Alison Pease

Alison Pease

About me

I am a lecturer in Argumentation, within the Centre for Argument Technology in the School of Computing at the University of Dundee. I am also a member of the Computational Creativity Group at Goldsmiths, University of London and the Mathematical Reasoning Group at the University of Edinburgh. Previously, I was a Research Associate working in the Computational Creativity Group at Imperial College London (now at Goldsmiths), and the Theory Group at Queen Mary, University of London.

Current research projects
Recent research projects
PhD thesis

Current Research Projects

The Social Machine of Mathematics

I am working with Ursula Martin and Andrew Aberdein to investigate current mathematical practice; in particular, ways in which mathematicians are using web 2.0 technology. New technology is extending the power and limits of individual mathematicians: crowdsourcing pulls together diverse experts to solve problems; symbolic computation tackles huge routine calculations; and computers check proofs too long and complicated for humans to comprehend. Mathematical practice is an emerging interdisciplinary field which draws on philosophy and social science to understand how mathematics is produced. Online mathematical activity provides a novel and rich source of data for empirical investigation of mathematical practice. We exploit this source to explore soft aspects of mathematical discovery, such as creativity, informal argument, error and analogy.

Concept Invention Theory

The capacity of combinatorial creativity -- ie when novel ideas are produced through unfamiliar combinations of familiar ideas -- is difficult to recreate computationally. In particular, it is a hard task for autonomous computational systems to tackle the combinatorial explosion of potential combinations, and to be capable of recognising the value of newly created ideas (concepts, theories, solutions, etc), particularly when they are not specifically sought - this is the problem of creative serendipitous behaviour. In this project, we aim to develop a computationally feasible, cognitively-inspired formal model of concept invention, drawing on Fauconnier and Turner's theory of conceptual blending, and grounding it on a sound mathematical theory of concepts.

The Computational Creativity Theory Project

I am working with Simon Colton and John Charnley to develop a rigorous, computationally detailed and plausible account of how creation by software could occur. We use examples and theories of human creativity, particularly in the visual arts and in mathematics, to inspire our development of formalisms to describe and extend the notion of creativity in software.

Recent research projects

A Cognitively Based Model of Theory Formulation and Reformulation

Mathematical and scientific theories rest on foundations which are assumed in order to create a paradigm within which to work. These foundations sometimes shift. We investigated where foundations come from, how they change, and how AI researchers can use these ideas to create more flexible systems. From April 2008 to May 2011 I worked with Alan Smaill, Andy Clark, Simon Colton, Andrew Ireland, Markus Guhe, Maria Teresa Llano Rodriguez and Ramin Ramezani on this project. We developed computational and theoretical models of conceptual blending, analogical reasoning, and metaphors in mathematics, and investigated how theories of informal reasoning can be applied to mathematical reasoning (see publications list for results).


Thinking Machines
and the Philosophy
of Computer Science

Vallverdú, Jordi (Ed.)
IGI Global, 2010
The Argument of Mathematics

Aberdein, Andrew; Dove, Ian J. (Eds.)
Springer, Logic, Epistemology, and the Unity of Science, Vol. 30, 2013
Computational Creativity Research:
Towards Creative Machines

Besold, Tarek Richard;
Schorlemmer, Marco; Smaill, Alan (Eds.)
Springer: Atlantis Thinking Machines, Vol. 7, 2015


Issues in Computational Creativity

Stakeholder Groups in Computational Creativity Research and Practice Computational Creativity Research: Towards Creative Machines, Atlantis Thinking Machines, 2014.

COINVENT: Towards a Computational Concept Invention Theory ICCC, 2014.

COINVENT: Concept Invention Theory - Ontologies and Semantic Web Technologies for Concept Invention EU Project Networking Session at ESWC, 2014, (Abstract).

Assessing Progress in Building Autonomously Creative Systems ICCC, 2014.

On Acid Drops and Teardrops: Observer Issues in Computational Creativity AISB, 2014.

Using Theory Formation Techniques for the Invention of Fictional Concepts ICCC, 2013.

A Discussion on Serendipity in Creative Systems ICCC, 2013.

A grounded theory approach to framing information for Computational Creativity Computational Creativity, Concept Invention, and General Intelligence at ECAI, 2012.

