LINGUIST List 12.385

Tue Feb 13 2001

Calls: Acquisition/Meaning, Multi-Agent Architectures

Editor for this issue: Jody Huellmantel <>

As a matter of policy, LINGUIST discourages the use of abbreviations or acronyms in conference announcements unless they are explained in the text.


  1. Amr IBRAHIM, Acquisition and Construction of Meaning in Crosslinguistic Perspective
  2. owner-um-announce, Multi-Agent Architectures Supporting Distributed Learning

Message 1: Acquisition and Construction of Meaning in Crosslinguistic Perspective

Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001 22:42:41 +0100
From: Amr IBRAHIM <>
Subject: Acquisition and Construction of Meaning in Crosslinguistic Perspective

Call for papers
International Symposium

Acquisition and construction of meaning in crosslinguistic perspective

Universit� Ren� Descartes, Paris V
PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE OF DATES........Thursday 20 & Friday 21-December 2001

Organizer: Claire Martinot

with the support of
La Cellule de Recherche Fondamentale en Linguistique fran�aise et
Compar�e (CRFLFC, Centre Tesni�re of the University of Franche-Comt�,
Group for Basic Research in French and Comparative Linguistics, EA 2283)
Le Laboratoire d'Etudes sur l'Acquisition et la Pathologie du Langage
chez l'enfant (LEAPLE, Laboratory for the Study of Children's Language
Acquisition and Disorders, UMR 8606 of CNRS)

 In the course of acquiring their native language, children
perform partial transformations on the terms which they encounter. In
the case of linguistic items, these transformations often have the
effect of changing the sense of the original expression. This process
of reformulation by substituting-rewording plays an important role in
language development, particularly in the period of later acquisitions,
where they constitute evidence for children's productive abilities.
 We assume that such "acquisition by reformulation" will not
take the same form across languages, since languages differ in the
interrelations they entail between grammar and the lexicon.
 Crossslinguistic analysis of reformulations should throw
light on the impact of particular target languages on acquisition while
at the same time they could point to generalized directions in the
patterning of reformulations, as a means of characterizing children's
productions in the relatively little-unresearched domain of late

 In order for participants in the symposium to have available
comparable analyses of children's productions in different languages, we
would like speakers to present their findings based on the same research
design, by applying procedures that have already been tried out for
French. The research design as translated into English and the story
'Deux amis malheureux' can be obtained from Claire Martinot : or Amr Ibrahim :
(Translations of the story are available in Arabic, English, Dutch,
German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish and Spanish).
The research methodology involves retelling of the story. The idea is
to compare the retellings of the same story produced by children of
different ages (from around 4 to 12 years) and to analyse all cases of
reformulation (rewording or paraphrase) of the original story in the
which they produce.
 We would hope that the symposium will also stimulate research on
languages that have not been widely studied in acquisitional
perspective, as in the case of Arabic, for example.

Information for Participants

 Abstracts should be 800 to 1000 words in length, and should present
the research questions and a brief description of the language in which
the research is conducted.

 Three copies of abstracts, two without any name, should be sent by
electronic or regular mail to Claire Martinot or Amr Ibrahim by March
1st, 2001. You will be informed by the end of March of acceptance or

 A second circular will be sent out in April with information concerning
travel and accommodations.

 Presentations of 40 minutes in length will be given at a plenary
session, preferably in French. Participants who present in another
language should provide a summary of their paper in French.

 We plan to publish a book of the proceedings. Texts to be included in
the collection will be reviewed by outside readers.

 Participation: 200 F for faculty members, free for students

Scientific Committee :

Michel Barbot, Universit� Marc Bloch, Strasbourg II
Ruth A.Berman, Universit� de Tel Aviv
Eve V.Clark, Universit� de Stanford
Maya Hickmann, Laboratoire Cognition et D�veloppement, CNRS, Universit�
Ren� Descartes, Paris V.
Christian Hudelot, Laboratoire d'Etudes sur l'Acquisition et la
Pathologie du Langage chez l'enfant, (LEAPLE - CNRS), Universit� Ren� 
Descartes, Paris V.
Amr H.Ibrahim, Universit� de Franche-comt�, CRFLFC du Centre Tesni�re.
Anne Salazar-Orvig, Universit� Ren� Descartes, Paris V, ( LEAPLE ).

Coordinators to be consulted on practical and academic matters:

Claire Martinot <>
 8, rue de Verdun, esc 12
 F - 94500 Champigny-sur-Marne (France)

Amr Ibrahim <>
 5, rue Louis-L�on Lepoutre
 F - 94130 Nogent-sur-Marne (France)
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Message 2: Multi-Agent Architectures Supporting Distributed Learning

Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001 14:09:52 -0600 (CST)
From: owner-um-announce <>
Subject: Multi-Agent Architectures Supporting Distributed Learning

 Multi-Agent Architectures Supporting Distributed Learning
 in a Wired and Wireless Future
 May 19, 2001
 (associated with the International Conference on AI in
 Education AIED'2001, San Antonio, May 19-23, 2001)



March 15, 2001 - Submissions
April 5, 2001 - Acceptance / Rejection notification
April 25, 2001 - Full papers due (8 pages)


The future learning environments will be wired and wireless, accessible
from anywhere at anytime. Learning in these environments will be distributed
in space and time. Standard classroom models for knowledge building will be
complemented with virtual classroom models involving people of different ages,
cultural and knowledge backgrounds. Knowledge building will be a life-long,
social, evolutionary process of building consensus through sharing and
discussing (knowledge negotiation). How should environments supporting this
type of learning be built? Several types of techniques and technologies hold
a promise: multi-agent architectures, user and learner modelling, mobile and
ubiquitous technologies.

