The AAAI 2012 Workshop on Semantic Cities

At the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, July 22-26, 2012

Semantic Cities


Focus: AI and Open, Linked Data for Cities




Call for Paper

Submission Site



Important Dates

    •    April 20, 2012: Paper Submission Deadline (extended)
    •    April 30, 2012: Notification Decision (extended)
    •    May 8, 2012: Camera Ready Due
    •    June 1, 2012: Early registration date
    •    July 22-23, 2012: Workshop date

Invited Talks:

  1. Challenges and Opportunities in Linked Data for Smarter Cities by Dr. Mariano P. Consens, Information Engineering, MIE and CS University of Toronto [presentation]

    Mariano Consens research interests are in the areas of Data Management and the Web, with a focus on linked data, privacy, analytics for semistructured data, XML searching, and autonomic systems. His publications include journal publications selected from best conference papers and several patents. Mariano received his PhD and MSc degrees in Computer Science from the University of Toronto. He also holds a Computer Systems Engineer degree from the Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay. Consens is a University of Toronto faculty member and a Visiting Scientist at the IBM Center for Advanced Studies in Toronto. In addition, he has been active in the software industry as a founder and CTO of a couple of software startups, and as a Visiting Scientist at Yahoo! Research Barcelona.

  1. Smart Cities by David Eaves, Public policy entrepreneur, open government activist and negotiation expert [presentation]

    David is retained by several governments to advise on open government and open data, works with two spin-offs of the Harvard Negotiation  Project and advises businesses on open source strategies and community management.


  • Dr. François Scharffe, Associate professor at the University of Montpellier 2, France and LIRMM.

    • 10 minutes talk: Technical challenges for linked open cities - As more and more cities around the world open their data and provide data catalogs, data integration challenges emerge. The development of applications reusing data from various catalogs require  a uniform access interface, common identifiers, and shared metadata. I will show that semantic technologies provide a coherent set of solutions to these challenges, and will present the problems toward their adoption.
  • Pr. Marc S. Fox, Professor of Industrial Engineering and past holder of the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Enterprise Integration at the University of Toronto where his research focuses on Enterprise Integration and Artificial Intelligence.
    • 10 minutes talk: 311NG: Next Generation Information Services for Smart Cities - This talk will review the 311NG project which has just begun at the University of Toronto in conjunction the City of Toronto.  It will review the goals of the project and recent work on Municipal Ontologies.
  • Dr.Anand Ranganathan, Research Staff Member, Automated Component Assembly Middleware. Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Hawthorne, NY USA.
    • 10 minutes talk: Applying Stream Processing to different domains, including transportation, finance, energy, telecommunications, etc. Some of these areas, especially transportation and energy, fall under the aegis of IBM's Smarter Planet initiative, whose ads you would have definitely seen if you were watching the US Open or if you had flown out of an airport in the US recently. The basic challenge in all these domains is how do you process giganormous amounts of data being produced by different sensors or other sources in real-time, and how do you extract or produce relevant information and knowledge that can be acted upon by decision makers. Also, how do you apply different kinds of reusable analytics on this streaming data for purposes of classification, prediction, simulation, rule-based analysis, etc.? How do you balance various competing requirements in designing stream processing applications like throughput, latency, memory and cpu requirements, fault-tolerance, cost (in dollars) and development effort?


Cities around the world aspire to provide superior quality of life to their citizens. Furthermore, many are also seen as centers of unique opportunities, like business, fashion, entertainment and governance, for their citizens. Cities want to retain such preeminent positions or re-position themselves for newer opportunities. But, resources needed to reach and sustain such aspirations are decreasing while the expectations continue to rise from an increasing population-base. A positive trend of the internet age is that more data than even before is open and accessible, including from governments at all levels of jurisdiction, which enables rigorous analysis.

The scientific community has responded to city challenges by promoting the computational sustainability vision where resources consumed by a city, such as water, energy, land, food and air, can be monitored to know the accurate present picture and then optimized for resource efficiency without degrading quality of services it provides – traffic movement, water availability, sanitation, public safety, etc. Industry has joined the vision with a “smart” or “intelligent” prefix for cyber-physical systems which involve sensing the data through physical instruments, interconnecting and integrating them from multiple sources and analyzing them for intelligent patterns. This effort needs access to city data, semantic models to abstract city domains as well as interconnect them so that advanced applications can be built by rest of the world. We will like to call cities that enable such capabilities as, “semantic cities”.

In a Semantic City, available resources are harnessed safely, sustainably and efficiently to achieve positive, measurable economic and societal outcomes. Enabling City information as a utility, through a robust (expressive, dynamic, scalable) and (critically) a sustainable technology and socially synergistic ecosystem could drive significant benefits and opportunities. Data (and then information and knowledge) from people, systems and things is the single most scalable resource available to City stakeholders to reach the objective of semantic cities.

Two major trends are supporting semantic cities – open data and semantic web. “Open data is the idea that data should be accessible from everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control1.” A number of cities and government have made their data publicly available, prominent being London (UK), Chicago (USA), Washington DC (USA), Dublin (Ireland). Semantic web as the technology to inter-connect heterogeneous data has matured and it is being increasing used in the form of Linked Open Data and formal ontologies. Thus, a playfield for more AI research-driven technologies for cities has emerged e.g.,
scalable, efficient, robust, optimal AI techniques.

