These are the proceedings of the 8th European Starting AI Researcher Symposium (STAIRS), held as a satellite event of the 22th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence (ECAI) in The Hague, Netherlands, on 29th and 30th of August 2016. STAIRS is aimed at young researchers in Europe and elsewhere, particularly PhD students. It provides not only an opportunity to submit and present work at an international event with a broad scientific scope and a peer review process, but also the chance to discuss, receive constructive feedback and explore research interests and career opportunities.
The Call for Papers solicited submissions from all areas of AI, ranging from foundations to applications. Topics included applications of AI; autonomous agents and multiagent systems; case-based reasoning; cognitive modelling and cognitive architectures; computational creativity; constraints, satisfiability, and search; information retrieval and natural language processing; knowledge representation, reasoning, and logic; machine learning and data mining; model based reasoning; natural language processing; planning and scheduling; robotics, perception, vision and sensing; social intelligence and socio-cognitive systems; uncertainty in AI; web and knowledge-based information systems and multidisciplinary topics. In short, the scope of STAIRS is the same as that of the major international conferences in AI. What sets STAIRS apart is that the principal author of every submitted paper must be a young researcher who either does not yet hold a PhD or who has obtained their PhD less than one year before the paper submission deadline.
We received a total of 39 submissions, from Europe and beyond. All of them were carefully reviewed by the STAIRS Programme Committee, consisting of leading European researchers who together cover the depth and breadth of the AI field. We are very grateful for the great service provided by these colleagues, as well as by the additional reviewers assisting them in their task. In the end, 11 papers were accepted for oral presentation at the symposium, and a further 10 for presentation during a poster session. These 21 accepted papers are included in this volume. Part I contains the long papers that will be presented orally at the symposium; Part II contains both long and short papers that will be presented in poster sessions.
The body of submitted papers covers the field of AI well, with social intelligence and socio-cognitive systems, machine learning and data mining, autonomous agents and multiagent systems, being the areas attracting the largest numbers of submissions. Among the papers collected here there is a good balance between foundational issues and AI applications. The problems they tackle range widely from classical AI themes such as planning and scheduling, and natural language processing, to questions related to decision theory and games, as well to other, newly emerging areas.
The STAIRS programme will be enriched by several keynote talks. At the time of writing the confirmed speakers are Virginia Dignum, Professor in the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management at the Delft University of Technology, Frank van Harmelen, Professor in Knowledge Representation and Reasoning at the Free University Amsterdam, Ramon López de Mántaras, Research Professor and Director of the Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence, IIIA, of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research, Barcelona, and Stefan Woltran, Professor for Formal Foundations of Artificial Intelligence at the Vienna University of Technology. We are very grateful to all of them for accepting our invitation. We are looking forward to an exciting two days in The Hague, and we hope that readers of this volume will find it as valuable as we have in providing a clear picture of current developments in our field.
H. Sofia Pinto