Distinguished Lecture: "Cognitive (Geo)Systems for Decision Support and Capacity Building"
By Giorgio De Felice
19h00, Wednesday, 28 November 2012
CMU-R, 4th Floor Telecom House
Abstract: Information collection, integration, aggregation, and sharing play key roles in capacity building and decision making support. IRTG-SIGI  and Capacity Lab  (Cognitive Systems Group, University of Bremen ) develop ICT systems that are designed for the specific needs of the users in specific situations, such as Emergency Management and poverty reduction in developing countries. The development of user-centered ICT solutions is backed up by basic research to be able to understand and take care of the specific capabilities and needs of the users.
The first part of the talk presents a system for integrating Geospatial information to support Emergency Management. Extreme events cause drastic transformations in human settlements; as a consequence, descriptions of the struck environment, based on "quantitative" spatial data collected before the event, becomes suddenly unreliable. On the other hand, time critical actions taken for responding to extreme events require up-to-date spatial information. Traditional methods for spatial data collection are not able to provide updated information rapidly enough, calling for the development of new data collection methods. Reports provided by actors involved in the response operations can be considered as a source of "qualitative" spatial information. There has been considerable research on spatial representations and analysis based on metric measurements that lead to the development of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). A different field of research focuses on developing representation and reasoning techniques for dealing with qualitative spatial information that describes qualities and relations holding among objects in space abstracting from quantitative representations. Relatively little work exists on finding techniques to combine the different representation and reasoning methodologies. A hybrid reasoning system that combines techniques developed separately for qualitative spatial reasoning and quantitative data analysis will be presented. The integrated approach performs different reasoning operations to retrieve new information pieces from a given set. Derived spatial information can be either qualitative or quantitative and complements the given one in supporting tasks related to visualization (e.g., maps and graphics) or querying (e.g., support for decision making).
The last part of the presentation will show achievements of the International Lab for Local Capacity Building. It aims at reducing poverty in developing countries by researching into methods, algorithms, and systems to support capacity building at a local level.
Biography: Giorgio De Felice is a postdoctoral researcher working in the Cognitive Systems (CoSy) group within the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics at the University of Bremen, Germany. From 2009 to July 2012 he was a doctoral student in the International Research Training Group on Semantic Integration of Geospatial Information (IRTG-SIGI). He received his master and bachelor degrees on Information Technology and Automation Engineering at the University of L'Aquila, Italy. Since 2012, he is member of the International Lab for Local Capacity Building (Capacity Lab).