Georg Gottlob

Knowledge Processing, Logic, and the Future of AI

VCLA hosting a talk by Georg Gottlob on the occasion of the Vienna World Logic Day Lecture

DATE:Thursday, January 14, 2021
TIME:17:00 – 18:00
VENUE:Online (Vienna)


Nowadays, when people speak about AI, they usually mean machine learning. Machine learning, in particular, deep learning, is a powerful method for generating a type of knowledge that could be classified as self-learned knowledge. We humans, on the other hand, make heavy use of two types of knowledge: (i) self-learned knowledge and (ii) transferable knowledge learned or generated by others. If you read this and/or attend the talk, this is mainly because of this second type of Knowledge. In this talk, I will argue that the combination of both types of knowledge is needed for more powerful and fair automated decision making or decision support,  and thus for the next level of AI. I will discuss various requirements for reasoning formalisms towards this purpose. After discussing logical languages for knowledge-representation and reasoning, I will briefly  introduce the VADALOG  system developed at Oxford and give an outlook on my recent project RAISON DATA funded by the Royal Society.

Short Bio

Georg Gottlob is a Royal Society Research Professor and a Professor of Informatics at Oxford University and at TU Wien. At Oxford he is a Fellow of St John’s College. His interests include knowledge representation, logic and complexity, and database and Web querying. Prof. Gottlob received various awards, among which the Wittgenstein Award (Austrian National Science Fund (FWF)) and the Ada Lovelace Medal (UK). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OEAW), the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina), and the Academia Europaea. He is also an ACM Fellow and an EURAI Fellow (European Association for Artificial Intelligence). He was a founder of Lixto, a company specialised in semi-automatic web data extraction which was acquired by McKinsey in 2013. Gottlob was awarded an ERC Advanced Investigator’s Grant for the project “DIADEM: Domain-centric Intelligent Automated Data Extraction Methodology“. Based on the results of this project, he co-founded Wrapidity Ltd, a company that specialised in fully automated web data extraction, which was acquired in 2016 by Meltwater. He recently co-founded, which puts the logic-based VADALOG system into practice and applies it with banks and other corporate customers. Last but not least, Georg Gottlob is the member of the international advisory board of Vienna Center for Logic and Algorithms, and current speaker of LogiCS doctoral college: Logical Methods in Computer Science, where PhD positions are funded by Austrian National Science Fund (FWF). Even though Georg Gottlob describes himself as “a passionate theoretician who is spending nights proving theorem, or as least trying to”, he has been together with his colleagues in Vienna and Oxford deploying his research-based knowledge on practically relevant problems. Georg Gottlob´s pioneering contributions to the theory, language design, algorithms, and systems in Web data extraction resulted not only in new methods which are reunifying the artificial intelligence (AI) and database techniques, but they also contributed to successful spin-offs (Lixto, Wrapidity) of research projects funded by European Research Council (ERC), thus creating technological transfer, jobs, and permanently impacting not only the local livelihoods but also the international data intelligence industry. Professor Gottlob was responsible for building up a strong research group on theoretical foundations of databases and AI at TU Wien, part of Logic and Computation Institute of Faculty of Informatics. After leaving Austria in 2006 to take on his appointment in Oxford, he was trusted with the specific mission to build a similar database theory group also abroad.  Furthermore, Professor Gottlob has supported creation of the Algorithms Group at the University of Oxford, now led by Leslie Goldberg, which can be seen as a counterpart of Algorithms and Complexity Group led by Gottlob´s co-speaker in LogiCS doctoral programm, Professor Stefan Szeider (TU Wien) co-chair and founder of Vienna Center for Logic and Algorithms. While in Oxford, he has always kept very strong ties with TU Wien, and has intensively collaborated with Professor Pichler as well as with his former student, head of the Logic and Computation Institute, Professor Thomas Eiter, an EurAI Fellow.

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