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PASCAL Newsletter

The PASCAL newsletter contains all the latest updates, plus links to recently added publications and upcoming events.

December 2008

Junior Research Groups (W1/W2), Saarland University, Saarbruecken

Saarland University is seeking to establish several

Junior Research Groups (W1/W2)

within the recently established Cluster of Excellence “Multimodal Computing and Interaction” which was established by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the framework of the German Excellence Initiative.

The term “multimodal” describes the different types of digital information such as text, speech, images, video, graphics, and high-dimensional data, and the way it is perceived and communicated, particularly through vision, hearing, and human expression. The challenge is now to organize, understand, and search this multimodal information in a robust, efficient and intelligent way, and to create dependable systems that allow natural and intuitive multimodal interaction. We are looking for highly motivated young researchers with a background in the research areas of the cluster, including algorithmic foundations, secure and autonomous networked systems, open science web, information processing in the life sciences, visual computing, large-scale virtual environments, synthetic virtual characters, text and speech processing and multimodal dialog systems. Additional information on the Cluster of Excellence is available on Group leaders will receive junior faculty status at Saarland University, including the right to supervise Bachelor, Master and PhD students. Positions are limited to five years.

Applicants for W1 positions (phase I of the program) must have completed an outstanding PhD. Upon successful evaluation after two years, W1 group leaders are eligible for promotion to W2. Direct applicants for W2 positions (phase II of the program) must have completed a postdoc stay and must have demonstrated outstanding research potential and the ability to successfully lead their own research group. Junior research groups are equipped with a budget of 80k to 100k Euros per year to cover research personnel and other costs.

Saarland University has leading departments in computer science and computational linguistics, with more than 200 PhD students working on topics related to the cluster (see for additional information). The German Excellence Initiative recently awarded multi-million grants to the Cluster of Excellence “Multimodal Computing and Interaction” as well as to the “Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science”. An important factor to this success were the close ties to the Max Planck Institute for Computer Science, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), and the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, which are co-located on the same campus.

Candidates should submit their application (curriculum vitae, photograph, list of publications, short research plan, copies of degree certificates, copies of the five most important publications, list of five references) to the coordinator of the cluster, Prof. Hans-Peter Seidel, MPI for Computer Science, Campus E1 4, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. Please, also send your application as a single PDF file to

The review of applications will begin on January 15, 2009, and applicants are strongly encouraged to submit applications by that date; however, applications will continue to be accepted until January 31, 2009. Final decisions will be made following a candidate symposium that will be held during March 9 – 13, 2009.

Saarland University is an equal opportunity employer. In accordance with its policy of increasing the proportion of women in this type of employment, the University actively encourages applications from women. For candidates with equal qualification, preference will be given to people with physical disabilities.

KDD 2009 Call for Research Papers

KDD-2009: The Fifteenth ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD’09)

Paris, France
June 28 – July 1, 2009.


The annual ACM SIGKDD conference is the premier international forum for data mining researchers and practitioners from academia, industry, and government to share their ideas, research results and experiences. KDD-09 will feature keynote presentations, oral paper presentations, poster sessions, workshops, tutorials, panels, exhibits, demonstrations, and the KDD Cup competition.

We invite submissions on all aspects of knowledge discovery and data mining. We especially encourage papers relevant to KDD that cut across disciplines such as machine learning, pattern recognition, statistics, databases, theory, mathematical optimization, data compression, cryptography, and high performance computing. Papers are expected to describe innovative ideas and solutions that are rigorously evaluated and well-presented. Submissions that describe minor variations of existing methods or only make small or questionable improvements to existing algorithms are discouraged.

Important dates:

***Note the earlier submission deadlines***
Abstract submission: February 2, 2009
Paper submission: February 6, 2009
Notification: April 10, 2009
Conference dates: June 28 – July 1, 2009

Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

Novel data mining algorithms
Data mining foundations
Innovative applications of data mining
Data mining and KDD systems and frameworks Mining data streams and sensor data
Mining multi-media data
Mining social networks and graph data
Mining spatial and temporal data
Mining biological and biomedical data
Mining text, Web, semantic web and semi-structured data Mining dynamic data
Pre-processing and post-processing in data mining Robust and scalable statistical methods
Security, privacy, and adversarial data mining High performance and parallel/distributed data mining Mining tera-/peta-scale data
Visual data mining and data visualization Data integration issues in mining
Data and knowledge provenance in KDD

All submitted papers will be judged based on their technical merit, rigor, significance, originality, repeatability, relevance, and clarity. Papers submitted to KDD’09 should be original work, not previously published in a peer-reviewed conference or journal. Substantially similar versions of the paper submitted to KDD’09 should not be under review in another peer-reviewed conference or journal during the KDD-09 reviewing period.