Multi-agent architectures are based on software agents, autonomous software
components, that can interact through a standard protocol and collaborate with
each other to achieve common gaols. Such architectures are promising, since
they are inherently distributed, modular and open. Through the uniformity of
agents and through a standardized interaction protocol, a level of scalability
and interoperation can be achieved that is impossible with other techniques.
Such architectures allow for additiveness and heterogeneity in the software
environment. However, currently there aren't many distributed learning
environments based on large - scale multiagent system architectures.
Why is this the case? What are the advantages and disadvantages of existing
agent-development environments? What are the difficulties underlying the
development of such environments? How can one ensure real scalability, how
can one cope with the system complexity and the unpredictability in its
behaviour? The workshop will focus on some of these difficulties and
stimulate questions and answers from participants with experience in
developing multi-agent based environments.

Another potentially useful class of techniques come from AI. Personalization
of the environment (selection of "community" or "virtual classroom",
translation and dialogue adaptation, adaptation of presentations / discussions
to the individual level of knowledge, preferences, tasks and learning style)
can be achieved through learner modelling. Which techniques in particular are
potentially useful? Which techniques are lightweight enough to come on board
the agents? How can such techniques be incorporated in a multi-agent
environment? Where is the place for these techniques: in the individual agent,
in agents playing the role of tutors or artificial learners (learning
companions), or in a centralized, omnipotent facilitator-component?

Mobile computing devices are rapidly gaining power and connectedness
through hardware technologies like BlueTooth and software technologies
like Wireless Ethernet, Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD) and
Wireless Application Environment (WAE). The growth in this area is so
fast that every state of the art report is already outdated at the
moment it is written. Mobile technologies already allow running
powerful applications, downloaded dynamically as the carrier of the
device enters the range of a station. With such devices and the
emerging ubiquitous computing environments we can imagine changes in
the classroom very soon. For example, the students won't need to carry
heavy-loaded backpacks to school anymore, but will bring only their
palm-top computer, which will interact with the school desk (a large
horizontal touch screen with embedded computer), and download all
homework, projects and materials needed while in class. We can only
speculate how these devices could be usefully applied for learning out
of the classroom. One of the goals for the workshop will be to discuss
these ways.

Finally, distributed learning environments raise many educational and
sociological issues. Who defines the "curriculum" in such a democratic
society of learners? If learning emerges from the interactions in the
virtual classroom, should it be and can it be targeted, or driven in
some particular direction? How can a fruitful knowledge building
interaction be ensured? What would be the role of the teacher -
facilitator, or something else? What would be the role of the
environment - communication medium only, or an active participant in
the learning process? What is an appropriate metaphor for the
underlying multi-agent system - ecological: "survival of the fittest
(best serving) agents", economical: "agents striving to earn virtual
currency", or sociological: "adhering to certain liberal norms of
behaviour"? How can one ensure that the resulting behaviour of the
system is not only robust and dependable, but that it actually
stimulates and motivates learner participation and learning?


The workshop will take one full day. Presentations of the selected
papers will take the first part of the workshop. The goal of the
presentations will be to describe work in the area, but also to
stimulate discussion along the workshop issues. The second part of the
workshop will start with a short brainstorming part where working
questions will be agreed. Then the workshop participants will split in
4 working groups. Each group will have to brainstorm, discuss and come
with answers to their questions. After a one-hour period, the groups
will report the results of their discussions and a general discussion
and a brief conclusion session will follow.


The workshop will enable participants from different backgrounds and
perspectives to share their views and learn from each other about the
techniques that will underlie the personalized learning environments
of the future. Therefore we invite participants interested (not
exclusively) in the following areas:

o Multi-agent systems development, multi-agent architectures for learning

o Developing educational software for wireless and mobile devices (palm-top
computers, cell-phones, ubiquitous environments).

o Distributed or web-based learning environments, environments supporting
learning through collaboration.

o Knowledge building communities.


o papers (5 pages long), or
o statements of interest (200 words)

indicating a particular area or question for discussion should be sent to

Julita Vassileva

as e-mail attachments in any of the following formats: MS Word, Postscript,

The committee will review the papers and several of them (maximum 10) will be
selected for presentation at the workshop and inclusion in the proceedings.
A possible future publication as a peer-edited collection or a special issue of
IJAIED will be discussed at the workshop. The authors of selected contributions
that were not recommended for inclusion in the proceedings will be also invited
to give short presentations and participate in the discussion.


Liliana Ardissono, University of Torino, Italy
Gary Boyd, Concordia University, Canada
Peter Brusilovsky, University of Pittsburgh, USA
Tak Wai Chan, National Central University, Taiwan
Robin Cohen, University of Waterloo, Canada
David Franklin, North-Western University, USA
Ulrich Hoppe, University of Duisburg, Germany
Gord McCalla, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
Joerg Mueller, Siemens AG, Germany
Ana Paiva, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal
Vittorio Scarano, University of Salerno, Italy
Wouter van Joolingen, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Julita Vassileva, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
Thomas Wagner, University of Maine, USA


about the workshop will be available at
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