In this context, the aims of the workshop are to:
1. Draw the attention of the AI community to the research challenges and opportunities in semantic cities.
2. Draw the attention on the multi-disciplinary dimension and its impact on semantic cities e.g., transportation, energy, water management
3. Identify unique issues of this domain and what new techniques may be needed. As example, since governments and citizens are involved, data security and privacy are first-class concerns.
4. Promoting more cities to become semantic cities
5. Elaborating a (semantic data) benchmark for testing AI techniques on semantic cities
6. Provide a platform for sharing best-practices and discussion

We encourage submissions that show the relevance or application of AI technologies for computational sustainability domains. In addition to a focus on foundational technologies for semantic cities (information management, knowledge management, ontology, inference model, data integration), we want to promote illustrative use-cases using the semantic cities foundation. Examples are transportation (traffic prediction, personal travel optimization, carpool and fleet scheduling), public safety (suspicious activity detection, disaster management), healthcare (disease diagnosis and prognosis, pandemic management), water management (flood prevision, quality monitoring, fault diagnosis), food (food traceability, carbon-footprint tracking), energy (smart grid, carbon footprint tracking, electricity consumption forecasting) and buildings (energy conservation, fault detections). We also encourage submissions that address unique characteristics of standard AI enabling sustainability problems, like optimization, reasoning, planning and learning. Outside AI, we encourage submission from communities engaged in open data and corresponding standardization efforts, to make their work available at this AI forum.

Topics of interest include, but not restricted to, are:
1. Process to open city (government) data
2. Platforms to manage government data
3. Provenance, access control and privacy-preserving issues in open data
4. Data cities interoperability
5. Semantic models – especially those built collaboratively and evolving
6. Data integration and organization in semantic cities (social media feeds, sensor data)
7. Internet of Things in semantic cities
8. Robust inference models for semantic cities
9. Semantic Event detection and classification
10. Applications in semantic cities
11. Spatio-temporal analysis and visualization
12. User interaction in exploring semantic data of cities
13. Knowledge representation and reasoning challenges
14. Knowledge acquisition, evolution and maintenance
15. Challenges with managing and integrating real-time and historical data
16. Managing “big data”
17. Integrated systems
18. Applied AI models for semantic cities
19. Issues in scaling out AI techniques for semantic cities
20. Case Studies, successes, lessons learnt
21. Public datasets and competitions


Workshop Plan

Workshop Format: The workshop will consist of papers and poster presentations, a panel, an invited talk, and discussion sessions, in a one full day schedule. The invited talk will invite a leading expert in the field to present their research and vision of future work. The panel will focus on connecting the AI researchers to the various challenges that the targeted domain brings.

Submission Guidelines:All papers submissions must be in AAAI format. They can be one of two types. The first is regular research papers which can be up to 6 pages long and are expected to present a significant contribution. The second is short submission of up to 4 pages which describes a position on the topic of the workshop or a demonstration/tool.

Submission site: Papers are to be submitted online at at We request interested authors to login and submit abstracts as an expression of interest before the actual deadline.

Accepted Papers

Long Papers:

Building a Timeline Network for Evacuation in Earthquake Disaster [presentation]
The-Minh Nguyen

Data-centric Privacy Policies for Smart Grids [presentation]
Sebastian Speiser and Andreas Harth

Inconsistency Management for Traffic Regulations
Harald Beck, Thomas Eiter and Thomas Krennwallner

Enabling linked-data publication with the Datalift Platform
Francois Scharffe, Jérôme Euzenat, Serena Villata, Raphaël Troncy, Fayçal Hamdi, Bénédicte Bucher, Franck Cotton, Fabien Gandon, Zhengjie Fan, Laurent Bihanic, Gabriel Kepeklian, Ghislain Atemezing, Pierre-Yves Vandenbussche and Bernard Vatant.

Capturing the Pulse of Cities: A Robust Stream Reasoning Approach
Freddy Lecue, Spyros Kotoulas and Pol Mac Aonghusa

Open Government Data for Tackling Corruption – A Perspective
Nidhi Rajshree and Biplav Srivastava

Short Papers / Demonstration:

QuerioCity: Accessing the Information of a City [presentation]
Spyros Kotoulas, Vanessa Lopez, Marco Sbodio, Martin Stephenson, Raymond Lloyd, Aris Gkoulalas-Divanis and Pol Mac Aonghusa

A new method for Conflict Detection and Resolution in Air Traffic Management
Hojjat Emami and Farnaz Derakhshan


The Organizers


Biplav Srivastava

IBM Research - India, New Delhi, India

Email: sbiplav  at


Freddy Lecue
IBM Research – Smarter Cities Technology Centre, Dublin, Ireland
Email : freddy lecue at


Anupam Joshi
University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA
Email: joshi at

Steering Committee:


Pol Mac Aonghusa, IBM SCTC – Dublin
Craig Knoblock , Information Sciences Institute, University of Southern California, USA
Rahguram Krishnapuram, IBM Research - India

Program Committee:

Mathieu D’Aquin, Open University, UK
Pol Mac Aonghusa, IBM Research, Smarter Cities Technology Centre, Dublin, Ireland
Soren Auer, Univeristy of Leipzig, Germany
Philippe Cudré-Mauroux, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Michael Hausenblas, DERI, Galway, Ireland
Anupam Joshi, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA
Subbarao Kambhampati, Arizona State University, USA
Spyros Kotoulas, IBM Research, Smarter Cities Technology Centre, Dublin, Ireland
Craig Knoblock, USC/ISI and Fetch Technologies, USA
Raghuram Krishanpuram, IBM Research, India
Freddy Lecue, IBM Research, Smarter Cities Technology Centre, Dublin, Ireland
Ullas Nambiar, IBM Research, India
Ulrike Sattler, The University of Manchester, UK
Francois Scharffe, LIRMM, Montpellier, France
Biplav Srivastava, IBM Research India, New Delhi, India
Rosario Usceda-Sosa, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, USA