Curriculum Vitae

Thomas Bittner

 

 

Dr. Thomas Bittner

Department of Philosophy

Department of Geography

State University of New York at Buffalo

University at Buffalo
135 Park Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260

 

Education

 

Ph.D.

Department of Geo-Informatics, Technical University of Vienna, Austria,1999
Thesis title: Rough Location
Advisors: Andrew U. Frank, Thomas Eiter

My thesis is on qualitative representation of and reasoning about location in geographic space. Using ideas from formal ontology and rough set theory, I developed a formalism that facilitates the representation of vague phenomena such as mountains, valleys, wetlands, etc. in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and in spatial databases.

Dipl.-Ing.

(M.Sc.)

Department of Electrical Engineering, Technical University of Leipzig, Germany, 1989

Thesis title: Design and Implementation of a Dynamic Data Structure for 3D Computational Modeling and Visualization in Electrical Engineering
Advisors: Dieter Herden, Werner Tischer

 

 

Employment

                   

04/2006-

 

06/2005 -

Research Scientist at the National Center of Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA)

Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Assistant Professor of Geography at the State University of New York at Buffalo; Research Scientist at the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences

07/2002 - 

06/2005

Senior Research Scientist, Institute for Formal Ontology and Medical Information Science (IFOMIS), Saarland University, Germany. (permanent position)

I develop logic-based tools designed to support general-purpose upper-level ontologies as well as domain-specific ontologies in medicine and biology. These tools are used to describe the semantics of shared vocabularies in an unambiguous and machine-processable form. In this way they help to overcome shortcomings of current terminology systems such as the Gene Ontology, SNOMED, UMLS, or GALEN.

I am responsible for tools for representing granularity in biomedical domains. This includes the axiomatic development of formal theories as well as their encoding in machine processable form. I am also involved in the axiomatization of an ontology of dynamics and change in biomedicine. Both areas of research are critical for the construction of descriptively adequate bio-medical ontologies.

11/2000-06/2002

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Computer and Information Science, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA (in Ken Forbus’ Qualitative Reasoning Group)

I worked, as part of DARPA’s Rapid Knowledge Formation Project (RKF), on a formal theory of information-extraction and representation by means of simple graphic images (sketches) and on the formalization of approximate spatial and spatio-temporal reasoning.

1999-11/2000

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Computing and Information Science, Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario and Department of Geo-Informatics, Laval University, Quebec City, Canada.

As a part of the Canadian GEOID project (Geo-Informatics for Informed Decisions), I was involved in building a decision support system for the design of built environments. This system takes into account the way humans understand and structure their environments. It was my task to develop an ontology of built environments that provides a basis for the formalization and implementation of the decision support system.

08/1998-09/1998

Visiting Research Fellow, National Center of Geographic Information and Analysis, NCGIA, University of Maine, Department of Spatial Information Science and Engineering, Orono, USA.

1996-1999

Research Assistant, Department of Geo-Informatics, TU Vienna, Austria

 

Teaching positions

 

05/2004

International Summer School, organized by the Canadian GEOID network

Course: Ontology and Semantic Interoperability

08-12/2003

Department of Philosophy and NCGIA, SUNY Buffalo.

Courses: Mereology – Axiomatic theories of the part-of and
               connectedness relations

               Topics in Ontology – Formal Ontology of Geographic Space

04/2003

Department of Philosophy, SUNY Buffalo.

Course: Topics in Ontology – Ontology of Space and Time

                                              

Areas of Specialization

Š          Ontology

Š          Logic

Š          Spatial and temporal reasoning

 

Areas of Competence

Š          Geo, Medical and Bio-Informatics

Š          Theories of Uncertainty and Vagueness

Š          Artificial Intelligence

 

 

Service

 

Dissertation committee member:

 

Services to the Profession

 

Refereeing for Scientific Journals:

 

Scientific and reviewing committee member:

 