Aesthetic Considerations for Automated Platformer Design AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment, 2012.

On the Notion of Framing in Computational Creativity ICCC, 2012.

Computational Creativity Theory: The FACE and IDEA Descriptive models ICCC, 2011.

Computational Creativity Theory: Inspirations behind the FACE and IDEA models ICCC, 2011.

On Impact and Evaluation in Computational Creativity: A Discussion of the Turing Test... AISB, 2011.

Lakatos and Machine Creativity ECAI creativity workshop,2002.

Evaluating Machine Creativity ICCBR creativity workshop, 2001.

The Effect of Input Knowledge on Creativity ICCBR creativity workshop, 2001.

The Mathematics Social Machine

The mathematics social machine will be social! WebSci, 2013.

Summary of an ethnographic study of the third Mini-Polymath project Computability in Europe, 2012.

Seventy four minutes of mathematics: An analysis of the third Mini-Polymath project AISB, 2012.

Five theories of reasoning: Inter-connections and applications to mathematics Logic and Logical Philosophy, 2011.

Bridging the Gap Between Argumentation Theory and the Philosophy of Mathematics FoS, 2009.

Modelling Mathematical Cognition

Developments in research on mathematical practice and cognition Topics in Cognitive Science, 2013 (introductory article).

Analogy And Arithmetics: A HDTP-Based Model Of The Calculation Circular Staircase CogSci, 2013.

A Computational Account of Conceptual Blending in Basic Mathematics CSR, 2011.

Towards a Cognitive Model of Conceptual Blending CCM, 2010.

Mathematical Reasoning with Higher-order Anti-unification CSS, 2010.

Using Analogical Representations for Mathematical Concept Formation MBR, 2010.

Using Analogies to Find and Evaluate Mathematical Conjectures ICCC, 2010.

Mathematical Practice and Cognition Reasoner, 2010.

Conceptual Blending of Fractions and Real Numbers in Mathematical Discovery KogWis, 2010.

Abstract or not Abstract? Well, it depends BBR comment, 2009.

A Formal Cognitive Model of Mathematical Metaphors AIAI, 2009.

Using Information Flow for Modelling Mathematical Metaphors ICCM, 2009.

Analogy Formulation and Modification in Geometry Analogy, 2009.

Relating Small Ontologies AISB, 2009

A Cognitive Model of Discovering Commutativity CSS, 2009.

Towards a Computational Model of Embodied Mathematical Language AISB, 2009.

A Model of Lakatos's Philosophy of Mathematic ECAP, 2004.

Lakatos-style Reasoning ARW, 2002.

Semantic Negotiation: Modelling Ambiguity in Dialogue EDILOG, 2002.

A Multi-agent Approach to Modelling Interaction in Human Mathematical Reasoning IAT, 2001.

Applications of Automated Theory Formation

Lakatos Games for Mathematical Argument COMMA, 2014.

Automated Theory Formation: The Next Generation AUTOMATHEO, IFColog, 2014.

Uncertainty Modelling in Automated Concept Formation Automated Reasoning Workshop, 2012.

Discovery of Invariants through Automated Theory FormationJournal of Formal Aspects of Computing, 2012.

Using Automated Theory Formation to Discover Invariants of Event-B Models Rodin, 2010.

Applying Lakatos-style reasoning to AI problems Book chapter, 2010.

Applying Lakatos-style Reasoning to AI Domains ECAP, 2009.

Machine Learning Case Splits for Theorem Proving ARW, 2005.

The TM System for Repairing Non-Theorems ENTCS, 2004.

Lakatos-sytle Automated Theorem Modification ECAI poster, 2004.

Automatic Conjecture Modification ARW, 2004.

Lakatos-style Methods in Automated Reasoning IJCAI workshop, 2003.

PhD Thesis

A Computational Model of Lakatos-style Reasoning PhD, 2007 (also published in the Philosophy of Mathematics Education Journal No. 27, April 2013).

Contact Details

Address:      Dr Alison Pease
                   School of Science and Engineering
                   University of Dundee
                   DD1 4HN

Telephone:  +44 (0)1382 385596

Fax:            +44 (0)1382 385509 [FAO: Dr Alison Pease]