The AAAI 2014 Workshop on Semantic Cities:

                                                                   Beyond Open Data to Models, Standards and Reasoning

    July 27-31, 2014, Québec City, Québec, Canada

Semantic Cities





Call for Paper

Submission Site



Important Dates

    •    April 15, 2014: Paper Submission Deadline (extended)
    •    May 1, 2014: Notification Decision (extended)
    •    May 15, 2014: Camera Ready Due
    •    June 1, 2014: Early registration date
    •    July 28, 2014: Workshop date


Cities are realizing that opening access to their many data sources and using semantic models to provide a holistic view of this heterogeneous data can unleash economic growth, optimize their operational and strategic goals while addressing computational sustainability issues. We call the cities committed to a semantic infrastructure as a way to integrate, analyze and standardize access to their open data, "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 control”.
A number of cities (e.g., London, Chicago, Washington D.C., Dublin) have made their data publicly available leveraging the technologies and principles from Open (Linked) Data and the Semantic Web, interconnecting heterogeneous data. These technologies, principles and good practices are maturing and are becoming a perfect playfield for research-grade, scalable and robust AI techniques.

This workshop aims to bring clarity and foster the communication among AI researchers, domain experts and city and local government officials. In that context, we want to:

1. Provide a forum for sharing best-practices and pragmatic concerns among both AI researchers and domain experts.
2. Draw the attention of the AI community to the research challenges and opportunities in semantic cities.
3. Foster the development of standard ontologies for city knowledge.
4. Discuss the multi-disciplinary and synergistic nature of the different sub-domains of semantic cities e.g., transportation, energy, water management, building, infrastructure, healthcare.
5. Identify the technical and pragmatic challenges needed to mature the technologies behind Semantic Cities. E.g., since governments and citizens are involved, data security and privacy are key concerns that need to be addressed before others.
6. Elaborate a (semantic data) benchmark for testing AI techniques on semantic cities.

We encourage submissions that show the application of AI technologies to the publication and use of city open data, and how to create a computationally sustainable, economically viable information ecosystems. We want to include work that either discusses the advancement of foundational technologies in Semantic Cities (information and knowledge management, ontologies and inference models, data integration, etc.), or illustrates use cases, or addresses the unique characteristics of standard AI to solve sustainability problems, like optimization, reasoning, planning and learning.

We also encourage submissions from communities engaged in open data and corresponding standardization efforts, not necessarily within the AI community. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

1. Semantic platforms to integrate, manage and publish government data:

  • Provenance, access control and privacy-preserving issues in open data
  • Collaborative and evolving semantic models for cities. Challenges and lessons learned.
  • Semantic data integration and organization in cities: social media feeds, sensor data, simulation models and Internet of things in city models.
  • Big data and scaling out in Semantic cities. Managing big data using knowledge representation models
  • Knowledge acquisition, evolution and maintenance of city data
  • Challenges with managing and integrating real-time and historical city data

2. Process and standards for defining, publishing and sharing open city (government) data:

  • Platforms and best practices for city data interoperability
  • Foundational and applied ontologies for semantic cities

3. Robust inference models for semantic cities:

  • Large-scale / stream-based reasoning
  • Semantic event detection and classification
  • Spatio-temporal reasoning, analysis and visualization

4. City applications involving semantic model:

  • Intelligent user interfaces and contextual user exploration of semantic data relating to cities
  • Use cases, including, but not limited to, 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). 

Workshop Details

Workshop Format: The workshop will consist of papers, poster presentations, demonstrations, 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. The schedule will follow the schedule of the 2012 and 2013 editions, all grouped by topic and type (invited talk, long, short and demonstration papers, panel).

Submission Guidelines: Papers must be formatted in AAAI two-column, camera-ready style. Regular research papers (submitted and final), which present a significant contribution, may be no longer than 7 pages, where page 7 must contain only references, and no other text whatsoever. Short papers (submitted and final), which describe a position on the topic of the workshop or a demonstration/tool, may be no longer than 4 pages, references included.

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

Workshop Notes and Accepted Papers (Click here for schedule)




Invited Talk: “Smart Meta-Data for Open Cities”,
                         by Dr. Rosario Uceda-Sosa, IBM Research, Watson Research Centre, USA.

Abstract: An evolving, silo’d, complex data system, like a modern city cannot always be overhauled into a globally consistent information space. It’s not only impractical but also undesirable, as a unifiedrepository may be too rigid for the organic authoring of data by citizens and city agencies as well as the collection of specialized data from many specialized sensor systems.A simpler, cheaper, more dynamic solution is to build a semantic layer on top of these data sources together with flexible maps into existing data sources so domain stakeholders (city planners, customer service specialists, citizens) or applications can access an underlying, evolving set of heterogeneous data. That’s the theory, at least. In this talk we’ll discuss the rationale behind this strategy, its pros and cons and its place in the emerging ecosystem of Open City Data. We’ll also look at the data that cities arepublishing and how this data is being used to analyze the operations and planning of smart cities.

