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Keynote

The Scientific Community Game: Education and Innovation Through Survival in a Virtual World of Claims

Karl Lieberherr

Northeastern University

Abstract: The Scientific Community Game (SCG) is a generic game for constructive domains where claims are defined by interactive protocols. As a starter, this includes mathematical claims containing alternating quantifiers but also non-mathematical claims involving the interaction between two parties. Scholars in SCG propose and oppose claims. Opposition means refutation or, strengthening followed by refutation. The winning scholars are good at proposing strong, un-refutable claims and at spotting refutable claims of other scholars. Scholars collaborate through competition. Applications include teaching constructive topics such as calculus and algorithms.

An especially interesting version of SCG is Avatar SCG where the scholars are implemented in software. Avatar SCG is a web application implementing competitions between hundreds of avatars spread over the web. Applications of Avatar SCG include: distributed software development for computational problems distributed knowledge maintenance and integration for computational problems teaching software development skills.

Short bio: Karl Lieberherr started his research career in computer science as a theoretical computer scientist, focusing on the theory of P-optimal algorithms for the generalized maxiumum satisfiability problem (MAX-CSP), still an active area of research. He also invented, independently and simultaneously on the other side of the Atlantic, an early form of non-chronological backtracking which has become a key feature of most state-of-the-art SAT and CSP solvers.

In the mid 1980s, he switched to his current research area: Object-Oriented and Aspect-Oriented Software Development and focused on issues of software design and modularity. He founded the Demeter research team, which studied the then-novel idea of Adaptive Programming, also known as structure-shy programming and produced the Law of Demeter ("talk only to your friends": an explicit form of coupling control). The Law of Demeter is explained in many text books as an effective way to measure and reduce coupling in object-oriented systems.

Recently, while revisiting the theory of P-optimal algorithms, The Scientific Community Game was invented as a generic tool with numerous applications to guiding software developers, students and researchers towards a common goal.

Dr. Lieberherr is a Professor in the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University. Dr. Lieberherr received his Ph.D. in mathematics from ETH Zurich, Switzerland. He was an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University and a Principal Member of Technical Staff at GTE Laboratories before joining Northeastern University.

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