My Most Memorable Event of 2017

I travelled a lot in 2017. The most I have ever traveled before. I flew 163,195 miles which is equivalent to 6.6x around Earth. I was on 114 flights. I spent almost 400 hours (~16 days) on a plane. I visited 17 countries: Austria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, India, Mexico, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, UK, Uruguay. I was in Austin for 164 days (my home), 61 days in Europe, 28 days in Colombia and 16 days in India. I slept 30 nights at a Marriott, 27 nights at an Airbnb and 13 nights on a plane.

Given all this travel, I asked myself: what was my most memorable event of 2017?

The answer was simple: dinner at the Royal Society of London with Bob Kowalski and Keith Clark.

In July, I gave a lecture at the 2017 Reasoning Web Summer School and attended the RuleML+RR 2017 Conference. The conference dinner was at the Royal Society of London. Bob Kowalski gave the dinner speech titled “Logic and AI – The Last 50 Years”. It was the 50th anniversary of when he started his PhD, which gave the rise to logic programming. Additionally, by pure coincidence I sat next to Keith Clark. The combination of sitting next to Keith Clark and listening to Bob Kowalski’s is what made this my most memorable event of 2017

Why?

Early during my PhD, my advisor, Dan Miranker, encouraged me to read about the 5th Generation Japanese Project (if you don’t know what this is, go look it up NOW!) During my research, in order to trace back the relationship between Logic and Data, I encountered the landmark 1977 Workshop of Logic and Data Bases organized by Herve Gallaire, Jack Minker and Jean-Marie Nicolas. That workshop is where Ray Reiter presented his paper on Closed World Assumption, Bob Kowalski presented his paper on Logic for Data Description and Keith Clark presented his paper on Negation as Failure. I even have a copy of the proceedings:

 

Every time I give a talk on this topic, I reference that 1977 workshop to provide historical context of where we are today. See slide 4:

Bob concluded with two open questions:

1) What is the relationship between declarative and imperative representation of knowledge?
2) What is the relationship between different types of rules?

As you can imagine, sitting next to Keith Clark, listening Bob Kowalski’s talk and having the opportunity to chat with them is what made this a truly amazing evening.

With Bob Kowalski
With Keith Clark

What an evening! An evening I will never forget! Thank you Bob and Keith!

Oh, I even saw Alan Turing’s Certificate of a Candidate for Election into the Royal Society.

 

Mind blown!

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