Golledge Lecture: Stephen Hirtle

“The Cognition of Space”

Prof. Stephen C. Hirtle

School of Information Sciences
University of Pittsburgh

Thursday May 7, 2015, Buchanan 1930, 3:30–4:45 pm

Followed by reception at the Center for Spatial Studies, 3512 Phelps Hall


UCSB_Golledge_Lecture_2015Abstract. The past 30 years of research on spatial cognition has paralleled 30 years of development of human-centric geospatial tools.  This talk will review and categorize research findings on spatial cognition and delineate how those principles may be, in some cases, assisted by technological tools and, in other cases, impaired by technology.  It begins by reviewing what is known about how humans process spatial concepts, which draws upon the breadth and depth of Reginald Golledge’s formative research in this area.  From this foundation, the talk moves on to discuss how interfaces can be improved to take advantage to those capabilities. Special attention is given to a variety of innovative geographical platforms that provide users with an intuitive understanding and support the further acquisition of spatial knowledge. The talk concludes with a discussion of the number of outstanding issues, including the changing nature of maps as a primary spatial interface and a look at the future of user-centered spatial information systems.

Bio. Stephen C. Hirtle is Professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, with joint appointments in the Department of Psychology and in the Intelligent Systems Program. He directs the Spatial Information Research Group at the University of Pittsburgh, which conducts research on the structure of cognitive maps, navigation in real and virtual spaces, information visualization, and computational models for spatial cognition. He received a B.A. from the Grinnell College in mathematics and psychology in 1976 and a Ph.D. from University of Michigan in Mathematical Psychology in 1982. He was the founding co-editor of Spatial Cognition and Computation and past-president of the Classification Society of North America. Hirtle’s research interests center on spatial information theory with a focus on understanding how spatial concepts are represented, accessed, and utilized in a variety of spatial tasks, such as wayfinding. Hirtle has had visiting appointments in Geoinformatics at the University of Augsburg, Geoinformation at the Vienna University of Technology, Computer Science at Molde University College in Norway, and the Artificial Intelligence Research Group at the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. He hosted the Third International Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT’97), in the Laurel Highlands, outside of Pittsburgh, PA, in October 1997. He also has served on the Board of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science and numerous review panels for 
the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the FWF (Austria).

2014 Reginald Golledge Distinguished Lecture

Dr. Patrick Suppes

The Lucie Stern Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Stanford University

Thursday, May 15, 2014
3:30–4:45 p.m.

Buchanan 1930

Reception to follow at 3512 Phelps Hall

Mental Resurrection and How to Live Forever:

Speculations on Future Interactions between Technology and Our Minds

Golledge Lecture Picture

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Abstract: To give some perspective on the future, I want to begin by going back to ancient Greek philosophy and psychology, especially to Aristotle’s theory of form and matter. The simple formulation of the Aristotelian theory of perception is “same form, different matter.” How this theory provides a basis for a modern technological view of mental resurrection is my main focus. Mental resurrection means preserving after death the mental capabilities of a person. This is a new problem suitable for modern technology of speech recognition and brain processes of thinking and feeling. Contrary to philosophical views I once held, I now believe it is correct to say that the dualism of mind and matter can be conclusively established by technological research results, some of which we are not far from achieving.

Copying the manner and style of an individual’s speech can already be done rather well, and used accurately to imitate his or her speaking voice. Outstanding progress has also been made in creating programs like Watson to know a lot about the world. The same methods can be used to re-create digitally large personal bodies of knowledge. Further steps of mental resurrection should be an intense object of future scientific work in psychology, neuroscience, and biology in studying taste, touch, and smell, but the details still seem highly speculative.

Brief Bio: Patrick Suppes is the Lucie Stern Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Stanford University and is Director and Faculty Advisor for Stanford’s Education Program for Gifted Youth (1992). He was director of Stanford’s Institute for Mathematical Studies in the Social Sciences (1959–1992). He is also professor emeritus by courtesy in Stanford’s Department of Statistics, Department of Psychology, and School of Education. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1962), the American Psychological Association (1964), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1968), as well as a member of the National Academy of Education (1965), the National Academy of Sciences (1978), and the American Philosophical Society (1991). Among his awards are the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, the Columbia University Teachers College Medal for Distinguished Service (1978), and the National Medal of Science (1990).

For more information: http://www.stanford.edu/~psuppes/