tests, notably those developed by Mayer et al. (2000), are moderately correlated with both general intelligence and personality dimensions. Self-report scales are very highly confounded with existing personality constructs but are independent of conventional intelligence (e.g., Dawda & Hart, 2000). Third, the practical utility of tests for EI is limited by these conceptual and psychometric deficiencies. There are some indications of predictive validity (e.g., Mayer et al., 2000), but as yet there is too little validity for the tests to be used with confidence in making real-world decisions, such as hiring a job applicant on the basis of their score on a test of EI ( Zeidner , Matthews, & Roberts, in press). Intervention programs that seek to raise EI typically lack a clear theoretical and methodological basis, and often employ a ragbag of techniques, whose psychological effects are unclear ( Zeidner , Roberts, & Matthews, 2002).


The time is right for a reevaluation of the current status of EI, leading to a systematic approach towards new research. Thus, the purpose of this talk is to attempt to summarize what we know about EI with respect to theory, assessment, and applications and point out directions for future research. The talk will aim to translate a sharper theoretical focus into practical recommendations in occupational, educational, military, computational, and other contexts, to improve the utility of future assessment and intervention efforts.



Learning and Exploiting Relative Weaknesses of Opponent Agents

Shaul Markovitch, Technion


Acquiring an accurate model of a complex opponent strategy may be computationally infeasible.

We introduce a methodology for simplify the task by inducing only one aspect of the opponent strategy - its weakness.

We define weakness as the set of states where the opponent's relative performance is weak.  The model is inferred using traditional induction techniques and is combined with the agent's strategy to push the opponent towards positions estimated to belong

to its weakness.  The algorithm was tested on two game domains and proved to be effective. This is a joint work with Ronit Reger.



Computer Chess: state of the art

Shay Bushinsky, University of Haifa


Shay Bushinsky, the co-author of Deep Junior, a World Computer Chess Champion, will deliver a lecture about Deep Junior's recent match versus Garry Kasparov.  The match was the climax of the 10 year Junior Project during which it won the world title three times. The recent results between Deep Junior and Kasparov as well as between Deep Fritz and Kasparov & Vladimir Kramnik will be examined. These matches shed further light on the current strengths and weaknesses of the best computer programs. In particular, the lecture will amplify classical anti-computer chess, a theory that evolved over recent years out of human experience gained against AI and the counter methods employed by the programmers.



Reasoning About Time -- Recent Research on Interval and Tolerance Graphs

Martin Charles Golumbic, University of Haifa


Reasoning about time is essential for applications in artificial intelligence and in many other disciplines. Given certain explicit relationships between a set of events, we would like to have the ability to infer additional relationships which are implicit in those given. For example, the transitivity of ``before'' and ``contains'' may allow us to infer information regarding the sequence of events. Such inferences are essential in story understanding, planning and causal reasoning.


There are a great number of practical problems in which one is interested in constructing a time line where each particular event or phenomenon corresponds to an interval representing its duration. These include seriation in archeology, behavioral psychology, temporal reasoning, scheduling, and combinatorics. Other applications arise in non-temporal contexts, for example, in molecular biology, where arrangement of DNA segments along a linear DNA chain involves similar problems.

Events are represented by abstract time points and time intervals, and we process and deduce ``relationships'' between them, such as pairs intersecting each other, one preceding, following or containing another, etc. The techniques used in the qualitative approach to temporal reasoning often involve combinatorial and graph theoretic methods. In particular, interval graphs, interval algrbras, tolerance graphs and orders are often used to model temporal problems.


Tolerance graphs were introduced by [Golumbic and Monma, 1982] to generalize some of the applications associated with interval graphs The motivation was the need to solve scheduling problems in which resources such as rooms, vehicles, support personnel, etc. may be needed on an exclusive basis, but where a measure of flexibility or tolerance would be allowed for sharing or relinquishing the resource when total exclusivity prevented a solution. Since then, properties of this model and quite a number of variations of it, continue to be an interesting and active area of investigation.



