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Commonsense 2009

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Commonsense 2009

Ninth International Symposium on Logical Formalizations of Commonsense Reasoning

1-3 June 2009, Toronto, Canada;

Call for Papers

We invite submissions for presentation at Commonsense-2009, the 9th International Symposium on Logical Formalizations of Commonsense Reasoning, to be held at the University of Toronto on June 1-3, 2009.

One of the major long-term goals of AI is to endow computers with common sense. Although we know how to build programs that excel at certain bounded or mechanical tasks which humans find difficult, such as playing chess, we have very little idea how to program computers to do well at commonsense tasks which are easy for humans. One approach to this problem is to formalizing commonsense reasoning using a formal language like mathematical logic.

The challenges to creating such a formalization include the accumulation of large amounts of knowledge about our everyday world, the representation of this knowledge in suitable formal languages, the integration of different representations in a coherent way, and the development of explicit reasoning methods that use these representations. The scaling problem is a particular challenge: Many bounded tasks which we already know how to build still cannot scale to broad scenarios involving commonsense knowledge, such as query answering and web service composition on the semantic web, corpora-based computational biology, diagnosis, exploration of unfamiliar domains by robots and autonomous vehicles, and natural-language question answering.

We aim at a science of commonsense reasoning that enables applications in such broad domains as well as a deeper understanding of the ways in which humans engage in commonsense reasoning. This is the focus of Commonsense-2009. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • change, action, and causality
  • aspects of commonsense reasoning applicable to the semantic web
  • ontologies, including space, time, shape, and matter, ontologies of networks and structures, and business ontologies
  • levels of granularity of ontology and reasoning
  • the formalization of commonsense business knowledge
  • the formalization of risk analysis
  • large commonsense knowledge bases (including work related to Halo, and work growing out of the HPKB (High Performance Knowledge Bases) and RKF (Rapid Knowledge Formation) projects)
  • axiomatizations of benchmark commonsense problems (see the Logic Modelling Workshop and the Common Sense Problem Page for examples)
  • exploration of new commmonsense domains in a preformal way: e.g., discussion of new microworlds, benchmark problems, or "drosophilae"
  • nonmonotonic reasoning
  • formal models of probabilistic reasoning
  • formal theories of context
  • mental attitudes including knowledge, belief, intention, and planning
  • belief change, update, and revision
  • cognitive robotics
  • reasoning about multi-agent systems and social interactions among agents
  • applications of formal representations to applications, such as natural language processing
  • other formal or mathematical tools for capturing commonsense reasoning

The symposium aims to bring together researchers who have studied the formalization of commonsense reasoning. The focus of the symposium is on representation rather than on algorithms, and on formal rather than informal methods. We aim for rigorous and concrete paper submissions.

Traditionally, most papers submitted to this symposium have used some form of mathematical logic as the underlying representation. However, we also welcome papers that use other forms of rigorous representations of commonsense reasoning domains, even if they are not logic based. For example, we welcome pre-formal representations in precise natural language, especially if accompanied by rigorous discussion and analysis of the representation.

Technical papers offering new results in the area are especially welcome; object-level theories as opposed to meta-level results are preferred. However, survey papers, papers studying the relationship between different approaches, and papers on methodological issues such as theory evaluation, are also encouraged.

Submission Information

Camera ready papers or extended abstracts of no more than 6 pages (in AAAI format) should be submitted as pdf files via the submission website. Camera ready papers are due by May 15, 2009.


The working notes of Commonsense-2009 will include all accepted papers and will be published by the University of Technology, Sydney ePress (with an ISBN).

Best student paper award

We are offering a best-paper student award, with a $500 prize to partly cover the student's travel. Please indicate on the paper if the author is a student. We thank IBM Research Labs for funding this award.

Multiple Submissions Allowed

Papers may be submitted to Commonsense-2009 even if they have been submitted to (or are currently under review by) other conferences or symposia (such as IJCAI or NRAC). However, previously published papers are not acceptable for Commonsense-2009, unless they include substantial new results.


Persons wishing to attend the symposium should submit a 1-2 page research summary including if possible a list of relevant publications. This is not required for the authors of submitted papers. PhD students need only to send the title and abstract of their dissertation. All requests for attendance should be sent to the program chairs or to

Program Chairs

  • Gerhard Lakemeyer, Aachen University of Technology, gerhard @
  • Leora Morgenstern, New York University, leora @
  • Mary-Anne Williams, University of Technology, Sydney, Mary-Anne @

Summary of Important Dates

  • Paper or extended abstract submission deadline: April 8, 2009 (midnight, Toronto time)
  • Notification of acceptance: May 1, 2009
  • Camera ready papers due: May 15, 2009
  • Symposium: June 1-3, 2009

Questions? Comments? Contact the program chairs or write to

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