Transregional Collaborative Research Centre Transregio 62

The SFB/Transregio 62 "Companion-Technology for Cognitive Technical Systems" is concerned with the systematic research of cognitive capabilities and their realization in technical systems.

The enterprise has the vision of future technical systems being companion systems - technical systems, which completely adjust their functionality to the individual user: They orientate themselves on the user's capabilities, preferences, demands, and current needs and they adapt to the current situation and his current emotional state. In the centre of the research are individuality, adaptiveness, availability, cooperativeness, and reliability.

  • The sub project A1 works on planning and reasoning capabilities of companion systems.

    A Companion system should be able to recommend courses of action adapted to the current surrounding situation and emotional status of the user, as well as provide decision support and execute actions autonomously.

    As a basis for that, a method for individual plan generation is being developed that tailors plans to individual users according to their respective needs, abilities, and preferences. Because a Companion system inevitably needs to deal with unforeseen events and unexpected user behavior, it needs to have the ability to modify generated plans during execution. Procedures for adapting plans to new goals and the current emotional status of the user are developed for this purpose. A procedure for plan repair additionally compensates for errors that occur during plan execution, adapted to the user and the current situation.

  • The sub project A2  works on a knowledge architecture for companion systems in particular addressing the representation of uncertain knowledge.

    The research project is concerned with fundamental questions about the structure and composition of declarative knowledge bases for Companion systems and concentrates the symbolic modeling of information necessary for planning, decision making, interaction, dialog processing.

    In this context, methods for systematically and consistently transferring situation and emotional information to the declarative knowledge representation level are being developed, focusing on correctly handling uncertainty.

    A second key aspect lies on tool support for creating knowledge bases. These consist of several model components which must be coordinated and free of contradications, both each component alone and in their interplay. Special consistency criteria for the model components of a Companion system are defined for this purpose. Afterwards, appropriate mechanisms for checking these criteria are developed and implemented in a tool for systematic model construction.

  • The sub project Z3 develops an architecture concept as well as an experiment platform for creating and evaluating companion systems.

    Companion systems consist of a multitude of functional units, whose tasks range from collecting, classifying, fusing and interpreting diverse situational and user parameters, over implementing various forms of human computer interaction, to realizing higher cognitive abilities such as planning and decision making.

    To combine these units to an overall functionality in a well-defined manner adapted to the current application, architecture concepts are being developed in this reseach project. Beyond that, an experimentation platform for creating and evaluating such systems will emerge.

    For this purpose, the components of a Companion system are integrated to form partial demonstrators, first, to evaluate their functionality using different scenarios.

The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).