  1. Conference on ‘The Geographic Domain and Geographic Information Systems - Ontology and Epistemology for Spatial Data Standards’ organized by the European Science Foundation (ESF) September, 23-26, 2000 in Agelonde, France.
  2. 14th International FLAIRS Conference Wyndham Casa Marina Resort, Key West, Florida, May 21-23, 2001 (Section on Spatiotemporal Reasoning)
  3. Fifth International Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT ‘‘01) held in Morro Bay, California, September 19-23, 2001
  4. International Workshop on Spatial and Temporal Granularity, held in conjunction with the Fifth International Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT ’01)
  5. 15th International FLAIRS Conference Pensacola, Florida from May 16-18, 2002 (Section on Spatiotemporal Reasoning)
  6. 16th International FLAIRS Conference in St. Augustine, Florida, May 12-14, 2003 (Section on Spatiotemporal Reasoning)
  7. 10th International Symposium on Temporal Representation and Reasoning and 4th International Conference on Temporal Logic (TIME-ICTL-2003), Cairns, Queensland, Australia on July 8-10, 2003
  8. International Workshop on Reference Ontologies vs. Applications Ontologies, Hamburg, Germany, September 2003
  9. FLAIRS 2004, May 17-18, 2004, Miami, Florida (Section on Spatiotemporal Reasoning)
  10. FLAIRS 2005, May 16-18, 2005, Clearwater Beach, Florida.
  11. International Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT), September 14-18, 2005 Ellicottville, New York
  12. FLAIRS 2006, May 11-13, 2006, Melburne Beach, Florida.
  13. Fourth International Conference on Geographic Information Science (GIScience 2006), Muenster, Germany, September 20-23
  14. International conference Spatial Cognition 2006, Bremen, Germany, September 24-28, 2006.
  15. FLAIRS 2007, May 7-9, 2007, Key West, Florida.
  16. 10th AGILE International Conference on Geographic Information Science, Aalborg University 8-11 May 2007
  17. International Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT), Mt Eliza, Melbourne, Australia, September 20-23, 2007
  18. AISB 2007 Symposium:  Spatial Reasoning And Communication, April, 2-5 2007, Newcastle, UK

 

 

Organization of workshops and tutorials at conferences
Š          Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT), September 14, 2005 Ellicottville, New York: Tutorial, An Introduction to formal ontology and how it can facilitate semantic interoperability.

 

 

Publications

 

Papers in refereed journals

 

1.       Bittner, T. and L. J. Goldberg (2007). The qualitative and time-dependent character of spatial relations in biomedical ontologies. Bioinformatics, doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btm155.

2.       Bittner, T. and M. Donnelly (2007), Logical properties of foundational relations in bio-ontologies. Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, Vol. 39, 197-216.

3.       Sorokine, A., Bittner, T. and Renscher, C. (2006).  'Ontological investigation of ecosystem hierarchies and formal theory for multiscale ecosystem classifications'. geoinformatica, Vol. 10, Nr. 3, 313-335.

4.       Rector, A., Rogers, J. and Bittner, T. (2006). 'Granularity, scale and collectivity: When size does and does not matter.' Journal of Biomedical Informatics, Vol. 39, Nr. 3, 333-349.

5.       Schulz, S., Kumar, A., and Bittner, T., (2006). 'Biomedical ontologies: What part-of is and isn't.' Journal of Biomedical Informatics, Vol. 39, Nr. 3, 350-361.

  1. Donnelly, M., Bittner, T. and Rosse, C. (2006). 'A Formal Theory for Spatial Representation and Reasoning in Biomedical Ontologies'. Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, Vol. 36, Nr. 1, p. 1 – 27.
  2. Bittner, T., Donnelly, M., and Smith, B. (2004). 'Endurants and Perdurants in Directly Depicting Ontologies'. AI Communications, IOS Press, Vol. 13, Nr. 4, p. 247-258.
  3. Bittner, T. 2004. 'A mereological theory of frames of reference'. International Journal on Artificial Intelligence Tools (IJAIT), Vol. 13, Nr. 1, 171-198
  4. Bittner, T. and Barry Smith, 2003. ‘Vague Reference and Approximating Judgments’. Spatial Cognition and Computation, Vol. 3, Nr. 2
  5. Bittner, T., 2002. ‘Approximate qualitative temporal reasoning’. Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence, Vol. 35, Nr. 1-2, 39-80.
  6. Bittner, T. and John G. Stell, 2002. ‘Approximate qualitative spatial reasoning’. Spatial Cognition and Computation, Vol. 2, Nr. 4, 435-466.
  7. Bittner, T. and John G. Stell , 2002. ‘Vagueness and Rough Location’. Geoinformatica, Vol. 6, 99-121.
  8. Bittner, T. and Geoffrey Edwards, 2001. ‘Towards an ontology for geomatics’, Geomatica, Vol. 55, No. 4, 475 – 490.
  9. Bittner, T. 2001. ‘The qualitative structure of built environments’. Fundamenta Informaticae. Vol. 46, 97-128.
  10. Bittner, T. and Andrew U. Frank,1999. ‘On the Design of Formal Theories of Geographic Space’. Geographical Systems. Vol. 1, Nr. 3, 237-275.
  11. Bittner, T. and John G. Stell, 1998. ‘A Boundary-Sensitive Approach to Qualitative Location’. Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence. Vol. 24, 93-114.

