2015 Knowledge Engineering and Mathematical Geology — Vistelius Session

Mathematical geology and knowledge engineering, their relationship and strategies of co-application constitute one of the main research areas of the Geognosis project. In 2012, we ran the first international colloquium on this issue, which brought ten contributions from five countries published online at the Geognosis website. In 2015, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Andrei Borisovich Vistelius (1915-1994), a geologist from Leningrad who founded the science of mathematical geology. This is why the forthcoming workshop will be dedicated to him and is entitled Vistelius Session.

The study of mathematical geology aims to mathematically express the evolution of the Earth. This claim, however, appeared to be hard-to-meet by geology and therefore the research program proposed by Vistelius yet in 1970-1990s remains largely unfulfilled. The reason for this, or at least a part of reason, is the gap between traditional geological knowledge and mathematical formalisms, which impedes formulation of strict qualitative conceptual models considered by Vistelius as the basement for mathematical modeling. Nevertheless, one may expect that this problem was faced, with more or less dramatism, by many descriptive sciences, and the study of artificial intelligence, namely the knowledge engineering, has suggested tools to cope with it. One of the most promising tools designed specially to solve the geoscientific tasks is the method of event bush.

The Vistelius session will focus mainly on the theoretical issues of the event bush and case stories of its application in various fields of the Earth sciences. It will take place on 25-26 November, 2015, in ITMO University, St. Petersburg, and combine a scientific session and an expert knowledge elicitation campaign.

In the first day, there will be talks of invited speakers, first on the theory (in the morning), and then on the particular applied problems urging the application of event bush.

In the morning, Prof. Glebovitsky (St. Petersburg State University, Russia) will outline the history and main methodological challenges of mathematical geology as seen by Andrei Vistelius. Cyril Pshenichny (ITMO University, Russia) will provide a link from mathematical geology to knowledge engineering stressing the relevance of dynamic knowledge for the studies of the Earth and describe the theoretical foundations of dynamic knowledge engineering with particular emphasis on the event bush. Uwe Wolter (University of Bergen, Norway) will give an outline of the event bush method in terms of category theory including the implications for functional programming. Paolo Diviacco (Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics, Trieste, Italy) will demonstrate how the event bush framework can be used to facilitate collaborative research in the geosciences pointing at the possible connotational and contextual hindrances.

In the afternoon, the speakers will present particular problems awaiting solution in terms of the event bush. Roberto Carniel (University of Udine, Italy) will describe the phenomenon of site effect in seismology. Silvina Guzman (University of Salta, Argentina) will present a reconstruction of geologic and eruptive history of a caldera in the Southern Andes. Vladimir Anokhin (Institute of Limnology, St. Petersburg, Russia) will consider conflicting theories of global tectonics. Several more talks are expected and will be announced later.

In the second day, the “afternoon speakers” will practice in transforming their knowledge into event bushes in the dialog with the “morning speakers” and then, in a brainstorm mode, try to construct a general event-bush-based framework encompassing their diverse and specific geoscientific tasks. The results will be presented at the closing session in the afternoon.

Everyone is invited to the first-day and closing sessions. Talks will be given partly in English, partly in Russian. Depending on the audience, translation into English/Russian may be provided. After each talk everyone will be given a floor for questions and discussion that may readily continue at the coffee and lunch breaks.

Detailed program of the workshop including dates, place and titles of the talks, as well as presentation files, see here, and the related call for papers, here.

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Summit caldera lake at Tianchi Volcano, China/North Korea. Photo by Cyril Pshenichny