GAIA: Guatemalan Artificial Intelligence Assoc.

GAIA an iniative founded on 2007 with the support of fundaTICs, participation of university students (Pre grade and post grade) and fundaTICs members that promotes the use of artificial intelligence, there are several initiatives under going, but this is the history, that have to be continued by many others:

When I came back from Spain (November 2004), my integration to “San Carlos of Guatemala University” started at January 2005, the gap between my studies, and the knowledge of my students, about Artificial Intelligence, represented a big problem to solve, at that time I started to understand how they were learning, and what they wanted to learn.  I really spent a lot of hours asking them, so one of the things that I realized was that they wanted to use their knowledge about Data Bases, so I proposed to them a project that uses Ontologies and Data Bases, with this two subjects, I created and designed an architecture called “Knowledge Management Systems: ONTOGUATE” applied to several sectors of economy in Guatemala as: Tourism, Health, Education etc.   This architecture was used to create a prototype as semantic knowledge-based system. In 2006 we extended the systems to perform Intelligent Searches.

As a professor of artificial intelligence I have had to learn how to explain my knowledge, at the beginning I started to teach and preparing my classes with presentations about IA theory, but I discovered that my students had difficulties to understand, after one semester I decided to change the way that I expressed my ideas. First I started to read about how the brain works and how it works the cognitive process in our minds, so I learnt that the 80 percent of the information gets into our mind comes from the eyes and the other 20 percent  using the other senses (touch, hear, etc), our brain recieves 75 GB per second of new information through the eyes, so at first I started using videos from Youtube related with the subject of my classes.  I read many articles about constructivist process, these methods says that we learn more from experiments and experiences. So I continued using small videos of five or seven minutes, I discovered a lot of websites that have videos. So I mixed presentations and videos, but I still did not have the elements to create experiments or experiences.  I started to look for devices that can bring to my students those abilities, I found that Lego mindstorm robots use constructivist methodologies that are based on the work of Jean Piaget (LOGO), Seymour Papert (Mathematician and Knowledge Acquisition Researcher) and Mitchel Resnick (Epistemology Researcher) all of their works were used to create Lego MindStorm robots.

With the support of the students (AECYS 2007) and fundaTICs a NGO, we bought three robots and we started to learn from the experience; the students worked with the robots and  shared their knowledge using the blog Robot Lego . This blog  is used to understand how to work with robots, and how to learn from the others experience. Also we started to create our own videos, we uploaded them to YouTube, so now for me it is easier to explain theory and general concepts, the students knows that they can find the videos on the Internet and save these videos if they want it. Of course three robots were not enough, so each student saves USD $10 to buy another robot. Now we have 10 robots, the plan is to learn more Artificial Intelligence techniques as Neural Networks, Case Based Reasoning or any other technique from Machine Learning, using these techniques to solve problems like football games or any other problem that needs to be solved with a group of robot.

With that proposals, we asked for financial support to develop a systems called ONTOGUATE, but we did not find it, because we did not have any institutional support, so with other Guatemalan professionals, we created an organization that promotes the Innovation, Research and Develop of new technologies, this organization is called fundaTICs, with this institutional support we started to participate in institutions that supports this kind of initiatives like National Council of Science and Technology CONCYT.  Also we found that Guatemalan market does not understand subjects related with artificial intelligence and Knowlege Management, so we decided to support conferences, workshops and students activities. Because of that we organize the Computer Science National Workshop 2007, we recieved around USD 10,000 to organize this workshop from CONCYT.   In 2008 we started to participate as an institution in the national scenario with organizations that could be interested in our project, like ICT Guatemalan Cluster, Entrepreneurship Cluster.   At the end of 2008 I was proposed by fundaTICs, as candidate to the presidency of the Informatics and Information Technologies (ICT sector) a sub commission at CONCYT, and I got the position.   So finally we started to get the attention to develop our projects, with sutdents and with fundaTICs support we work as a group called GAIA (Guatemalan Artificial Inteligence Assoc.)

