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By fsoffietti

STAIRS, the European Starting AI Researchers' Symposium

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October 1, 2023

The 10th European Starting AI Researchers’ Symposium (STAIRS) is an international meeting that specifically aims to bring together starting researchers (late PhD students or postdocs). STAIRS is meant to provide you with the chance to discuss and explore your research interests as well as European career objectives and options. It is co-located with the 26th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence (ECAI-23) and therefore offers as well an ideal opportunity to meet leading AI labs and researchers from Europe.

In this edition, STAIRS will include two invited talks, by Vera Demberg (Saarland University) and Tarek Beshold (Sony AI). We further invite all of you to submit your current, finished, or envisioned work as an extended abstract (3 pages max) and will give opportunities to present and discuss this in an oral or poster session. STAIRS thereby offers a unique and valuable opportunity for young researchers to receive feedback on their recent findings and start up new research collaborations.

Specifically, STAIRS’ objectives are:

  • to offer a setting for discussion and feedback on participants’ current research,
  • to provide guidance on future research directions,
  • to develop a supportive community of scholars and a spirit of collaborative research,
  • to contribute to the conference goals through interaction with other researchers and participation in ECAI/PAIS/STAIRS conference events.

Relevant topics

Contributions are welcome on all aspects of contemporary AI, including, but not restricted to:

  • Autonomous Agents & Multi-agent Systems

  • Case-Based Reasoning

  • Cognitive Modelling & Cognitive Architectures

  • Computational Creativity

  • Constraints, Satisfiability, and Search

  • Deep Reinforcement Learning

  • Information Retrieval

  • Knowledge Representation, Reasoning, and Logic

  • Machine Learning & Data Mining

  • Model-Based Reasoning

  • Natural Language Processing

  • Planning and Scheduling

  • Robotics, Perception, Vision and Sensing


The integral call for papers is available at

Deadline for submissions: July 31st, 2023.

Participants are invited to submit a contribution through EasyChair as an extended abstract (maximum 3 pages in length, following the ECAI-23 template). STAIRS adopts a single-blind review process.

The symposium contributions will appear as online proceedings on the STAIRS-23 webpage. The accepted abstracts will be presented either as short talks or in a poster session. We want to give researchers a chance to present their (ongoing) work. But we also want to provide a forum for relevant work that has recently been published in journals and other conferences.

Important dates

Extended abstract submission: 31 July 2023 (after author notification from ECAI)

Author notification: 21 August 2023

STAIRS date: 1 October 2023

Note: all deadlines are Central European Time (CET), UTC +1, Paris, Brussels, Vienna.


We are happy to announce two exciting keynote lectures, one by Vera Demberg (Saarland University) and another by Tarek Besold (Sony AI). The rest of the programme will be announced closer to the date of the symposium.

Invited speakers

Pragmatic processing in humans and language models
Speaker: Vera Demberg (Saarland University, Germany) 
Abstract: In linguistics, pragmatics refers to meaning that is intended but not spelled out literally, i.e. it concerns what we humans understand beyond the semantic meaning of a sentence or text. Prominent examples of these include for instance scalar implicatures, such as the utterance "Some students failed", which is in its literal meaning compatible with a situation where all students failed, but which is usually interpreted as "some but not all" students having failed. In my talk, I will provide an overview of how well recent large language models like ChatGPT are performing on pragmatic tasks. I will then also cover recent findings on human processing of pragmatic phenomena, focussing on the large differences that are found between individuals, and how they may relate to individual's cognitive properties. Finally, I will discuss how such differences might be modelled computationally.

AI for Dinner – Supporting Chef’s Creativity with AI
Tarek Besold (Sony AI, Switzerland) 
Abstract: Gastronomy is a global creative entertainment business connecting creators and customers from world-famous fine-dining temples to pop-up restaurants and food stands on street markets. Interestingly, until today AI’s impact on the gastronomy domain – particularly when looking beyond kitchen automation solutions – is rather limited. Instead, from start to finish the responsibility for the dining experience rests almost exclusively with the chefs and their teams. The mission of Sony AI’s Gastronomy Flagship project is to develop AI solutions which support chefs’ creativity, augmenting and expanding the possibilities they have for creating joyful and memorable moments for their guests. This includes the development of algorithms which empower chefs with vast amounts of food data, or novel approaches to personalizing multi-sensory experiences in the restaurant. In this talk we will have a look at gastronomy as a challenging but interesting application domain for AI systems and focus on selected application cases for AI in supporting chefs’ creative work. At the same time I will outline my personal journey from a PhD in Cognitive Science/AI to a leading role within Sony AI’s Gastronomy Flagship project.  

STAIRS co-chairs

  • Katrien Beuls (Université de Namur, Belgium)
  • Malte Schilling (University of Münster, Germany)

Other PC members

  • Robert Porzel (Uni Bremen, Germany)
  • Frank van Harmelen (VU Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • Paul Van Eecke (VU Brussel, Belgium)
  • Remi van Trijp (Sony CSL Paris, France)
  • Piek Vossen (VU Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • Alipio M. Jorge (University of Porto, Portugal)
  • Nancy Chang (Google, Mountain View, California)

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