SILC Showcase

Showcase September 2013: International Spatial Cognition Summer Institute (ISCSI 2013), held at UCSB, August 11-25 2013

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International Spatial Cognition Summer Institute

(ISCSI 2013)

University of California, Santa Barbara, August 11-25 2013

The campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, was the site of ISCSI 2013, the International Spatial Cognition Summer Institute. The Institute was held from August 11-25 and was a combined summer school, conference, and workshop on the interdisciplinary field of spatial cognition, i.e., the study of spatial perception, thinking, reasoning, and communication by humans, nonhuman animals, and computational entities such as robots. Participants included internationally prominent instructors from geography, cartography, and geographic information science; cognitive, developmental, and environmental psychology; computer and information science; linguistics; architecture; and neuroscience. There were 56 students from 7 countries, including Austria, Canada, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States; they were primarily graduate students and early-career researchers from these disciplines. The Institute followed up the successful ISCSI 2003 held in Bad Zwischenahn, Germany.

Feedback from graduate and post-doc attendees was universally positive. As third-year graduate student Corinne Holmes at Temple University stated, “It was surreal to start your day with a run adjacent to the ocean, fill your day with talks from some of the most influential researchers in your field, and end your day learning about ‘up and coming’ studies from your fellow colleagues.” And the day did not seem to end there. Small break-out sessions could be seen scattered around campus following the academic day. In addition to impromptu break-out sessions, a five-mile walk ending at Goleta beach provided students an excellent opportunity to get one-on-one time with PIs and discuss various research ideas. Corinne said, “I came to ISCSI with two ideas for future research, and after multiple discussions, I’m leaving with about ten… Now I just have to figure out how I am going to get them all done!”

Funding was provided by spatial@ucsb, Spatial Cognition Research Center SFB/TR8, Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center (SILC), NSF Science Across Virtual Institutes (SAVI), Division of Mathematical, Life, and Physical Sciences, and the College of Letters & Science, UCSB, ESRI, ETH, Zurich, University of Zurich, Cognitive Science Society, Otto von Guericke, University Magdeburg.

The Institute consisted of sixteen short courses, organized into four pairs of parallel sessions during each week. In addition, students gave short oral presentations of their research activities as they relate to spatial cognition.

The Institute’s web site is http://iscsi.spatial.ucsb.edu/.

The summer school setting
The beautiful surroundings of the summer school nurtured collegiality.

Course Schedule and Instructors:

Week 1 (August 11-17, 2013)
Keynote Speaker: Ben Kuipers, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Michigan

  1. Individual Differences in Spatial Cognition
    Mary Hegarty, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, UC-Santa Barbara
  2. Cognitive Neuroscience of Spatial Cognition
    Thomas Wolbers, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)
    Otto von Guericke, University Magdeburg
  3. Development of Spatial Cognition
    Nora S. Newcombe (SILC PI), Department of Psychology, Temple University
  4. Cognitive Issues in GIS
    Martin Raubal, Institute of Cartography and Geoinformation, ETH Zurich
  5. Human Perception and Cognition of Space I
    David Waller, Department of Psychology, Miami University
  6. Cognitive Issues in Visualization
    Sara Fabrikant, Department of Geography, University of Zurich
  7. Spatial Cognition in AI/Robotics
    Ben Kuipers, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Michigan
    Christian Freksa, SFB/TR 8 Spatial Cognition, University of Bremen
  8. Human-Centered Cognitive Computing for Assistive Technologies
    Mehul Bhatt, SFB/TR 8 Spatial Cognition, University of Bremen

Week 1 speaker
Week One and Two were packed with wonderful instructors and insightful presentations.

Pictured above: Mary Hegarty, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, UC-Santa Barbara.

Week 2 (August 18-25, 2013)
Keynote Speaker: Jack Loomis, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, UC-Santa Barbara

  1. Spatial Thinking in Science Practice and Education
    Thomas F. Shipley, Department of Psychology, Temple University
  2. Architectural Cognition
    Ruth Conroy-Dalton, Department of the Built & Natural Environment, Northumbria University
    Christoph Hoelscher, Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences, ETH Zurich
  3. Language and Space
    Thora Tenbrink, School of Linguistics & English Language, Bangor University
  4. Virtual Reality
    Andrew Beall, WorldViz and Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, UC-Santa Barbara
  5. Human Perception and Cognition of Space II
    Frances Wang, Department of Psychology, University of Illinois
  6. Computational Modeling of Spatial Cognition
    Holger Schultheis, SFB/TR 8 Spatial Cognition, University of Bremen
    Thomas Barkowsky, SFB/TR 8 Spatial Cognition, University of Bremen
  7. Qualitative Spatial Reasoning
    Gérard Ligozat, Department of Informatics, Paris-Sud University
  8. Behavioral Methods in Spatial Cognition
    Daniel Montello, Department of Geography, UC-Santa Barbara

Week 2 speaker
Our instructors are multi-talented: Daniel Montello, Week Two instructor and BBQ expert, sporting his "Kiss Me I'm a Geographer" apron.