 

Book chapters

 

  1. T. Bittner and J. G. Stell, Approximations. In Shashi Shekhar and Hui Xiong, editors, Encyclopedia of Geographic Information Science, Springer Verlag, to appear.
  2. T. Bittner, M. Donnelly, L. J. Goldberg, and F. Neuhaus. Modeling principles and methodologies - spatial representation and reasoning. In A. Burger, D. Davidson, and R. Baldock, editors, Anatomy Ontologies for Bioinformatics: Principles and Practice. Springer Verlag,  to appear.
  3. Bittner, T., Donnelly, M. and Winter, S. 2005. Ontology and semantic interoperability, In D. Prosperi and S. Zlatanova (ed.): Large-scale 3D data integration: Challenges and Opportunities, CRCpress (Tailor & Francis). 139-160.

 

Papers in refereed conference proceedings

 

1.    Bittner, T., 2007. From top-level to domain ontologies: Ecosystem classifications as a case study. In M. Duckham, B. Kuipers, L. Kulik, and S. Winter, editors, Spatial Information Theory. Cognitive and Computational Foundations of Geographic Information Science. International Conference (COSIT 2007).  

2.   Bittner, T. and M. Donnelly, 2007. A formal theory of qualitative size and distance relations between regions. In Price, C. Proceedings of the 21 International Workshop on Qualitative Reasoning, QR2007

3.    Bittner, T. and M. Donnelly, 2007. A temporal mereology for distinguishing between integral objects and portions of stuff. In R. Holte and A. Howe (eds.), Proceedings of the Twenty-Second AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-07).

4.   Bittner, T. and Donnelly, M. 2006. A theory of granular parthood based on qualitative cardinality and size measures. In B. Bennett and C. Fellbaum, editors, Proceedings of the fourth International Conference on Formal Ontology in Information Systems, FOIS06, 65-76.

5.    Bittner, T. and L. J. Goldberg. 2006. The qualitative and time-dependent character of spatial relations in biomedical ontologies. In O. Bodenreider, editor, KR-MED 2006, Second International Workshop on Formal Biomedical Knowledge Representation, 47-56.

6.    T. Bittner and M. Donnelly. 2006. A classification of spatio-temporal entities based on their location in space-time. In E. Zimanyi, editor, International Workshop on Semantic-based Geographical Information Systems, Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer Verlag. 1626-1635.