Cooperation of Self-Interested Agents

Sarit Kraus, Bar-Ilan University


Self-interested computer agents operating in heterogeneous groups that include people must take human behavior into account in their decision-making. This talk describes a new multi-player game, Colored Trails (CT), which may be played by people, computers and heterogeneous groups. CT was designed to enable investigation of properties of decision-making strategies in multi-agent situations of varying complexity. The paper presents the results of an initial series of experiments of CT games in which agents' choices affected not only their own outcomes but also the outcomes of other agents and in which the information players had about one another was varied. It compares the behavior of people with that of computer agents deploying a variety of decision-making strategies. The results align with behavioral economics studies in showing that people cooperate when they play and that factors of social dependency affect their levels of cooperation.


Preliminary results indicate that people design agents to play strategies closer to game-theory predictions, yielding lower utility. Additional experiments show that such agents perform worse than agents designed to make choices that resemble human cooperative behavior.

his is a joint work with Barbara Grosz, Shavit Talman, Boaz Stosseb and Moti Havlin.



A Sub-quadratic Genome Alignment Algorithm

Gad M. Landau, University of Haifa


The rapid progress in large-scale DNA sequencing opens a new level of computational challenges involved in storing, organizing and analyzing the wealth of biological information. One of the most interesting new fields that the availability of the complete genomes has created is that of genome comparison (the genome is all of the DNA sequence passed from one generation to the next). Comparing complete genomes can give deep insights about the relationship between organisms, as well as shedding light on the function of specific genes in each single genome. The challenge of comparing complete genomes necessitates the creation of additional, more efficient computational tools.


One of the most common problems in biological comparative analysis is that of aligning two long bio-sequences in order to measure their similarity. The alignment is classically based on the transformation of one sequence into the other via operations of substitutions, insertions, and deletions (indels). Their costs are given by a scoring matrix.


The classical algorithm for computing the similarity between two sequences uses a dynamic programming matrix, and compares two strings of size n in O(n^2) time. We address the challenge of computing the similarity of two strings in sub-quadratic time, for metrics which use a scoring matrix of unrestricted weights. Our algorithm applies to both local and global similarity computations.


The speed-up is achieved by dividing the dynamic programming matrix into variable sized blocks, as induced by Lempel-Ziv parsing of both strings, and utilizing the inherent periodic nature of both strings. This leads to an O(n^2 / \log n) algorithm for an input of constant alphabet size. For most texts, the time complexity is actually

O((h n^2) / log n) where h < 1 is the entropy of the text.



Usability and accessibility: Design for universal accessibility based on robust metaphors, modular structures and intuitive interfaces

Tamar Weiss, University of Haifa


One of the major limitations associated with the design of advanced, novel technologies are difficulties associated with their usability, i.e., the ease with which potential users can operate them ( Kantowitz & Sorkin, 1983; Nielsen, 1994) . The human factors literature demonstrates that the interface between a particular technology and a given user may be characterized as "usable" only if it is effective, efficient and satisfying; technologies that cannot be used accurately or completely, that entail the expenditure of inordinate effort, or that do not generate sufficient comfort or enjoyment will be underused or not used at all ( Norman, 1998) .


Usability is a particularly demanding design challenge in the case of technologies that are intended to fulfill the needs of diverse segments of the populations such as those in the present research initiative that aim to enhance the appreciation of cultural heritage via interactive, educational and entertaining applications. Some sources of diversity within the population including variables such as age, gender, language, and cultural background are occasionally, albeit insufficiently, considered by developers of new technologies ( Story et al., 1998) . Other sources of diversity, including impairments of motor, cognitive, sensory, learning and intellectual abilities, are almost entirely disregarded (Vanderheiden, 1990). Consider the design of most pages on the World Wide Web, one of the most frequently encountered technologies available today. Typically they use fonts that are difficult to read, their layout does not focus attention on the more important material and access to linked information necessitates a high level of perceptual-motor skill.


