Keynote 1 : The Who/What/Why of Conceptual Modeling of Information
Abstract and dates soon
As a faculty member at The Center for Advanced Computer Studies at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette (in Lafayette, Louisiana), The Oregon Graduate Institute of Science and Engineering, Oregon Health & Science University, and Portland state university (all in Portland, Oregon), she has graduated more than 20 PhD students and published more than 100 papers in refereed conferences and 40 papers in journals. She has served as a principal investigator in more than 50 projects with funding from the US National Science Foundation, the US Air Force, the US National Library of Medicine (of the US National Institutes of Health), the US Defense Advanced Research Agency, and others where the projects were inspired by a broad range of applications including: managing documents in the USDA Forest Service, the design processes for satellite systems, and information in patient medical records; supporting retrospective research over an archive of patient endoscopy reports; improving information retrieval in domain-specific websites (e.g., health information sites in Denmark); and providing what we call semantic widgets for websites that house educational materials. Her research is in the area of database systems, conceptual modeling, digital libraries, and information retrieval. In 2013, she received the 2013 Portland State University, George C. Hoffman Award for Faculty Excellence for "distinguished contributions to the University in the areas of instruction, university service, and scholarship (in that order) which are done in the spirit of humanism, civility, and collegiality." In 2016, she was named an ER Fellow.
Keynote 2 : Conceptual Modeling: Philosophical Reflections
The underlying philosophies of Conceptual Modeling vary between Critical Realism and Ontological Constructivism and fit into the philosophical panorama: There are distinctions and therefore we make them (Realism) — We make distinctions and therefore they are (Idealism/Constructivism).
The presupposition of dichotomies between language and world, description and object, between what we talk and what we talk about, helps to freeze, dogmatize and fundamentalize the status quo into a “real” world and “its” representations.
Claims of representing the real world remain irrelevant as long as consensus prevails. When conflicts arise, the world and other potential decision criteria in a beyond of discourse stay mute: the criteria fail and the opposing parties get into a stalemate… In a recent conversation the ontologist Barry Smith said on how he would deal with competing ontologies: “I try to win.”
Proposing an alternative philosophy of change requires a shift in the vocabulary and in the direction of discourse: Instead of advocating a dichotomy between a fixed/independent world and privileged representations, a philosophy of change favors relations between so far and from now on. The object of a description relates to the description of the object like the description so far to the description from now on. Every description of the object changes the object into a new object of further descriptions.
Philosophical ontologists try to transcend the “here and now” into the past and future. I opt for transparence rather than transcendence. The world, the reality is nothing but the present state of things.
Josef Mitterer (born in Westendorf, Austria) studied philosophy and sociology in Innsbruck, Linz and Graz with time spent at the London School of Economics with Imre Lakatos and at the University of California at Berkeley with Paul Feyerabend.
Since 1990 Mitterer teaches philosophy at the University of Klagenfurt. Guest professor at universities in Austria, Germany and Poland.
Das Jenseits der Philosophie / The Beyond of Philosophy. 1992, 4th edition 2011.
Die Flucht aus der Beliebigkeit / The Flight from Contingency. 2001, 4th edition 2011.
His philosophy is discussed in two special issues of the Journal Constructivist Foundations:
- The Non-dualizing Philosophy of Josef Mitterer, 2008. Includes (Radical) Constructivism – What Difference Does It Make? by Josef Mitterer. http://constructivist.info/3/3
- Non-dualism: A Conceptual Revision?, 2013. Includes On Interpretation by Josef Mitterer. http://constructivist.info/8/2
Keynote 3 : The universal ontology: A vision for conceptual modeling and the semantic web
This talk puts forward a vision of a universal ontology (UO) aiming at solving, or at least greatly alleviating, the semantic integration problem in the field of conceptual modeling and the understandability problem in the field of the semantic web. As a first approximation, by UO we mean the formal specification of all the concepts that we use and share. So far it has been assumed that the UO is not feasible in practice, but we think that it is time to revisit that assumption in the light of the current state-of-the-art. This talk aims to be a step in this direction. We try to make an initial proposal of a feasible UO. We present the scope of the UO, the kinds of its concepts, and the elements that could comprise the specification of each concept. We propose a modular structure for the UO consisting of four levels. We argue that the UO needs a complete set of concept composition operators, and we sketch three of them. We also tackle a few issues related to the feasibility of the UO, which we think that they could be surmountable. Finally, we discuss the desirability of the UO, and we explain why we conjecture that there are already organizations that have the knowledge and resources needed to develop it, and that might have an interest in its development in the near future.
He has worked in the field of information systems for over 40 years, initially in industrial and later in university and research contexts. His main interests have been conceptual modeling, requirements engineering and information systems design. He has taught extensively on these topics. He has also conducted research on these topics, which has been published in international journals and conferences. His most recent work focusses on ontologies and the semantic web. He was the author of the book "Conceptual Modeling of Information Systems" (Springer, 2007).
In the UPC, he was dean of the Faculty of Informatics, director of the information systems department and director of the PhD school.
He is a member of the ER Steering Committee, of which he was chair during 2012-2014. He was the Program Co-chair of the ER 2006 and the General Chair of CAISE 1997 and ER 2008. He was elected ER Fellow in 2010.