  1. Bittner, T. and Donnelly, M. (2005). Computational ontologies of parthood, componenthood, and containment, In L. Kaelbling (ed.): Proceedings of the Nineteenth International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 382-387.
  2. Donnelly, M. and Bittner, T. (2005). Spatial relations between classes of individuals. In D. Mark and T. Cohn (eds.): Spatial Information Theory. Cognitive and Computational Foundations of Geographic Information Science. International Conference (COSIT 2005), 182 – 199.
  3. Sorokine, A. and Bittner, T., 2004.  Understanding taxonomies of ecosystems: a case study.  In Fisher, P. (ed.): Developments in Spatial Data Handling.  Springer, Berlin, 559-572.
  4. Bittner, T., Donnelly, M., and Smith, B. 2004. Individuals, Universals, Collections: On the Foundational Relations of Ontology. In: A.C. Varzi and L. Vieu (ed.): Proceedings of the Third Conference on Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS-04), IOS Press, 37-48.
  5. Bittner, T. and Donnelly, M. 2004. 'The mereology of stages and persistent entities', In Lopez de Mantaras, R. and Saitta, L. (ed.): Proceedings of the European Conference of Artificial Intelligence (ECAI04), IOS Press, 283-287.
  6. Sorokine, A., Bittner, T., and  Renschler, C. 2004. Ontological Investigation of Ecosystem Hierarchies and Formal Theory for Multiscale Ecosystem Classifications, In Proceedings of the International Conference on Geographic Information Science (GI-Science04).
  7. Feng, C-C., Bittner, T., and Flewelling, D. M., 2004, Modeling Surface Hydrology Concepts with Endurance and Perdurance. In M. J. Egenhofer, C. Freksa, and H. J. Miller (eds.): Proceedings of Giscience 2004, LNCS 3234, pp. 67-80, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg.
  8. Bittner, T., 2004. Axioms for parthood and containment relations in Bio-ontologies, In Hahn, U. (ed.): Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Knowledge Representation in Medicine (KR-med04), CEUR Workshop Proceedings, vol. 102, 4-11.
  9. Bittner, T. and Smith, B., 2004. Normalizing Medical Ontologies using Basic Formal Ontology, In Proceedings of GMDS04.
  10. Bittner, T. and Smith, B., 'A Theory of Granular Partitions'. In: Foundations of Geographic Information Science, Matthew Duckham, Michael F. Goodchild and Michael F. Worboys, eds., London: Taylor & Francis Books, 2003, 117-151.
  11. Bittner, T. and Stell, J., 2003. Stratified rough sets and vagueness. In: Kuhn, W. and Worboys, M. and Timpf, S. (ed.): Spatial Information Theory. Cognitive and Computational Foundations of Geographic Information Science. International Conference (COSIT ’03), 286-303
  12. Reitsma, F. and Bittner, T., 2003. Process, hierarchy, and scale. In: Kuhn, W. and Worboys, M. and Timpf, S. (ed.): Spatial Information Theory. Cognitive and Computational Foundations of Geographic Information Science. International Conference (COSIT’03), 13-30.
  13. Bittner, T. and Smith, B. 2003. Directly Depicting Granular Ontologies, In Proceedings of the1st International Workshop on Adaptive Multimedia Retrieval, Hamburg.
  14. Bittner, T., 2003. Indeterminacy and rough approximation. In Proceedings of the 16th International FLAIRS Conference, AAAI Press, 450-454.
  15. Bittner, T. and Smith, B., 2003, Granular Spatio-Temporal Ontologies. In AAAI Symposium: Foundations and Applications of Spatio-Temporal Reasoning (FASTR), AAAI Press, 12-17. 
  16. Bittner, T., 2002. Reasoning about qualitative spatio-temporal relations at multiple levels of granularity. In F. van Harmelen (ed.): ECAI 2002-Proceedings of the 15th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence, IOS Press, Amsterdam, 317-321.
  17. Bittner, T., 2002. Granularity in reference to spatio-temporal location and relations. In Proceedings of the 15th International FLAIRS Conference, 466-470.
  18. Bittner, T., 2002. Judgments about spatio-temporal relations. In Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (KR2002), 521-532.
  19. Bittner, T and Smith, B. 2001. A unified theory of granularity, vagueness and approximation. In COSIT Workshop on Spatial Vagueness, Uncertainty, and Granularity.
  20. Bittner, T and Smith, B. 2001. Vagueness and granular partitions. In Proceedings of the Conference on Formal Ontology in Information Systems - FOIS2001, Sheridan Press, 309-320.
  21. Bittner, T and Smith, B. 2001. A taxonomy of granular partitions. In Proceedings of the Conference on Spatial Information Theory - COSIT’2001, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Berlin-Heidelberg, Springer-Verlag, 28-43.
  22. Bittner, T and Stell, J. 2000. Rough sets in Approximate spatial reasoning. In Proceedings of Rough Sets and Current Trends in Computing, RSCTC 2000, Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, Berlin-Heidelberg, Springer-Verlag, 445-453.
  23. Bittner, T. 2000. Rough sets in spatio-temporal data mining, In Proceedings of International Workshop on Temporal, Spatial and Spatio-Temporal Data Mining, Lyon, France, Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, Berlin-Heidelberg, Springer-Verlag, 89-104.
  24. Bittner, T, 2000. A qualitative formalization of built environments, In Proceedings of DEXA2000, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Berlin-Heidelberg, Springer-Verlag, 959-969.
  25. Bittner, T, 2000. Approximate temporal reasoning. In AAAI Workshop on Spatial and Temporal Granularity, Time 2000, AAAI workshop proceedings.
  26. Bittner, T. 1999. On Ontology and Epistemology of Rough Location. In Spatial Information Theory - A Theoretical Basis for GIS (COSIT’99). In Freksa, C., and Mark, D.M., (eds.), Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Lecture Notes in Computer Science Vol.1661, Berlin-Heidelberg, Springer-Verlag, 433-448. 
  27. Bittner, T., and Winter, S. 1999. On Ontology in Image Analysis. In Proceedings of Integrated Spatial Databases ‘99, (Agouris, P., ed.), in Portland, Maine, Published by Springer, Lecture Notes in Computer Science.
  28. Bittner, T., and Frank, A.U. 1998. On Representing Geometries of Geographic Space. In Proceedings of 8th Int. Symposium on Spatial Data Handling, SDH’98, (Poiker, T.K., and Chrisman, N., eds.), in Vancouver, Canada (July 11-15, 1998), Published by International Geographic Union, 111-122.
  29. Bittner, T., and Frank, A.U. 1997. An Introduction to the Application of Formal Theories to GIS. In Proceedings of Angewandte Geographische Informationsverarbeitung IX (AGIT), (Dollinger, F., and Strobl, J., eds.), in Salzburg, Published by Institut fuer Geographie, Universitaet Salzburg, Salzburger Geographische Materialien, Vol. Heft 26, 11-22.
  30. Bittner, T. 1997. A Qualitative Coordinate Language of Location of Figures within the Ground. In Spatial Information Theory - A Theoretical Basis for GIS (International Conference COSIT’97). (Hirtle, S.C., and Frank, A.U., eds.), Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol.1329, Berlin-Heidelberg, Springer-Verlag, 223-240.
  31. Bittner, T. 1996. A Qualitative Model of Geographic Space. In Proceedings of SDH ‘96, (Kraak, M.J., and Molenaar, M., eds.), IGU, Vol. 2, 10.19 - 10.32.