Our objective is to provide a priori support by formulating design protocols based on heuristic principles such that each application in this project will achieve an optimal degree of universal accessibility (Rohlin, 2002). First, we will present an overview of a variety of techniques that have been shown to enhance universal accessibility as part of the design of each application. Such techniques include (1) the use of robust metaphors that are comprehended across diverse cultures, languages and age groups, (2) modular construction that permits the use of full or "lite" versions each application, and (3) intuitive, built-in training (ideally based upon an intelligent agent) that anticipates and responds to limitations by a given user. Second, we will address the issue of interactive, multimodal (3-D visual, auditory and haptic) simulations using tools from the domain of virtual reality to test mock-ups of each application prior to its dissemination. An iterative design-programming-simulated testing process ensues until a satisfactory level of usability is achieved.


Haifa :


Aaron Ben-Ze'ev


Shay Bushinsky


Martin Charles Golumbic


Assaf Dvorkin


Merav Hadad


Irith Hartman


Sarit Kraus (Bar-Ilan University)


Gad Landau


Larry M. Manevitz


Shaul Markovitch (Technion)


Tamar Weiss


Shuly Wintner


Moshe Zeidner






David Carmel


Amnon Ribak


Pnina Vortman






Paolo Avesani


Pavel Bekkerman


Paolo Busetta


Charles Callaway


Alessandro Cimatti


Francesca Demichelis


Cesare Furlanello


Tsvi Kuflik


Gianni Lazzari


Bernardo Magnini


Stefano Merler


Fabio Pianesi


Emanuele Pianta


Francesco Ricci


Luciano Serafini


Amy Soller


Oliviero Stock


Carlo Strapparava


Paolo Traverso


Massimo Zancanaro


Mario Zen


Alfonso Gerevini


Marco Gori


Aaron Ben-Ze'ev

Professor Aaron Ben-Ze'ev is full Professor and Rector of the University of Haifa . He is considered to be one of the leading world experts in the research of emotions. He is co-founder of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research of Emotions at the University of Haifa . His research focuses upon the philosophy of mind and especially upon the research of perception and emotions. He has written many books and articles on these topics including:

The Subtlety of Emotions (MIT Press, 2000), Love Online: Emotions on the Internet ( Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2003) and his latest book In the Name of Love ( Oxford : Oxford University Press: forthcoming).

He has served as Dean of Research, Head of the Haifa University Press and Head of the Academic Broadcasts.


Shay Bushinsky

Bushinsky is a researcher with the CRI Institute Haifa University . His research includes opponent modeling search as well as evaluation function tuning with supervised learning methods.

Before joining CRI, Shay was the CEO of ChessDev, an Internet gaming company. Prior to that, he worked as a project leader, team leader and software specialist for different software companies including: SPL, Applied Materials and ATL.

He specialized in building decision support systems using Object Oriented development methodology. Shay is also a co-inventor of patents in the field of stegonography and in software testing. In 1993 he joined forces with Amir Ban to start Deep Junior as an after hours project.


David Carmel

David Carmel is a Research Staff Member at the IBM Research Lab in Haifa , Israel , and belongs to the “Information Retrieval” Group. His research interests include information retrieval, multi-agent systems and artificial intelligence. He received his MS and PhD in Computer science from the Technion, Israel Institute of technology, in 1993 and 1997 respectively

David Carmel's research topics include: Information Retrieval, Web search, Intelligent agents and Hebrew search engine.


Martin Charles Golumbic

Martin Charles Golumbic is Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Caesarea Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild Institute for Interdisciplinary Applications of Computer Science at the University of Haifa . Previously he was a research staff member and research fellow at the IBM Israel Scientific Center and Professor of Computer Science at Bar-Ilan University . He is the founding editor-in-chief of the series “Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence” and is or has been a member of the editorial boards of several journals including “Discrete Applied Mathematics”, “Constraints” and “AI Communications”.

Professor Golumbic received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Columbia University in 1975. Before moving to Israel in 1982, he served as assistant professor of computer science at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University, visiting scientist at Université de Paris and the Weizmann Institute of Science, and worked at Bell Telephone Laboratories.

He is the author of the book “Algorithmic Graph Theory and Perfect Graphs”, coauthor of a second book “Tolerance Graphs” and has written many research articles in the areas of combinatorial mathematics, algorithmic analysis, expert systems, artificial intelligence, and programming languages. He has been a guest editor of special issues of several journals, the editor of the book “Advances in Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language and Knowledge-based Systems”, and has been the chairman of national and international symposia.

