Institute for Web Science and Technologies · Universität Koblenz - Landau
Institute WeST
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Seminar "Commonsense Reasoning"

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Summer Term 2021


Commonsense Reasoning is a branch of artificial intelligence which is concerned with the simulation of the human ability to handle problems in everyday life situations. These problems are characterized by ambiguity and uncertainty and typically require large amounts of background knowledge. Humans naturally reason in the presence of incomplete and inconsistent knowledge, are able to reason in the presence of norms as well as conflicting norms and are able to quickly reconsider their conclusions when being confronted with additional information. The versatility of human reasoning illustrates that any attempt to model the way humans perform commonsense reasoning has to use a combination of many different techniques.

In this seminar we will discuss recent topics from the area of commonsense reasoning. We will become aquainted with different benchmarks in this area together with methods to tackle them.


The seminar is intended for master students in the area of Computer Science, Web Science, and related fields. The seminar will be held in English, and will consist of individual talks of students. Each student will research and prepare one topic in the area of commonsense reasoning, will give a presentation (25 minutes presentation time, plus approx. 10 minutes discussion and 5 minutes of feedback) about the topic. The presentation should aim to ensure that all attendees understand the basic idea of the topic presented. In this respect, motivation and examples and not mathematical details should be the focus of the presentation.

At the end of the semester a written paper (12 pages) on the assigned topic needs to be handed in. The structure of the paper should follow the structure of the presentation, but further elaborate its contents. Papers are not expected to present novel scientific findings but should rather review and contrast existing work.

Knowledge in the area of commonsense reasoning or artificial intelligence is not mandatory to take part in the seminar. However since some topics will be in the area of logic it is assumed that all participant are familiar with the notion of propositional as well as predicate logic. To refresh your knowledge on logic, you could for example consider taking a look at [1].


The seminar will be organized as block seminar. Active participation in the discussions after each talk are required to pass the course.

Dates and Material

  • Introductory meeting: 16. April 2021, 10:15 (BBB Link:, slides as pdf
  • Date of the seminar: probably August 20, 2021
  • Technical Reports due: September 3, 2021
  • Please pay attention to these notes when creating the slides and the report.


  1. Melvin Fitting: First-Order Logic and Automated Theorem Proving, Second Edition. Graduate Texts in Computer Science, Springer 1996, ISBN 978-1-4612-7515-2, pp. I-XVI, 1-326


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