The present newsletter is intended to appear once a month, containing
up-to-date and focussed information for researchers in the specific
area of spatial and temporal reasoning. During the initial phase, the
topic will be further limited to reasoning about actions and
change. The extension to other aspects of spatial and temporal
reasoning will hopefully follow once we get going.
The invitation to participate in Compulog's Special Interest Group
on Spatial and Temporal Reasoning was sent out to all Compulog member
nodes in mid-January. At this point, three weeks later, 23 research
groups in 8 European countries have joined, as listed in our
directory of research groups. That directory also contains
references to 23 additional groups both inside and outside Europe,
making it a comprehensive source of information. Likewise,
the directory of researchers lists 135 researchers in the field.
Additional member nodes and other entries are added almost daily. For a
specialized research area these are large numbers. We hope to
provide this community with a useful commodity for a researcher:
strongly focussed information about current developments and
existing body of knowledge in our specific area of research.
A few initial words about the organizational picture are in place.
The newsletter is issued under the auspices of SIG-STER, the Special
Interest Group on Spatial and Temporal Reasoning, which is a
special interest group within the Compulog network, which in turn is
a part of the European Union's R&D program Esprit. SIG-STER is
Besides the electronic newsletter, we also organize or plan to
organize some other electronic
activities through SIG-STER: a calendarium with links to researchers,
research groups, conferences, journals, etc; also a bibliographic
which shall facilitate the electronic retrieval of research articles,
an archive for tech reports, and so on. The name ECSTER (European
Colloquium for Spatial and Temporal Reasoning) refers to
the totality of those electronic activities.
Compulog is a network having research institutes, research groups,
and companies as member nodes. SIG-STER is composed of such Compulog
nodes (or substructures of Compulog nodes) which have an active
interest in spatial and temporal reasoning.
The idea with a newsletter is that you glance through it, act on the
information you find relevant, and then throw it away. The present
newsletter will attempt to provide up-to-date information about
research developments and research events. Our goal is to cover
everything that happens on the European scene, and major developments
The Newsletter will always be brief, and contain a high density of
links to more detailed information. Think of it as a reading menue that
appears once a month.
If, later on, you wish to refer back to what you saw in an earlier
issue of the newsletter,
probably the easiest way to find the information is through other parts
of the colloquium. For example, new articles that are mentioned in the
Newsletter can also be accessed via the entry of the author, and via
the entry of the conference or workshop where it was presented.
However, back copies of the Newsletter itself are also retained in
the Colloquium structure.
The present issue of the newsletter contains links to those papers
at the recent Common Sense workshop that explicitly address (spatial or)
temporal reasoning. This provides a certain convenience for you as
reader, in the sense that you can click directly on the title of the
paper to obtain the full text, but you probably would not have missed
those papers anyway. However, the Newsletter as well as other parts of
the Colloquium will also provide references to publications in the
following, slightly less accessible categories:
Scattered papers on spatial and temporal reasoning
which have appeared at conferences or in journals where most of the
contributions address other topics. It is difficult to keep track
of everything that appears; our goal is that you shall be able to
find all the references here - but only for the present research
speciality. In this issue, for example, you find references to
four interesting papers in our area that appeared
at the German A.I. conference last September.
Scoops: We will try to tell you very rapidly about papers
at forthcoming conferences as soon as the conference program is
announced. For example, this issue contains references to papers
in our area at the forthcoming TARK-VI and ISMIS conferences,
with electronic links to most of them.
Technical reports from member nodes. Making your tech reports
available through the Colloquium is a way of giving them good
exposure before refereed publication. It provides them with a
timestamp: your results have provably been made public on the
day that they appeared in the Newsletter and other Colloquium
Articles in French and German language will also be included.
This is a European colloquium, and we figure that articles in these
languages can be read and are of interest for a sufficient number
of researchers outside their country of origin.
The newsletter will have one heading for "recent results", which means
papers that are hot off the press. Especially this first year, it will
also have a heading for "Make sure you didn't overlook...", containing
links to papers during the previous year that have appeared in less
widely known places. Everything that appears in the newsletter goes
into the reference structure (data base) as well. The reference
structure will also gradually be extended by references to older papers,
in order to build a comprehensive bibliography of the field, but
these older entries will of course not go into the Newsletter.
Other ECSTER services
The other ECSTER services (calendarium, bibliographies, etc) are
displayed as WWW pages expressed in HTML, but major parts of them
are generated from an underlying database. The reason for this is
to make it practically possible to present the information in a
number of different "views": recent results (in Newsletter format),
lists of results on a particular problem, links from a paper to
letters discussing it, and so on. We also hope that the database
technique will facilitate the maintenance of this information.