His current area of research is in combinatorial mathematics interacting with real world problems in computer science and artificial intelligence. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Combinatorics and its Applications, a member of the Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Mu Epsilon, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Eta Sigma honor societies and is married and the father of four bilingual daughters.


Meirav Hadad

Meirav Hadad is a researcher with the CRI Institute Haifa University .

She received her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from  Bar-Ilan University , Israel , in 1998 and 2002, respectively. The title of her M.Sc. thesis is “Using Shared Plan in Electronic Commerce Environments” and the title of her Ph.D. thesis is “ Combining Cooperative Planning and Temporal Reasoning in Dynamic Multi Agent Systems”.   Her research interests are multi-agent systems, collaborative planning, distributed constraints satisfaction and electronic commerce.

Irith Hartman

Irith Ben-Arroyo Hartman is the Scientific Coordinator of the Caesarea Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild Foundation Institute for Interdisciplinary Applications of Computer Science at the University of Haifa . Previously, she has held positions at the IBM Israel Scientific Center , the SELA Group, the Open University ( Israel ), and other academic institutions. She did her graduate and post graduate studies at the University of Waterloo, Canada, the Technion in Israel , and the University of Toronto, Canada. Dr. Hartman is a co-editor of “Graph Theory, Combinatorics and Algorithms: Interdisciplinary Applications”, (in preparation), coauthor of the book “Graph Theory Study Guide” (Open University Press, in Hebrew, 1992), and has published many articles in discrete mathematics.

Hartman's current interests are in the applications of graph-theory to various AI problems, studies on emotions, and Tai-Chi Chuan.


Sarit Kraus

Sarit Kraus is a Professor of Computer Science at Bar-Ilan University and an adjunct Professor at the Institute for Advanced Computer studies, at the University of Maryland , College Park . She graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with a Ph.D. in computer science in 1989.

She has worked extensively in the following areas: negotiation and cooperation among agents, information agents, large-scale systems, decision support systems, autonomous computing, optimization of complex systems, data allocation, learning, auctions and electronic commerce, security of databases and systems.

Prof. Kraus was awarded the 1995 IJCAI Computers and Thought Award, an award given every two years at the major international Artificial Intelligence conference to an "outstanding young scientist." In 2001 she was awarded the IBM Faculty Partnership Award and in 2002 she was elected as AAAI Fellow.

She has published over 130 papers in leading journals and major conferences and has received substantial grants from a variety of agencies and companies, including GIF, NSF, GM, IBM and NDS. She is an author of the book Strategic Negotiation in Multiagent Environments (2001) and a co-author of a book on Heterogeneous Active Agents (2000); both published in MIT Press. She is an associate editor of the Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence Journal, and on the editorial board of the Artificial Intelligence Journal and Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems.


Gad Landau

Gad M. Landau received the Ph.D. degree in Computer Science fromTel-Aviv University , Israel , in January 1987. He spent one year at the Courant Institute, and then joined the faculty at Polytechnic University , NY . He is currently a member of the Department of Computer Science at the university of Haifa . He served as the chair of the Computer Science department in both places.

His research concentrates mostly on serial and parallel algorithms for problems related to strings, computational biology, pattern recognition, and communication networks. His research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Israel Science Foundation, IBM and NATO.


Larry Manevitz

Larry Manevitz is currently on the faculty of the Dept of Computer Science, U. Haifa and is the current director of the HIACS Research Center at the University.

A native of New York , his Ph.D. is from Yale University in mathematical logic under the supervision of Abraham Robinson. He has held regular faculty positions at Hebrew University , Bar Ilan University , CUNY; with visiting positions at Courant Institute, U. Texas (Austin), U. Wisc., U. Maryland , Stanford U. , NASA, Polytechnic University ( Brooklyn ),and most recently Oxford University .

He has had several consultancies in industry and has a U.S. patent (pending) in applying neural networks.