Bio: Dr. Rosario Uceda-Sosa is currently one of the leading researchers in semantic information models for SmarterCities in IBM T.J. Watson Research Lab. She's working on the design of composable large ontologies which align relevantstandards and enable the integration of (open) city data. Her work also focuses on the usabilityof ontologies and their conceptualization as the next generation of (database) schemata in a varietyof domains, including Financial Industry and Image Categorization and Learning.She has managed teams working on information systems, business rules,semantics models and software engineering. In 2008, she led the Global Technology Outlook, aworldwide IBM strategy process that helps drive IBM's 6 billion dollar investment in R&D. Her industrialexperience includes working as a consultant in software design and usability, modeling and web technologiesfor companies like Ford, Chrysler, GM and Kellogg.She holds a PhD in Computer Science and Engineering, a MS in Mathematics, a MS in Computer Engineering bythe University of Michigan.Dr. Uceda-Sosa is a senior member of the ACM, an ACM reviewer and holds 19 US and global patents. Herwork has been published in conferences like AAAI, IJCAI and ER on the subjects of information systems,ontologies, modeling and usability.


Full Papers:


  1. An Ontology for Urban Ecologism. SUM+Ecology (slides);

Rosario Uceda-Sosa, Berta Cormenzana, Monica Marrero, Salvador Rueda, Maria-Cristina Marinescu and Ferran Fabregas

  1. Foundation Ontologies Requirements for Global City Indicators (slides);

Mark Fox

  1. An Ontology for Open 311 Data (slides);

Soroosh Nalchigar and Mark Fox

  1. Allocation of Pre-Kindergarten Seats in New York City (slides);

Ravi Shroff, Richard Dunks, Jeongki Lim, Haozhe Wang and Miguel Castro

  1. Exploiting Incremental Reasoning in Healthcare based on Hadoop and Amazon Cloud (slides);

Bo Liu, Liang Wu, Jianqiang Li and Ji-Jiang Yang

  1. Profiling and Prediction of Non-emergency Calls in NYC (slides);

Yilong Zha and Manuela Veloso

  1. Dexter: Plugging-n-Playing with Data Sources in your Browser (slides);

Abhijeet Mohapatra, Sudhir Agarwal and Michael Genesereth

Short Papers:


  1. Building Pattern with Open Web APIs in E-Governance (slides);

Biplav Srivastava, Jim Laredo, Shao Chun Li, Florian Pinel, Daniel Williams, Fang Quan Xie, Chih Yuan and Blaine Dolph;

  1. On Demand SPARQL Extension: a Case Study of extending Geo-SPARQL for Sensor Data Exploration in Semantic Cities (slides);

Snehasis Banerjee and Debnath Mukherjee

  1. The D-SCRIBE Process for Building a Scalable Ontology (slides);

Robert Schloss, Rosario Uceda-Sosa and Biplav Srivastava

  1. City Knowledge Pattern: A Standard for Smart City Knowledge Management (slides);

Nooshin Allahyari, Mark S. Fox and Michael Gruninger;

The Organizers


Mark Fox (primary point of contact)

Enterprise Integration Laboratory

University of Toronto

Email: msf at eil dot utoronto dot ca

Freddy Lecue (primary point of contact)
IBM Research – Smarter Cities Technology Centre, Dublin, Ireland
Email : freddy lecue at

Sheila McIlraith

Department of Computer Science

University of Toronto

Email: Sheila at cs dot Toronto dot edu

Biplav Srivastava

IBM Research - India, New Delhi, India

Email: sbiplav  at

Rosario Uceda-Sosa

IBM T.J. Watson

Email: rosariou at us dot ibm dot com 

Steering Committee:


Pol Mac Aonghusa, IBM Research, Ireland
Bob Schloss, IBM T.J. Watson, USA

Program Committee:

Mathieu D’Aquin, Open University, UK
Soren Auer, Univeristy of Leipzig, Germany
Philippe Cudré-Mauroux, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Fabien Gandon, INRIA, France
Michael Gruninger, University of Toronto, Canada
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
Ullas Nambiar, EMC, India
Tope Omitola, University of Southampton, UK
Jeff Z.Pan, The University of Aberdeen, UK
Francois Scharffe, LIRMM, Montpellier, France
Neeta Verma, NIC, India

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