Repeatability guideline:

Repeatability is a cornerstone of any scientific endeavor. To ensure the long term viability of the research output of the SIGKDD community, we require open-source/public distribution of the code and the datasets. In those cases where this is not possible due to proprietary considerations, every effort should be made to provide the binary executable. If proprietary datasets are used, every effort should also be made to apply the approach to similar publicly available datasets. Furthermore, the description of experimental results in submitted papers should be accompanied by all relevant implementation details and exact parameter specifications.

Peter Flach and Mohammed J. Zaki
KDD’09 Program Co-Chairs

John Elder and Francoise Soulie Fogelman General Chair

KDD-09 Call For Workshop Proposals

KDD-2009: The Fifteenth ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD’09)

Call for Workshop Proposals

Paris, France
June 28 – July 1, 2009

The ACM KDD-2009 organizing committee invites proposals for workshops to be held in conjunction with the conference. The purpose of a workshop is to provide participants with the opportunity to present and discuss novel research ideas on active and emerging topics of knowledge discovery and data mining. A workshop should also support the interaction and feedback among topic specialists from academia, industry and government.

A workshop may be organized around around industrial applications in a particular domain and the challenges this domain poses, such as the Netflix workshop on recommender systems (

A workshop may also include a challenge problem, such as the one on time series classification that took place in 2007 ( A session with papers that address a challenge complements the more diverse sessions with regular papers and improves the potential for discussion. Because such challenges require extra time to plan, we may
be willing to provide early notice of acceptance.

The organizers of approved workshops are required to announce the workshop and call for papers, gather submissions, conduct the reviewing process and decide upon the final workshop program. They must also prepare an informal set of workshop proceedings to be distributed with the registration materials at the conference. They may choose to form organizing or program committees for assistance in these tasks. The logistics of the workshops will be done with the help from the ACM KDD-2009 organizers.



* Workshop proposals due: Jan 19, 2009
* Notification of acceptance/rejection: Feb 13, 2009
* Deadline for camera ready workshop submissions: May 29, 2009


PROPOSAL DETAILS: Proposals should be no more than three pages in length and must include the

* Description of the workshop topic and the associated research issues
* Motivations why an ACM SIGKDD workshop on this topic should take place
* Description of the anticipated target group(s) of attendees
* Duration of the workshop (full day or half day)
* Contact information (address, email, and phone) for all organizers
* A designated contact person

The organizers are encouraged to provide the following additional information:

* Description of a potential challenge problem
* A preliminary list of reviewers
* One or more potential invited speakers
* A list of potential authors
* A list of potential attendees

Proposers are encouraged to have their drafts reviewed by potential workshop
participants before submission.

Workshop proposals should be sent by e-mail in either PDF/PS or ASCII format

the Workshop Chair: Carlos Soares,

General Chair: John Elder and Francoise Soulie Fogelman

Call for Papers: Machine Learning and Its Application Stream in the 23rd European Conference on Operational Research (EURO)

Machine Learning and Its Application” Stream in the 23rd European Conference on Operational Research (EURO), Bonn, Germany
July 5-8, 2009

Submission for abstracts starts: October 2008
Deadline for abstract submission: March 1, 2009
Notification of acceptance: March 31, 2009
Deadline for early registration: April 1, 2009
Deadline for author registration (for inclusion in the programme): April 15,2009
Conference: July 5-8, 2009

A subfield of Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, is concerned with the development of algorithms that allow computers to “learn”. It is the process of training a system with a large number of examples, extracting rules and finding patterns in order to make predictions on new data points (examples). Common machine learning problems include supervised learning, unsupervised learning, semi-supervised learning, reinforcement learning, etc.. There are different kinds of applications in this field, including natural language processing, search engines, medical diagnosis, bioinformatics, detecting credit card fraud, stock market analysis, classifying DNA sequences, speech and handwriting recognition, and object recognition in computer vision to name a few.

TOPICS OF INTEREST Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

* Mathematical foundations of Learning Theory
* Data mining and machine learning algorithms and methods in OR areas
* Machine learning applications in Fraud Detection, Healthcare systems
* Optimization methods in machine learning
* Supervised and unsupervised learning methods and applications
* Clustering methods and its application to OR
* Kernel learning and its applications to OR, business, healthcare.

ABSTRACT SUBMISSION: Abstracts must be written in English and contain no more than 600 characters (no formulas or mathematical notations are allowed). Each attendee is allowed to present ONE paper at the conference. Abstract submissions can be done
( according to the guidelines posted there. At least one author of each accepted abstract is expected to participate in the conference and present his/her work.