His research includes applying mathematical logic to other areas of mathematics, research in handling uncertain information, the theory and application of artificial neural networks, and recently has begun studying mathematical and computational aspects of biological neuronal activity.


Shaul Markovitch

Shaul Markovitch is a faculty member in the Computer Science Department of the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. His main research areas are artificial intelligence, machine learning, multi-agent systems and games.

His research topics include selective learning (selective sampling, forgetting, selective acquisition), speedup learning, feature generation, opponent modeling, resource-bounded reasoning, heuristic search.


Amnon Ribak

Research Staff Member, Telecom and Media Systems, IBM Research Laboratory in Haifa

In 1991 I graduated the Interdisciplinary Program for Fostering the Excellence, in Tel Aviv University , majoring in Linguistics and Computer Sciences. I joined IBM at 1990. In 1993 and 1994 I have been on an international assignment in the USA .

In 1997 I established and managed the Direct Access Applications group in HRL, and led the development of Visitor Kiosks in museums in America and Russia . In 2000-2002 I led the activities which led to the establishment of the Collaboration Technologies group within the KM Department, and then moved to the Telecom and Media Systems group, where I also serve as an Innovation Consultant to IBM Business Consulting Services.

My past experience includes Computational Linguistics and Expert Systems, and user interfaces for mass audiences, including customer-facing systems in the New York Public Library, the American Museum of Natural History in New York , and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg .

In the recent years I am focusing on Knowledge Management, Presence and Context Awareness (including on mobile devices) and Collaboration Technologies. I have invented and initiated the ReachOut tool and methodology for collaboration and community building, and am a committee-member of the IBM KM conference. I took part in the EU FP5 UNITE and COCONET projects, and am involved with the European Commission's New Working Environments initiative.

In the last three years I have instructed CS students in projects that dealt with topics like voice access to email, user-interfaces for people with disabilities, hypertext linking and screen-sharing applications.


Tamar Weiss

Prof. Patrice L. (Tamar) Weiss is an occupational therapist with a M.Sc degree in kinesiology and a Ph.D degree in physiology and biomedical engineering. Originally from Canada , she held academic ranks at McGill University ( Montreal ) prior to her immigration to Israel in 1991. Until 2001 Prof. Weiss was an associate professor at the Hebrew University ( Jerusalem ). Since that time she has held the same rank in the Department of Occupational Therapy which is part of the Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Studies at the University of Haifa .

Prof. Weiss is a founding member of the Mish'aul Center for Augmentative Communication and Assistive Devices. This center is one of Israel 's main sites for evaluations of children and adults with severe communication and performance problems. She founded the Laboratory for Innovations in Rehabilitation Technology (LIRT) at the University of Haifa . The objective of LIRT is to provide a physical and conceptual environment for the formulation and implementation of research related to the development and evaluation of innovative technologies for rehabilitation assessment and intervention. LIRT activities include:

(1) Virtual Reality as an evaluation and intervention tool for the rehabilitation of individuals with physical or cognitive deficits

(2) Development and evaluation of novel computer access interfaces that enable individuals with severe physical disabilities to use their residual motor abilities in more efficient and less fatiguing ways

(3) Objective handwriting product and process evaluation

(4) Use of speech and non-speech audio display to convey information normally displayed visually on a computer screen

(5) Development and evaluation of applications of online and distance learning for teaching health care professionals at the university and for continuing education and for people with disabilities.


Some of the current and future research directions for LIRT include:

(1) Development and evaluation of new functional virtual environments, to be experienced within 2-D and 3-D platforms.

(2) identification of characteristics of 2-D and 3-D platforms in terms of their suitability for different patient populations.

(3) integration of haptic interfaces into existing VR platforms in order to provide simultaneous multimodal feedback during rehabilitation.

(4) conceptualization and empirical validation of a model explaining how characteristics of the user, instrument and task interact to create an effective rehabilitation intervention tool.

(5) Development and evaluation of synchronous and asynchronous online learning modalities with a focus on virtual simulations. Research funding has been received from numerous national and international agencies such as the Israeli Ministry of Defense, the Israeli Ministry of Health, the Koniver Foundation, Keren Shalem, and the Rayne Foundation.


