Monday, March 29, 2010

"Computational Models of Narrative," Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, Arlington, Virginia, November 11-13, 2010.

Narratives are ubiquitous. We use them to educate, communicate, convince, explain, and entertain. As far as we know every society has narratives, which suggests they are deeply rooted and serve an important cognitive function: that narratives do something for us. It is clear that, to fully explain human intelligence, beliefs, and behaviors, we will have to understand and explain narrative.


Despite a revival of interest in the computational understanding of narrative, there is still great uncertainty regarding fundamental questions. What does narrative do for us? What exactly is narrative? What representations are required to model narrative? This symposium will address fundamental topics and questions regarding the computational modeling and scientific understanding of narrative. Immediate technological applications, while not discouraged, are not required.

Questions include:
•What makes narrative different from a list of events or facts? What is special about the discourse that makes something a narrative, rather than something else?
•What is the relationship between narrative and common sense? Does understanding narrative first require we understand common sense reasoning?
•How are narratives indexed and retrieved? Is there a “universal” scheme for encoding narratives?
•What impact does the purpose, function, and genre of a narrative have on its form and content?
•Are there systematic differences in the formal properties of narratives from different cultures?
•What comprises the set of possible narrative arcs? Is there such a set? Is there a recipe for generating narratives?
•What are the appropriate representations for the computational modeling of narrative? What representations underlie the extraction of narrative schemas from experience?
•How can we evaluate computational models of narrative?

The symposium will bring together researchers with a wide variety of perspectives to share what is known about the fundamentals of the computational modeling of narrative and to explore the forefront of that knowledge. We seek participation from as wide a variety of approaches as possible, including not only AI researchers and technologists, but also psychologists, cognitive scientists, linguists, philosophers, narrative theorists, anthropologists, educators, storytellers, and neuroscientists.

Visit the conference website here:

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