PAPER SUBMISSION: We invite all researchers, academicians, practitioners, as well as students interested in all branches of operational research, mathematical modelling and economic analyses to participate in the conference and to present their papers in the following areas:

1. Continuous optimization and control
2. Data mining; knowledge discovery; artificial intelligence
3. DEA and performance management
4. Decision analysis; decision support systems; modelling languages
5. Discrete optimization; graphs & networks
6. Energy, environment & climate
7. Financial modelling; risk management; banking
8. Fuzzy sets; softcomputing
9. Game theory; mathematical & experimental economics
10. Health, life sciences & bioinformatics
11. Location; logistics; transportation; traffic
12. Metaheuristics & biologically inspired approaches
13. Multiple criteria decision making, optimization & group decision
14. OR education, history & ethics
15. OR for developing countries
16. OR in agriculture & natural resources
17. OR in industries & software applications
18. Production management; supply chain management
19. Revenue management & managerial accounting
20. Scheduling, time tabling & project management
21. Stochastic programming; stochastic modelling; simulation
22. System dynamics; dynamic modelling
23. Telecommunication & network analysis

Special Journal Issues:
European Journal of Operational Research Journal Organizacija

Kristiaan Pelckmans, University College London (UK)
Jacob Kogan, University of Maryland Baltimore County (USA)
Süreyya Özöðür-Akyüz, Middle East Technical University & Sabancý University(Turkey)

PhD student positions in Helsinki on mining and learning networks

Applications are invited for (up to) four-year fully-funded

PhD student positions

at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki, Finland. The selected students will receive well-supervised PhD training in a world-class research environment on the topics of data mining and machine learning. The starting date is flexible and to be negotiated, at the earliest March 1st 2009.

Specifically, the selected students will be working on methods for learning networks and graphs from a variety of data and utilizing the found structures for visualization, explanation, and prediction. The research will be carried out in the context of the Finnish Centre of Excellence for Algorithmic Data Analysis (Algodan) and the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT). Students will be supervised by senior members of the recently established Discovering Network Structures (DiNS) collaboration:

– Jaakko Hollmen, chief research scientist
– Patrik Hoyer, academy research fellow
– Aapo Hyvarinen, professor
– Mikko Koivisto, academy research fellow
– Heikki Mannila, academy professor
– Petri Myllymaki, professor
– Juho Rousu, professor
– Hannu Toivonen, professor
– Esko Ukkonen, professor

Applications are welcome from candidates with a master’s degree or equivalent (students close to finishing can also apply) in a relevant quantitative topic, such as (for instance) computer science or statistics. Strong mathematical skills, adequate programming skills, and a good command of English are essential.

The salary for a starting doctoral student is based on level 2 of the demands level chart for teaching and research personnel. With the salary component based on personal work performance the overall starting salary is typically between 2000 – 2200 euros per month. There is no tuition fee at the university.

Applications with full contact information, a brief (one-page) statement of research interests, a CV and a transcript of studies (including all courses and grades) should be sent by email to Patrik Hoyer, All applications received no later than Dec 8th 2008 will receive equal and full consideration.

Finland has a high standard of living and a well-developed democratic welfare state, has been a member of the EU since 1995, and consistently ranks at or near the top in various international comparisons of national performance. English is widely spoken, particularly in Helsinki.

For further information please contact Prof. Heikki Mannila, +358 9 191 51246,, or see the DiNS project webpage and the links therein:

Further information on the research environment and on working in Finland:

One Research Fellow Position Available at RSISE@ANU

We are seeking an outstanding Research Fellow with excellent mathematical background and research expertise in

– Machine Learning or
– (Algorithmic) Information Theory or
– (Bayesian) Statistics or
– Artificial Intelligence or
– related area.

Possible backgrounds are a PhD, or near completion of a PhD, in mathematics, physics, computer science, engineering, or related. The initial appointment will be for 2-3 years.

The new employee will interact with Dr. Marcus Hutter and other people in the RSISE at the ANU.

Information for applicants:

Closing Date: 16 January 2009

The Australian National University (ANU) is located in the city of Canberra, the Federal Capital of Australia. The ANU consistently ranks top among all Universities in the southern hemisphere, third in the Asia/Pacific region, and in the top 50 worldwide.

Summer Schools in Logic and Learning

An Open Invitation to attend the

Summer Schools in Logic and Learning

26 January to 6 February 2009

Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

One of the grand challenges in science and engineering is to build computer systems that are trustworthy and intelligent. While achieving this goal could be many decades away, computer systems are clearly getting smarter and more reliable year by year and human society is becoming more reliant on exploiting their increasing intelligence. Logic and machine learning are two indispensable parts of the efforts to meet this challenge.

