Research

ARG-tech is located in the Discipline of Computing in the School of Science and Engineering at the University of Dundee. We focus on developing foundational theory in philosophy, linguistics and cognitive science that facilitates the development of practical AI applications. The goal is to help improve, teach, track and navigate the discussions and debates that run our governments, structure scientific research, underpin the corporate boardroom, drive legal process and frame religious beliefs.

Our research has attracted funding of over £8m, and we have over 200 refereed papers in print. Our freely available software tools such as OVA (for performing argument analysis) have tens of thousands of users, we have pioneered robust new standards such as the AIF and we have the largest freely accessible corpus of analysed argumentation anywhere in the world in AIFdb. The group also hosted the editorial office for the journal, Argument and Computation from its inception in 2010 until 2016.

Our collaborations and consultancy with commercial and government organisations including IBM, DSTL and the BBC have driven our focus on end-user impact, and our public communication in print and broadcast media has reached over 30 million people.

Argument mining

  • Argument mining provides algorithms for automatically extracting argument structures from monological text and from transcripts of dialogue
  • The Centre for Argument Technology has won £700k from EPSRC for a project on Argument Mining
  • The group ran and hosted the Scottish Workshop on Argument Mining 2014
  • Members of the group have founded a series of workshops dedicated to Argument Mining, with editions at ACL in 2014, NAACL in 2015, and chaired by us in 2016 at ACL.
  • Members of the group also co-delivered tutorials on Argument Mining at IJCAI 2016 and ACL 2016 and will deliver a course on the topic at ESSLLI 2017.

Argument visualisation and analysis

  • AnalysisWall – A very large touch screen supporting collaborative analysis in real time.
  • OVA: Online Visualisation of Argument – A browser-based tool that supports analysis of online textual arguments and saves to the Argument Web. There are also two other tools in the suite: OVAview, which renders AIF argument resources diagrammatically and OVAgen for manipulating abstract frameworks. OVA+ supports analyses of dialogical arguments.
  • Araucaria – A software tool for analysing arguments (also in a Polish version, Araucaria-PL) now largely replaced by OVA.

Argument in dialogue

  • The Dialogue Game Description Language, DGDL+, a language for describing the rules of dialogue games
  • The Dialogue Game Execution Platform providing generalised execution services for arbitrary dialogue games
  • Arvina – A prototype implementation of the idea of Mixed Initiative Argumentation, where agents and human users can argue on an equal basis.
  • MAgtALO – A proof-of-concept software system for argumentation-based virtual round table discussion (superseded by Arvina).

Argument Web infrastructure, corpus resources and interfaces

  • AIFdb – Currently the main search interface for the Argument Web
  • AIFdb web services – A suite of online services for accessing and manipulating AIF resources
  • Corpora – various different argumentation datasets
  • Our contributions to the Argument Interchange Format.
  • AraucariaDB – An online database of analysed argumentation (superseded by AIFdb).
  • ArgDB – An online database of analysed argumentation, building on AraucariaDB but using the open AIF standard for argument representation (superseded by AIFdb).
  • ArgDF – Semantic web based argumentation using RDF. The project is based at the British University in Dubai and runs jointly with the University of Edinburgh, Informatics Department, and the University of Dundee, School of Computing. The project homepage can be found at www.ArgDF.org. Superseded by AIFdb.

Computation over argument structures

  • Dung-O-Matic – a tool for calculating various acceptability semantics on Dung Argumentation Frameworks.
  • TOAST – a tool for calculating various acceptability semantics on structured argumentation frameworks

Other Argument Web applications

  • ArguBlogging – Capturing the arguments that happen online. Enabling distributed argumentative dialogues to be aggregated and reused.
  • Argugrader – An application for automatically grading and providing detailed feedback to students on critical thinking analyses constructed using argument web tools such as OVA