Shuly Wintner

Shuly Wintner is a lecturer at the Department of Computer Science of the University of Haifa , Haifa , Israel . Prior to this position he was a postdoctoral fellow with the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science, University of Pennsylvania and the Seminar für Sprachwissenschaft, University of Tübingen , Germany . He did his graduate studies at the Computer Science department, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa .

Wintner's main area of interest is computational linguistics (sometimes referred to as natural language processing). He is particularly interested in applying methods and techniques from computer science to the study of linguistic formalisms. He is currently working on projects involving Unification Grammars, Finite-State Technology and Resources for Processing Hebrew.


Moshe Zeidner

Moshe Zeidner is Professor of Educational Psychology and Dean of Research at the University of Haifa, Israel. His main field of research interest is personality and individual differences, with particular concern for stress, anxiety and coping, and the personality-intelligence interface. He founded and directed the Center for the Interdisciplinary Research on Emotions and serves as Scientific Director of the Laboratory for Cross-Cultural Research in Personality and Individual Differences. He is the author of over 120 scientific papers and chapters and his recent books include: Test anxiety: The State of the Art (1998), Handbook of Self-Regulation (co-edited with Monique Boekaerts and Paul Pintrich, 2000), Handbook of Coping (1996, co-edited with Norman S. Endler), Stress, Anxiety, and Coping in Academic Settings (1996, co-edited with Christine Schwarzer), and International Handbook of Personality and Intelligence (1995, co-edited with Donald Saklofske). His recent book, co-authored with Gerald Matthews and Rick Roberts, Emotional Intelligence: Science and Myth, published by MIT press, received an award (honorable citation) from the society of US book publishers. He is currently Series Editor (along with Donald H. Saklofske) of the Plenum book series on Human Exceptionality and Associate Editor of Anxiety, Stress, and Coping: An International.. He received the lifetime achievement award for research on stress and anxiety from the Society for Stress and Anxiety Research (STAR) in Lisbon , Portugal , July, 2003.

 Project WPs

WP 1 Natural language processing with applications to cultural heritage appreciation.
Task 1.1: Development of integration of Hebrew within Multiwordnet, a resource and system developed in Trento.
Task 1.2: Learning of semantic knowledge for question answering. Algorithms for extracting paraphrases and other semantic relations from a corpus.
Definitions of evaluation criteria. Development of disambiguation techniques.

WP 2 User modeling and tourist advising

Task 2.1: Negotiation and recommender systems. Modeling interaction between person and negotiation supporting agent.
Design of an architectural solution for the integration of the new component into larger systems.
Task 2.2: User modeling. User modeling within a case-based approach. Web mining technologies applied to case-based modeling and to decision support.

WP 3 Emotional Intelligence, engaging communication, information accessibility

Task 3.1: Emotional Intelligence. Study of new approaches to humor and to affective and creative language.
Task 3.2: Usability and accessibility. Design protocols for universal accessibility based on robust metaphors, modular structures and intuitive interfaces.

WP 4 Reasoning about graphs with applications to spatial and temporal reasoning.

WP 5 Small group visits as collaborative activity

Task 5.1: SharedPlans for visitors.
Task 5.2: Improving the person-machine interface for games (chess). Development of a variable depth search MIN-MAX algorithm

WP 6 New infrastructural technologies

Task 6.1: Technologies for mobile computing environments.

WP 7 Showcase development

In the second part of the three-year activity,the development of a showcase is planned (WP 7).
The showcase will integrate results from activities at IRST, with some of the results obtained in the basic research workpackages.

WP 8 Dissemination, promotion and knowledge exchange

Currently, about half of the basic research work packages have started and progressing.

 Press Release


TRENTO, giovedì 5 febbraio 2004

Intelligenza artificiale e tecnologie innovative per lo sviluppo umano

Da lunedì 9 a mercoledì 11 febbraio, a Trento, il workshop nato dalla collaborazione fra l'Istituto Trentino di Cultura e l'Università di Haifa (Israele).