Join us for a new summer school experience where you have a unique two week opportunity to combine the solid foundations of logic and machine learning, with an introductory track in artificial intelligence in the second week.

Courses are taught by some of the world’s leading computer scientists and blend practical and theoretical short courses with lectures and demonstrations in state-of-the-art computer facilities at ANU.

Courses and Speakers

Artificial Intelligence Courses

Logic Courses

Machine Learning Courses

Fees and Registration

More information

If you would like to discuss this invitation in more detail, including advice on suitable candidacy, please go to:

The Summer Schools in Logic and Learning are supported by ANU and NICTA.

Dr Tiberio Caetano, Convener
Professor John Slaney, Convener
Dr Alwen Tiu (Acting Convener)
Diane Kossatz
Michelle Moravec

Two Post-Doc Positions Available at Univ. Paris-Sud

We are seeking post-doc candidates with strong math or physics and programming skills:

Post-doc in Swarm Robotics; distributed learning, optimization and log mining for autonomous control of swarm robots
– within the European SYMBRION IP; coll. U. Stuttgart, Germany
– within the CNRS-JST cooperation in Robotics; coll. U. Kyushu, Japan
Background: Machine Learning, Robotics, Evolutionary Optimization

Post-doc in Brain Computer Interface: statistical learning for acquisition of new skills and detection of upcoming crises.
– Digibrain project; coll. CEA, France
Background: Machine Learning, Signal Processing.

Post-doc appointment is for 1 or 2 years, fully funded.
French salaries include medical coverage.

Selected students will be working in the TAO group (INRIA – CNRS – Department Computer Science, Universite Paris-Sud), at the crossroad of Statistical Machine Learning and Stochastic Optimization, supervised by senior researchers Michele Sebag and Marc Schoenauer.

Location: Universite Paris-Sud, France; 30′ from Paris down-town.
Working language: English.
Starting date: January 2009.

More: Job Offers,

SVM Technology Wins NSF-Sponsored Challenge at the World Congress for Computational Intelligence 2008

Health Discovery Corporation (OTCBB: HDVY), a leader in support vector machine (SVM) based molecular diagnostics development today announced that Yin Wen Chang, a student of Chih-Jen Lin from the National Taiwan University, distinguished herself in the first causality challenge organized for the World Congress on Computational Intelligence, WCCI 2008, which was held in Hong Kong, June 1-6, 2008.

The challenge, which is sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the European Network of Excellence PASCAL, and Microsoft Corporation, attracted over 50 participants. Yin Wen Chang ranked first on two tasks of the challenge and second and third on the two others, using SVM both for feature selection and for classification.

The four tasks proposed to the competitors were derived from real data in genomics, pharmacology and econometrics. The goal of the challenge was to uncover causes of a given outcome in order to make predictions of the result of future actions. For example, find genes to cure disease, find risk factors to control epidemics. Uncovering causes superficially resembles the problem of feature selection. But most feature selection algorithms emanating from machine learning like RFE-SVM do not seek to model mechanisms: they do not attempt to uncover cause-effect relationships between feature and target.

“We did not expect non-causal feature selection methods to do so well on these tasks,” explained Dr. Isabelle Guyon, co-organizer of the challenge and a member of HDC’s Science Team. “Causal discovery methods did very well at unraveling causal structure, and on average, we observed good correlation between the fraction of causally relevant features selected and the predictive power of learning machines on the tasks of the challenge. Yet, non-causal feature selection methods like RFE-SVM find feature subsets containing complementary features with high predictive power and SVMs are insensitive to the presence of false positive, so this is a combination that’s very hard to beat.”

“Solving problems of causality in order to predict the results of future actions is a critical component of identifying the right drug at the right dose for the right patient and is the cornerstone for the successful implementation of personalized medicine,” stated Stephen D. Barnhill, M.D., Chairman and CEO of Health Discovery Corporation. “We are thrilled that once again SVM technology has proven to be superior to other mathematical algorithms in solving these very difficult and unique problems. We congratulate Yin Wen Chang for her great accomplishment using SVMs to win the NSF-Sponsored Challenge at the World Congress for Computational Intelligence 2008.”

Dr. Barnhill continued, “With 32 issued patents around SVM technology and the only issued patents in the world on RFE-SVM, Health Discovery Corporation is in a unique position to capitalize on the proven success of these techniques to create and commercialize new diagnostic tests and play a significant role in bringing the promises of personalized medicine to reality.”

Further Infomation available at,430724.shtml