RuleML 2016 Report

September 9, 2016 4:02 PM
The 10th International Web Rule Symposium (RuleML 2016) was held at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York 11794, USA, July 6-9, 2016. A total number of 68 papers were submitted from which 18 full papers, 2 short papers, 3 industry papers, 7 challenge papers and 3 Doctoral Consortium papers were selected. Moreover, 2 keynote and 2 tutorial papers were invited.

Most regular papers were presented in one of these tracks:

  • Smart Contracts, Blockchain, and Rules,
  • Constraint Handling Rules,
  • Event Driven Architectures and Active Database Systems,
  • Legal Rules and Reasoning,
  • Rule- and Ontology-Based Data Access and Transformation,
  • Rule Induction and Learning.

Following up on previous years, RuleML also hosted the 6th RuleML Doctoral Consortium and the 10th International Rule Challenge, which this year was dedicated to applications of rule-based reasoning, such as: Rules in Retail, Rules in Tourism, Rules in Transportation, Rules in Geography, Rules in Location-Based Search, Rules in Insurance Regulation, Rules in Medicine, and Rules in Ecosystem Research.

This year’s symposium featured four invited keynote and tutorial talks (click to watch on Youtube):

As a novelty this year, there was a highly successful co-location between RuleML 2016 and DecisionCAMP 2016, facilitated by Jacob Feldman and colleagues. A total number of 132 participants attended both conferences and the affiliated sub-events. The co-location was a great opportunity for the rule-based community and the industrial decision-modeling community to mingle at one of the several joint events such as: the joint reception and conference dinner at the Hilton Garden Hotel on, respectively, Tuesday July 6 and Thursday July 8; the joint keynote by Bruce Silver; the joint tutorial by Neng-Fa Zhou; and the RuleML industry session on Friday, July 9.

The RuleML 2016 Best Paper Awards were given to:

  • Iliano Cervesato, Edmund Soon Lee Lam and Ali Elgazar for their paper "Choreographic Compilation of Decentralized Comprehension Patterns", and
  • Ho-Pun Lam, Mustafa Hashmi and Brendan Scofield for their paper "Enabling Reasoning with LegalRuleML".


Iliano Cervesato presenting Choreographic Compilation of Decentralized Comprehension Patterns



The 10th International Rule Challenge Awards went to:

  • Ingmar Dasseville, Laurent Janssens, Gerda Janssens, Jan Vanthienen and Marc Denecker, for their paper "Combining DMN and the Knowledge Base Paradigm for Flexible Decision Enactment", and
  • Jacob Feldman for his paper "What-If Analyzer for DMN-based Decision Models".


Ingmar Dasseville presenting Combining DMN and the Knowledge Base Paradigm for Flexible Decision Enactment


Jacob Feldman. What-If Analyzer for DMN-based Decision Models


As in previous years, RuleML 2016 was also a place for presentations and face-to-face meetings about rule technology standardizations, which this year covered RuleML 1.02 (System of Families of Languages and Knowledge-Interoperation Hub) and DMN 1.1 (OMG DMN RTF).


Adrian Paschke. A RuleML - DMN Translator
Harold Boley. The RuleML Knowledge-Interoperation Hub
Daniel Selman. Decision Management at the Speed of Events


Details about the RuleML and DecisionCAMP 2016 programs etc. can be found via, the Springer proceedings at, the CEUR proceedings at, and RuleML Youtube channel videos at

We would like to thank our sponsors, whose contributions allowed us to cover the costs of student participants and invited/keynote speakers. We would also like to thank all the people who have contributed to the success of this year’s special RuleML 2016 and co-located events, including the organization chairs, PC members, authors, speakers, and participants.

The RuleML community will join forces in 2017 with the RR (Web Reasoning and Rule Systems) community for the joint conference: RuleML+RR 2017: International Joint Conference on Rules and Reasoning, under the leadership of Fariba Sadri and Roman Kontchakov.