A particular thanks goes to Rob Miller who has collected much of
the address information, especially for researchers outside Europe.
With his permission, we entered the information in his list into
There are additional plans for the design of the bibliographic reference
structure. More about this in later issues of this newsletter.
Members vs. non-members
The main purpose of the SIG is to give service to its members;
SIG-STER is a closed group in the same sense as Compulog is a closed
group, and for the same reasons. At the same time, there is of course
nothing secret about it. On the contrary, we cordially invite readers
from outside Europe to use the information provided here. In fact,
one reason for the present initiative is that many European researchers
feel their results do not get enough exposure and attention.
As a continent-wide activity, we can hopefully provide effective
presentation of the considerable research that goes on in Europe, and
make it more easily accessible than before.
The only formal difference between members and non-members at the present
time is that the archival service for tech reports (on your request, we
store the file of the full report, and commit to making it persistently
available) can in general only be offered to SIG members.
Corrections to the information that is presented in the Newsletter or
in other parts of the Colloquium are gratefully received. One of our
goals is that the calendarium information shall be absolutely correct,
down to the last accent or diacritical mark, so even minor corrections
Our web pages, and the database that is used as a tool for generating
them, only contain information about publications plus the elementary
addressing and affiliation information for researchers/authors and for
research groups. This information has sometimes been contributed
by the researcher himself or herself, but sometimes we have collected it
from the front pages of publications, or from other similar sources.
We can not possibly imagine that anyone would
object to having his or her information in these categories presented
in this way. After all, when you publish something, it is in order to
get other people's attention. However, if you find that you
don't want to be listed here, send us a note and we will of course
comply at once.
Contributions are invited...
... for all the categories of information that you see in the Newsletter
and in the other Colloquium structures: names and coordinates of
researchers in this area (yourself, if you are not already in our list;
also colleagues that you feel should be included), your own recent
publications, your epoch-making but underestimated contributions from
ten years ago, and so on.
There is not yet any heading for debate letters, that is, contributions
where you discuss topics in our current research, pros and cons
of various approaches, etc. But, if we receive contributions of this kind
we'll create a heading for them as well, and in a format whereby such
letters are persistently stored, and are as referencable as a letter
to a paper-based newsletter.
The following recent conferences and workshops contained papers on
actions and change:
The last dates for contributions to ECAI and AAAI were
both in the beginning of January. Since most submitted papers appear
as departmental tech reports before or shortly after submission,
we hope that contributions in the area of actions and change will
appear in the ECSTER Colloquium. Authors, please see the
section on archive
for details on how to submit.
The programs of the following two forthcoming conferences contain a
few papers that appear to be relevant for the topic of reasoning about
actions and change. Links to the full text of the paper are included
when known. If such links become available for additional papers, the
present copy of the Newsletter will be updated with them. Check back
in one or two weeks for such gradually arriving information.
Under this heading we will publish quotations of technical reports
which have appeared during the current month and the two previous
months. Slightly older reports as well as journal and conference
articles go under the next heading below. Other work in progress will
also be referenced if the manuscript is available via the WWW link and
the author has explicitly requested that it be advertised.
Make sure you didn't overlook...
This heading will contain references to papers that were published in
1995 and which you may have missed - but which may be quite significant
for your interests. Conferences, workshops, and journal issues will be
covered. Just a few samples for now - contributions are invited for our
Policy for corrections and updates
The electronic medium gives the possiblity of instant correction of mistakes
and instant addition of information in a document that has already been
published. This possibility must be used with care, for reasons that
were perceived already by George Orwell. In the ECSTER Newsletter we will
use the following simple policy as soon as any retroactive changes are
proposed and made:
Each issue of the Newsletter will be kept online in two versions:
the original one (exactly as it was made available on the day of issue)
and a corrected one.
The list of back copies of the Newsletter always contains direct
links to both versions.
The item for the current issue of the Newsletter in the main ECSTER
menue links to the corrected version.
Nontrivial corrections will be explicitly mentioned in a later
issue of the Newsletter, so that the reader is explicitly made
aware that a correction has been made. Only the following types
of corrections are considered as trivial, and are implemented without
mention: corrections of language mistakes, changes of layout
without semantic content, and addition or correction of electronic
links to objects (e.g. to bibliographic references).
If the back-copies page lists only one version of a Newsletter issue then
it is the original one, without even any trivial corrections.
Editor:Erik Sandewall, Linköping University,
Sweden. Date of issue: 11.2.1996.
Date of last correction:11.02.1996