October 26, 2009: Distinguished Lecturer Series - Leora Morgenstern: "Formal Theories of Business Strategy and Narration for Commercial Decision Support Systems"

The University of Illinois at Chicago

Department of Computer Science

2009-2010 Distinguished Lecturer Seminar Series

Formal Theories of Business Strategy and Narration for Commercial Decision Support Systems

Leora Morgenstern
New York University, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences
Thursday November 19, 2009
11:00 a.m., Room 1000 SEO


Many complex business interactions and decisions, particularly those involving persuasion and negotiation, rest on a core of basic commonsense knowledge about how people act in the face of obstacles to achieve their goals. One approach, therefore, to developing automated decision support systems is to make this knowledge explicit.

I discuss several methods for modeling and reasoning with this knowledge, focusing both on the formal underpinnings and on specific examples of commercial applications that were deployed using this new technology. First, I introduce Enhanced Semantic Networks, an extension of semantic networks that supports provably sound and computationally efficient reasoning, and the SNAP ontology for business reasoning; demonstrate how the two can be integrated; and show how they have been used in banking and sales applications for Fortune-500 companies. The developed representation can be used not only to reason about specific business situations but to dynamically construct partial dialogues.

Next, I consider the more difficult problem of dynamically generating and modifying business scripts in situations where ideal business strategies do not work as expected. I draw on principles of Constantin Stanislavski's theories of acting and directing, and specifically, his insights into how characters in a script work to overcome obstacles to develop a formal theory of scene analysis. I show how to identify coherent scene analyses and narratives, and discuss how these principles can be used to dynamically plan and generate dialogue in adverse or hostile circumstances

Brief Bio:

Leora Morgenstern received her B.A. summa cum laude in mathematics and philosophy from the City College of New York, and her Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, in 1988. She was an assistant professor at Brown University from 1987 to 1989 before joining the research staff at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Hawthorne, NY. For the past 19 years, Dr. Morgenstern has pursued her foundational research in Artificial Intelligence at the same time as she has extended state-of-the-art knowledge representation techniques for industrial applications. She is noted in particular for her contributions in applying her research in semantic networks, nonmonotonic inheritance networks, and business rules for applications in knowledge management, customer relationship management, and decision support. These applications have been deployed by Fortune-500 companies in various industries, and have been demonstrated to increase company income stream by significant percentages.

Host: Robert H. Sloan and Gyorgy Turan

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