purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
I have heard from the reviewers about the revised version of your
submission to JAR. Based on their comments,
I am happy to inform you that your submission is accepted provided the
following comments in the report can be addressed. Please prepare a
final version and send it to me along with a letter explaining how you
have handled the comments in the report. I will then decide and forward
the final manuscript to the publisher of JAR.

I have been trying to get this paper published in this particular journal since before G was born. I'm not sure quite when I started referring to it as the "Albatross Paper". My boss will be pleased as well. He's not one of the authors, but he'd like to help me improve my publication record and so clearly feels that telling me at regular intervals to get on with rewriting/resubmitting/chasing the progress of the thing is a duty. I'm sure it's a duty he'll be glad to be relieved of.

At this stage the research reported in the paper (an adaption of an automated reasoning technique called Rippling to a more expressive logic) is rapidly reaching the status of historic interest only. But it has irritated me somewhat to see the people currently using the technique, grappling with same problems I did a decade ago, without being able to do more than refer them to a technical report for solutions.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/937.html.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (proof planning)
If your proof plan is going astray,
with a wave-front blocking the way,
then dream up a lemma,
to ripple the fella,
so fertilize can have its day.

Alan Bundy


Aug. 15th, 2008 06:24 pm
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (rippling)
I've this long list of things I've been meaning to blog about over the past few months. I recall making a rather drunken post from BundyFest at the time, but I thought I might try a more sober round up of the event. In brief, Alan Bundy, my PhD supervisor is 61 so we had a symposium to celebrate his 60th Birthday and the opening of the "Informatics Forum" - the rather fancy title of the new Departmental building created for Informatics in Edinburgh, after their previous department burned down in mysterious circumstances.

Alan has worked primarily in Automated Reasoning a field which, one the whole, I would say really took off in 1965 when Alan Robinson published "A Machine-Oriented Logic Based on the Resolution Principle". Alan Bundy started working in what was then the Metamathematics Unit at the University of Edinburgh in 1971 and this became a part of the the Department of Artificial Intelligence in 1974. It's worth remembering how young the field was at this time. Automated Reasoning was only 10 years on from its first major result (Robinson's Resolution paper mentioned above) and it was only 20 years since John McCarthy coined the term "Artificial Intelligence". So it's not surprising that Alan Bundy's early work also involved what are now considered separate subfields such as Machine Learning, Automated Software Engineering and Natural Language. At the symposium a number of his colleagues and students were invited to talk and they were spread across all these fields.

I would identify two major themes from the talks and panel sessions held at the symposium:

What happened to Strong General Artificial Intelligence )

Ontologies are the Grand Challenge )

Other interesting factlets:

Ewen MacLean wrote a Jazz piece based on rippling (probably Alan Bundy's most famous automated reasoning technique) which was performed by what, I gather, are some of Scotland's best Jazz musicians, at the reception. I don't pretend to understand how the music related to rippling though.

Everything was being filmed for posterity but that meant everyone taking the microphone to ask a question was supposed to identify themselves. Much amusement was thereby had every time Alan Bundy asked a question and started it by saying "I'm Alan Bundy".

Alan's PhD supervisor Reuben Goodstein was, in turn, supervised by Wittgenstein. I've always been rather pleased by the fact that, in PhD terms, I am a descendent of Wittgenstein and, of course, via Wittgenstien of Bertand Russell.

The most important thing Alan ever told me was that really intelligent people worry more about understanding things than looking stupid. Therefore they ask questions whenever they don't understand something. I'm not as good at this as I should be.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)

  • Gave Dream Talk. AB suggested checking out Machine Learning literature and asking AI about testing.

  • Got an IsaPlanner critic to work, but couldn't integrate it with the middle-out reasoning proof of yesterday.


  • Blue book note still unwritten but exists as a draft.

  • End-to-end example of using program slicing to detect and error and then middle-out reasoning to fix it in IsaPlanner.

  • Any work with Proof General.

So all in all, not bad for five days. However its all likely to go on a back-burner now since, as AB says, my proof planning work is a hobby these days. So whether I'll be able to build on the achievements is unclear.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)

  • Established that B. was well enough to get G. to school and can now walk without crutches. Re-assured that they won't starve before I get back I have stuck by my original plan to return home tomorrow evening.

  • Talked to DA. This involved installing yet another version of emacs, a new version of proof general, three new versions of Isabelle and a new version of IsaPlanner and then patching the preferred configuration. Just got an email from DA asking rather plaintively if we could actually discuss research tomorrow rather than installation issues.

  • Got IsaPlanner to perform a middle-out reasoning proof, but did this interactively and revealed a nice big search space. Agreed that since middle-out reasoning is a major part of MJo's thesis project she would look at the implications of handling the search space and I would carry on in interactive mode.

  • Went to a talk on parallelising Computer Algebra - this won me a free lunch.

  • Wrote a draft Blue book note on proof specification languages.

To Do:

  • Integrate middle-out reasoning proof with a critic.

  • Finish Blue book note.

  • Get taken to dinner by group.

purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)

  • Decided what to say in Dream Talk*

  • Gave up on critic and decided to see if we could get IsaPlanner to do what it should do after the critic happened. Got part way through implementing this, then got stuck on the need to use Middle-Out Reasoning (which means leaving blank bits in your proof and filling them in later) because MJo (implementor of Middle-Out Reasoning in IsaPlanner had to go for circuit training).

  • More profitable discussions of proof specification languages - decided to try and write it up as a Blue Book Note** tomorrow.

  • Agreed on datatype axioms to be provided for TPTP THF. Also agreed I should email GS and CB to request a "datatype" keyword in TPTP THF.

  • Arranged to meet DA tomorrow afternoon.

  • Attended an informal talk on Qigong.

  • Following an emergency email, phoned G.'s school to say that her father had sprained his ankle (tackling his PhD student during a football game) so if an entirely strange man turned up to collect her he should not be treated as a pedophile of any description, only to find that B. had managed to get their phone number after all and had already spoken to them.

  • Phoned home to a conversation that included such choice gems as "I told G. I could pour her some orange juice but she'd have to come and collect it herself" and "I don't think I can manage to cook pasta for supper since I can't carry the saucepan". He said not to come home early, but then amended it to see how much pain he was in tomorrow morning.

To Do:

  • Write proof specification language stuff up as a Blue Book Note.

  • Get middle-out reasoning working in IsaPlanner.

* My description of a DReaM Talk has got lost in comments somewhere. It's a 90 minute talk in which the use of slides and projection equipment is discouraged but handouts are allowed. It's supposed to cover work-in-progress, or areas of current difficulty and audience participation is expected. It's called Dream because the Mathematical Reasoning Group occasionally fancifully refers to itself as the Discovery and Reasoning in Mathematics (DReaM) group.

** The Blue Book Note web page is also password protected so there is no point linking to it. They are a series of short notes on work in progress and are specifically for "epsilon-baked ideas where 0 < epsilon < 1". They are called Blue Book Notes after Wittgenstein's Blue Book in which he wrote lecture notes which (AB at least) asserts are frequently contradictory. These days the notes are also stored in a series of lever arch files. At the time of writing there are 1,627 of these of which I have written 42 - putting me 7th in the "who has written the most blue book notes" league table. However AB has written 433 so I'm not going to be topping that league table any time soon.

the current result of all the proof specification language discussions )


purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)

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