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Foundations of Biomedical Knowledge Representation
1. Description and aims
Basic biomedical knowledge arises from research at different levels: from the molecular level, via the cellular level, at one end of the spectrum, to the patient level at the other end. However, even though there are huge differences in the techniques and methods used by biomedical researchers, there is now an increasing tendency to share research results in terms of formal knowledge representation methods, such as ontologies, statistical models, network models, and mathematical models. In this workshop, we aimed to increase understanding of representation and reasoning among the different research fields and to find possible bridges and opportunities for further research.
2. Scientific Outcome
The goal of this workshop was to work on a book on biomedical knowledge representation, which will be published by Springer next year. To integrate the different topics that were central
to this workshop, we worked significantly on creating a ‘map of the field’: an overview of the field from different perspectives. We developed an overview of knowledge representations, an overview of tasks where knowledge representation plays a role, and an overview of application areas. This will be published as an introductory chapter of the book, which can be highly useful to other researchers that want to work in this area. Further, we made considerable progress in classifying recent research in major conferences in artificial intelligence in medicine, which gives insight into the current trends in this field. We also intend to publish this work once it has been finalised.
3. Format and Organisation
At the start of each day we had a one hour plenary session consisting of a presentation and discussion. After this, we had parallel discussion groups of about 2 hours with more or less random subsets of the group. Initially, members of the discussion group could give short presentations and the chair lead a discussion related to the presented work. In the last few days, the discussion groups worked on parts of the book. At the end of each day, there was another plenary session where the results of the discussion group were presented and further discussed. For the most part, and especially for the last 2 days, there was an intentional lack of organisation, in order to promote interaction and creativity. We believe this format worked well to promote collaboration between people having different backgrounds.
The support and available facilities provided by the Lorentz Center are essential to organise a workshop like this one. We think that this made the workshop highly successful and has led to a solid foundation to further move this field forward.
Arjen Hommersom (Nijmegen, The Netherlands)
Peter Lucas (Nijmegen, The Netherlands)