Knowledge Aggregation, Representation and Reasoning

The research team of the University of Bern occupies itself with the possibilities of handling today’s flood of information in a more intelligent way. To achieve that they draw on a triangulation of methods, resources and instruments from computer science, the science of information systems as well as economic and social sciences. Moving toward a knowledge society, it has to be possible to extract relevant information such as web and company data from raw data. These can help single entities (e.g., a manager or a citizen) and the society as a whole to expand their knowledge. In order to achieve that, for example search architectures, experiences, interactions and patterns are analyzed. A focus lies on social software which can generate emergent semantics, fuzzy ontologies and collective intelligence. Fuzzy logic is helpful in dealing with imprecisions, partial truths and uncertainty which can appear when dealing with such software. Summarized, the umbrella terms semantic search, social media and soft computing can be understood as a research focus.

The team of the University of Bern currently researches fuzzy cognitive maps and graph databases in order to combine them with the goal of achieving a more intelligent handling of information. Fuzzy cognitive maps support a structured and comprehensible storage of the data elements and allow imprecision, vagueness and uncertainty in data elements. They reveal existing mutual dependencies and this improve the comprehension and interpretation of the links between the data elements. Fuzzy cognitive maps have to be saved in a structured manner and context-dependently in order to be selectively retrievable. For this task, graph databases, a sub-group of the NoSQL core systems, are suitable. The advantage of these databases is that they can process large amounts of data (i.e., in terra to peta data fields). Are data elements stored in fuzzy cognitive maps and those again in graph databases, information can be efficiently retrieved.

Furthermore, there is also a cross-faculty cooperation in the field of Digital Humanities and an oncoming cooperation in climate research. Various research priorities are set. One of them is e-health. This is explored along with the Swiss Post. In this context, the search user interfaces as a specific type of graphical user interfaces (GUI’s) are examined in order to personalize the fields of e-health and Vivates. Another research issue is Smart City. More information on this research is in the description of the research project Smart and Cognitive Cities.