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Ontological Modelling of Socio-Technical Systems



Keynote Speakers
Workshop Organisation
Important Dates
Submission Guidelines

Workshop @ FOIS 2014

Rio de Janeiro, September 22, 2014

Definition and Scope

Socio-Technical Systems (STS) are complex systems that embed human and artificial agents, material and institutional artefacts and resources, in which agents' behaviour and practices are partly constrained by norms. The design and the investigation of the property of STS is a challenging topic for a number of communities such as organisation sciences, multiagent systems, AI, sociology, economics, just to name a few. As a guiding example of STS, one can imagine an airport in which human agents playing different roles, as operators, policemen, crew, passengers... are constrained by institutional and social norms and interact with each other and with artificial agents such as sensors, surveillance cameras, monitors, biometric devices, visual scanners for the luggage, automated air traffic control system, etc.
The contribution of ontologies to the understanding, modelling, designing of STS is crucial, as their role is to provide a clear and unambiguous interpretation of the language used to represent the heterogeneous pieces of information that are intertwined in STS. Moreover, since STS involve both human and artificial agents, what is needed is a means of representation that is fairly understandable by humans and implementable in machines. Ontologies that are built on a solid foundational analysis are aimed at making explicit hidden assumptions and thus enhance understanding. On the other hand, their expression in a formal language favour implementability. STS pose a number of challenges to ontological modelling at various levels. From a foundational point of view, the very concept of system, of human-machine interaction, of artefact, of norm-based behaviour demand an ontologically aware approach that integrates these complex concepts and knowledge of the environment. From an applied perspective, we need clever tools to organise the complex layers of information (normative, technical, social, behavioural) involved in STS and describe their mutual entanglement.
In particular, due to the heterogenous nature of the system, very expressive languages seem to be needed in order to treat such type of information; however, expressive languages usually come with the price of complexity, and pose serious challenges to implementation. The aim of this workshop is to gather a number of contributions that focus on theoretical aspects of the ontological modelling of STS as well as on the application of ontologies to actual STS (such as airports, hospitals, service systems and complex organisations in general).

Topics of Interest

Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Foundational investigation about STS (ontological analysis of concepts of system, interaction,     artefacts, roles, functions, organisations...).
  • Methodological investigations about modelling STS.
  • Representing and reasoning about norms in STS.
  • Representing and reasoning about interaction in STS.
  • Representing and reasoning about organisations.
  • Modelling institutional and technical artefacts.
  • Modelling crisis, adaptivity and resilience of STS.
  • Modelling rules in STS
  • Expressivity of ontologies.
  • Ontology for multi-agent systems.
  • Modelling disagreement and conflict in STS.
  • Interfacing sensor information and symbolic information (e.g. vision-semantics...)
  • Interdisciplinary approaches to STS: ontologies in computer vision, organization sciences, law, economics etc.)
  •  Ontology learning for adaptive STS.




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