Il primo workshop trentino organizzato nell'ambito del progetto “Trento-Haifa: Tecnologie innovative per lo sviluppo umano” - nato dalla collaborazione fra l'Istituto Trentino di Cultura e l'Università di Haifa (Israele) – si terrà a Trento, nella sede dell'ITC-irst (Centro per la Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica), fra il 9 e l'11 febbraio 2004.

Scienziati e ricercatori di livello internazionale si confronteranno sui progressi della ricerca e delle applicazioni tecnologiche nel campo dell' intelligenza artificiale finalizzate allo sviluppo umano e svilupperanno la collaborazione in questi settori fra Italia e Israele.

I lavori si apriranno alle ore 9.15 di lunedì 9 febbraio , nella Sala Conferenze dell'ITC-irst , in via Sommarive a Povo (TN), con i saluti del Presidente dell'Istituto Trentino di Cultura, Gianni Bonvicini , del Presidente della Provincia Autonoma di Trento, Lorenzo Dellai , e del direttore facente funzioni dell'ITC-irst, Mario Zen .

Aaron Ben Zeev , rettore dell'Università di Haifa, illustrerà quindi le attività dell'ateneo israeliano, simbolo di multiculturalità e integrazione (il 20% degli studenti e molti professori sono arabi).

I contenuti del workshop verranno presentati da Martin Golumbic, direttore dell'Istituto Cesarea Rothschild dell'Università di Haifa, e da Oliviero Stock , senior fellow dell'ITC-irst. Seguirà l'intervento di Pnina Vortman che descriverà le attività dei laboratori IBM di Haifa.

La giornata del 9 febbraio, pubblica, sarà poi dedicata a una serie di conferenze tenute dagli scienziati israeliani. Nelle sessioni del 10 e dell'11 febbraio, si susseguiranno invece seminari di lavoro tra gli scienziati dell'Università di Haifa e dell'ITC-irst.

Da segnalare l'intervento speciale, lunedì 9 febbraio, alle ore 14.15, di Shay Bushinsky , realizzatore del programma di scacchi campione del mondo, che illustrerà gli aspetti più innovativi nell'ambito dell'intelligenza artificiale applicata al computer per il gioco degli scacchi.

Le relazioni saranno tenute in lingua inglese.

Ulteriori informazioni sul workshop si possono trovare all'indirizzo internet:

 Ufficio Stampa ITC

 In allegato :

•  Scheda sulla collaborazione Trento-Haifa

 La Convenzione Trento-Haifa

Lo scorso venerdì 19 giugno , a Tel Aviv , è stata firmata una convenzione di collaborazione tra l'Istituto Trentino di Cultura e l'Università di Haifa nei settori delle nuove tecnologie e dell'intelligenza artificiale.

La convenzione fa parte del progetto “Trento-Haifa: Tecnologie innovative per lo sviluppo umano” , finalizzato a rafforzare i legami tra l'Istituto e l'università della città israeliana.

La firma ufficiale del documento – da parte del presidente dell'Istituto Trentino di Cultura, Gianni Bonvicini , e del presidente dell'Università di Haifa, Yebuda Hayuth – è avvenuta presso la sede dell'Università di Haifa. Alla cerimonia erano presenti anche Mauro Leveghi , l'allora assessore alla ricerca della Provincia Autonoma di Trento, e Giulio Terzi , ambasciatore italiano in Israele, oltre ad autorità del mondo accademico e scientifico israeliano e italiano.

L'importante evento si era svolto nell'ambito del convegno internazionale “Research and Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Industry”, promosso per il 17 e 18 giugno dall'Ambasciata d'Italia in Israele, che ha visto la partecipazione di esponenti del mondo della ricerca e del mondo imprenditoriale dei due Paesi.

Tale appuntamento, organizzato con il contributo scientifico dell'ITC-irst, si è inserito all'interno di un programma di iniziative volte a sviluppare la collaborazione fra Italia e Israele nell'ambito della ricerca scientifica e dell'imprenditoria. In questo contesto, la convenzione tra ITC e Università di Haifa rappresenta un passo concreto per raggiungere questo obiettivo.