At this point, that we realize that we achieved several proposed goals in 2004.  So we can propose new research lines like: the relationships between science, technology and the economy in the región, is an interesting subject of study.

Semantic knowledge model to understand the relations between:

  • Capital, work and knowledge
  • State, industry and academy
  • Science, technology and the econom

Knowledge-based economies in Latin America:

  • From information to knowledge in emerging economies.
  • Knowledge management through ICTs applied to small and medium business (SMBs)
  • Emerging economies and the capital relocation

My personal interest its related with mobile semantic knowledge based systems like: “Automatic contextualization using Semantic Knowledge” this problem are related with

  • Information Overload
  • Paradox of Distribution
  • Homogeneous Information Unit
  • Localization

The goals to be solved are:

  • The main contribution of this research work is to solve a contextualization problem and develop a useful tool related to the exploitation of The Web.
  • Define new algorithms requires to use different methodologies from several research areas as Ontologies in order to create a  general purpose tool that retrieves and organizes information in a useful to both humans and computers way.
  • Develop an automated process that assists users to contextualize them, using mobile devices.
  • Make a contribution with our methodologies applying them in an intermediate step between the first generation of the web and The Semantic Web.

Main subjetcs

  • The World Wide Web changed the way we communicate, the way we do business, the way we seek information and entertainment – the very way most of us live our daily lives.
  • Calling it the next step in Web evolution, Berners-Lee defines the Semantic Web as “a web of data that can be processed directly and indirectly by machines.”
  • “The specification of conceptualizations, used to help programs and humans share knowledge“ Tom Gruber, an AI specialist at Stanford University.
  • Use of Ontologies to describe a Domain, this Ontology can be used to share information produced by people: Collective Learning.
  • Ontologies provide a shared and common understanding of a domain that can be communicated between people and heterogeneous application systems.
  • As [Dieter Fensel 2001] described: “Ontologies provide a shared and common understanding of a domain that can be communicated between several applications and people”.
  • The use of Ontologies to describe the knowledge of a particular domain means the use of Domain Ontologies.

Acerca de Javier Gramajo

Javier is one the most active young scientists working in Guatemala. He develops his work as a full professor at the Faculty of Engineering of ‘Universidad San Carlos de Guatemala’ which is Guatemala’s national university. His work is related with artificial intelligence, he proposed several initiatives applied to generate tools that promote small business companies, using semantic web. Javier is the current president of the Informatics and Information Technologies (ITC sector) sub commission at the National Council of Science and Technology (CONCYT). In this position he proposed several initiatives such as: Law Initiative proposal to promote the research work and the incorporation of researchers at universities and research institutes in Guatemala. ‘Converciencia’, reunites all the national and international Guatemalan researchers, this annual conference has become during the past few years a big scenario to promote and develop scientific politics with the support of Guatemalan vice president, all the universities and part of the private sector and all the initiatives that Javier Gramajo-López has proposed have been a great contribution to the final purpose of this kind of conferences: Create the basis of new opportunities to researchers in Guatemala. With other Guatemalan researchers Javier Gramajo-López has also created a blog called ‘guateciencia’ ( that has been visited around 12,000 times, from 25 different countries. In that blog Guatemalan researchers show their ideas and work. Javier is an excellent and enthusiastic teacher who is very popular with students that he motivates to be hard working and creative. He has also appeared in several local publications as: newspapers, magazines and blogs, probably this partially shows his leadership in Guatemalan society. Working conditions for a scientist in Guatemala are very poor and each of the accomplishments that Javier has managed to achieve implies a great effort and motivation from his part. Having myself studied and worked in Guatemala I appreciate very much the effort that very few people, like Javier, are making to improve the level of science in the country by working inside the country despite all the difficulties typical of developing countries. Fernando Quevedo
Esta entrada fue publicada en Computación, Divulgación de las Ciencias. Guarda el enlace permanente.

4 respuestas a GAIA: Guatemalan Artificial Intelligence Assoc.

  1. Pingback: GAIA: Guatemalan Artificial Intelligence Assoc. « GuateCiencia | Guatemala Today

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