Keynote Speaker

Tony Veale
Computer Science
University College Dublin
Fudan University Shanghai

Tony Veale

Divergent Thinking as a Web-Service

Creative thinkers are often credited with a talent for divergent production, that is, an ability to fluently generate a diversity of novel and imaginative solutions to a given problem. I will focus here on the mechanics of divergent categorization, the production of diverse points of view for a given topic. In contrast to a convergent computational resource such as WordNet, which is designed to provide the narrow consensus view on the categorization of a great many lexical concepts, a divergent categorization system will produce a broad swathe of nuanced categories for many familiar topics, ranging from the highly conventional to the eccentrically unconventional. This divergent categorization system, which acquires its diversity of viewpoints from the Web, is modeled as a Web service named Thesaurus Rex that provides its divergent perspectives to client applications on demand. I will advocate the view that all computational creativity work of an engineering character should take advantage of this service-oriented perspective on plug-and-play creativity. To demonstrate the specific qualities of this divergent service, I will evaluate its contribution to one of the most convergent problems to which category systems are conventionally put, the numeric measurement of inter-concept similarity.

Tony Veale (Afflatus.UCD.ie) is a computer scientist whose principal research topic is Computational Linguistic Creativity. Veale teaches Computer Science at University College Dublin (UCD) and at Fudan University Shanghai as part of UCD’s international BSc. in Software Engineering, which Veale helped establish in 2002. Veale’s work on Computational Creativity (CC) focuses on creative linguistic phenomena such as metaphor, simile, analogy and irony. He leads the European Commission’s coordination action on Computational Creativity called PROSECCO – Promoting the Scientific Exploration of Computational Creativity – which aims to develop the CC field into a mature discipline. He is author of the 2012 monograph Exploding the Creativity Myth: The Computational Foundations of Linguistic Creativity and is principal co-editor of the multidisciplinary volume from de Gruyter titled Creativity and the Agile Mind. He was recently funded by the Korean World Class University (WCU) programme to study the convergence of Computational Creativity and the Web as a visiting professor in Web Science at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. He has recently launched a new Web initiative called RobotComix.com to engage with the wider public on the theory, philosophy and practice of building creative computers.