2nd International Workshop on Spatial Cognition & Artificial Intelligence


The 2nd International Workshop on Spatial Cognition and AI (SC&AI) is organized by the Artificial Intelligence & Cognitive Science Working Group of TC12, the International Federation for Information Processing Technical Committee onArtificial Intelligence (AI), and open to anybody interested in the topic. This Working Group, and consequently the workshop, is born from the re-emerged need to bring together members of the international scientific community who work on both theoretical as well as applied overlapping research areas of the two fields. 

We believe that in today’s era of deep learning and ‘black-box’ AI that appears in ‘spatial’ agents, such as self-driving vehicles, service robots, and interactive location-based services (among others), the interdisciplinary nature of spatial cognition and its strong connection with AI may need to become more evident than ever. It takes a joint effort to make such cognitively inspired artificial systems a success.

In this spirit, the 2nd SC&AI Workshop aims at bringing together researchers from different disciplines (e.g., AI & computer science, cognitive psychology & neuroscience, GIScience, cognitive geography & cartography, linguistics, philosophy of mind, architecture and design, engineering, mathematics, and others) to work on cognitively inspired spatial artificial systems. 


This full-day workshop will address issues of shared spaces between human and artificial system, and the blurring of physical separation of human and machine in spatial tasks and interactions. 

The use of mobile computing devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) anytime and everywhere has become ubiquitous today, enabling in-situ interaction, rapid switches between physical and digital worlds, and even the blending of these worlds in augmented reality settings. But now a whole range of new spatial artificial systems have already—or seem set to—enter our everyday environments, for example, computerized protheses, smart homes, social robots in households and healthcare, robotized tools in manufacture and maintenance, self-driving vehicles, and smart cities. Self-driving vehicles (and, arguably, smart homes) will for the first time make us humans interact and communicate with something that actually physically contains us! The introduction of these new systems will have effects and consequences for both system and human behavior, which we believe have not yet been sufficiently investigated so far. For example, all these systems operate on different scales and in different spatial relation to us humans (on-body, in-hand, close-by, independent-from, containing, etc.). We see several issues arising from this development, for both humans and systems alike.

From a system’s perspective, some of the issues involved include:

  • What kind(s) of (spatial) representations do they need? Would there be a unified representation (mechanism) suitable for all?
  • What spatial reasoning facilities do such systems need? Is there a unifying framework applicable to all systems and scenarios?
  • What kind of predictive power do these systems need (e.g., to ensure smooth interaction, to avoid accidents, etc.)?

The user perspective includes questions of:

  • What are the cognitive effects of using / interacting with such systems? Should and can we control for them?
  • How do we (want to) establish common ground with such systems? How does this differ between different systems, if at all?
  • What are suitable reference systems and meaningful spatial references (e.g., when using a prothesis extending our body, or when interacting with a self-driving vehicle containing us)?
  • What are the most suitable interaction modalities? Do they differ between systems?

Call for Participation 

If you are interested to participate, please submit an expression of interest in which you

  • briefly outline your (academic) background; 
  • discuss why you are interested in participating in the workshop (e.g., how does it relate to your work? what do you hope to get out of it?)
  • how you believe you can contribute to discussions during the day (e.g., what questions are you particularly interested in? what answers do you seek?). 

Send your expression of interest as a PDF file of not more than 3 pages by email to the workshop organizers (see above for contact details).

Deadline for submission is Monday, June 3rd.

Workshop program

8.00                 Registration desk opens

8.45-10.30      workshop beginning

Intro by organizers                                                     

Keynote by Zoe Falomir, Bremen Spatial Cognition Center
on Qualitative Spatial Reasoning in/for Computer Games                                                 

Introduction to representations and groups              

Discuss representations in groups                              


10.30-11.00     coffee break

11.00-12.30     group work 1: what do we want to do?

12.30-14.00     lunch

14.00-15.30     group work 2 ‘hackathon’              


15.30-16.00     coffee break

16.00-17.00     famous last words