 

 

Invited presentations

 

1.    Bittner, T., 2007, The granular and selective character of spatial representations, presented at the Workshop "Handlungsschemata als Grundlagevisueller und begrifflicher Strukturierung in der Wissensrepraesentation", April 19 and 20, Padderborn, Germany.

  1. Bittner, T., 2007, The qualitative spatial relations in Bio-ontologies, presented at the Dagstuhl Seminar ‘Towards Interoperability of Biomedical Ontologies’, March 27-30 2007.
  2. Bittner, T., 2006, A theory of granular parthood based on qualitative cardinality and size measures, presented at the Buffalo Logic Colloquium, August 16, 2006
  3. Bittner, T., 2006, A mereological theory of frames of reference, research colloquium at the interdisciplinary Transregional Collaborative Research Center Spatial Cognition: Reasoning, Action, Interaction. Bremen University, Germany, March 2, 2006.
  4. Bittner, T., 2005, Approximate Qualitative Temporal Reasoning, Dagstuhl Seminar 05151, Annotating, Extracting and Reasoning about Time and Events, 10-15. April, International Conference and Research Center for Computer Science, Dagstuhl, Germany.
  5. Bittner, T., 2004, Spatial Ontology and Semantics. Research seminar ‘Bridging the gap between GIS and CAD’ at the Bentley International User conference, 22-26 May, Orlando, USA.
  6. Bittner, T., 2002, Spatio-Temporal Ontologies for Geographic Information Systems, Workshop on Geo-Ontology, Ilkley, 16-17 September 2002, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, UK.
  7. Bittner, T., 2000, Ontology, Vagueness and Indeterminacy, Conference on ‘The Geographic Domain and Geographic Information Systems - Ontology and Epistemology for Spatial Data Standards’, September 23-26, 2000 in Agelonde, France.