See you all next year at RuleML+RR 2017 in London, UK.


Paul Fodor (General Chair), Guido Governatori (Program Co-Chair), Jose Julio Alferes (Program Co-Chair), Leopoldo Bertossi (Program Co-Chair).


Contact info: Paul Fodor, Computer Science Department, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA,

Rules – the necessary frames for creativity

September 6, 2016 9:35 AM
In this blogpost I will explore how rules can aid the creative process. Often seen as limiting factor, whether self-imposed, physical constraints or administered by others, rules can also act as the foundation upon which the creative process is built; within rules, limitation can turn into opportunity.

Indeed, it is my premise here that rules might not be antithetical to creativity and instead facilitate it. If there is no frame to create within, there can be no creativity and rules are meant to set these frames. As I will explore in the following, various creative practices have their own ‘rules’ where skilled creators cultivate habits and routines precisely in order to work creatively. This ‘Janus head’ – the dialectic relationship between rules and creativity – will be explored from the perspective of a socio-material and distributed approach to creativity (Tanggaard, 2013; Glăveanu, 2014). I will use examples from the creative practice of photography but I will venture that the distinctions and conclusions are as relevant for any creative domain – including that of Artificial Intelligence.


Main take-aways:

  • Rules are not antithetical to creativity and might instead facilitate creativity
  • Know thyself – and the rules
  • Rules can be both constraints and/or conventions
  • We should cultivate a heigthened attention to rules
  • Rules can be the frames needed to create and grow rather than a nuisance to be endured


In a recent book chapter (Juelsbo 2016) I wrote about creative processes and rules. Being a trained photographer I wanted to explore my old practice of professional photography from a creativity research perspective. Having recently returned to shooting with analogue cameras and Leica cameras I had seen a qualitative lift in my output. I simply produced better pictures when I used old cameras and ones with fewer options compared to my usual digital setup. Why was this? For years I had chased technical excellence and it had worked up until a point. When I was invited to contribute to a new anthology on creativity, I decided that I wanted to write about the rules governing the fields of creative practices and to see, if I could grasp why I became a better photographer when I played by other rules. So far so good. The Leica camera was sitting on my desk as I wrote the chapter and now again writing this post. It looks heavy, worn around the edges and like something from another era. Picking it up forces me to become re-accustomed with its heft and the limited opportunities I have to control it via its 4-5 buttons and dials. It does as much to me as a photographer as I do to it.

From the perspective of socio-materiality research on creativity, an item like a camera is not a passive medium for us to manipulate or control – it’s very much a substantial component of creativity that actively co-constructs or mediates what the photographer is able to create. Elaborating on previous and current researches that sought to establish context, social practices and the environment as more than ‘a bowl to the soup’, a neutral container for individuals (Lave, 2011; Lave & Wenger, 1991), socio-materiality designates a heightened focus on the objects and artifacts we surround ourselves with. The artifacts invite us to engage in certain practices and these practices become physical manifestation of the rules afforded in turn by the artifacts.

When I saw the working table of another photographer, award winning Jan Grarup, in my Facebook feed, I was surprised to find an old analogue Leica camera amongst all his digital stuff: Wires and chargers all over, two screens, Macbook Pro, external drives – and then this old dingy camera sitting next to a few rolls of film. It was hard to make sense of and I had to ask him why he would deliberately handicap himself in this day and age when he was dependent on speed and getting his shots from war and conflict zones asap to the editors of, e.g., New York Times. In his words it enabled him to focus on the essential: Getting the best shot.

To explain how humans and artifacts interact dynamically in the practice of photography, we can turn to Gibson’s notion of affordances. The analogue camera, using physical films that needs to be loaded into it, affords us certain actions and not others, ‘affecting’ us in a similar manner to how we ‘affect’ it through manipulation. The constraints offered by the camera become subtle manifestations of material-imposed rules springing from the granted affordances. In this way, the photographer and the chosen camera become an inseparable and interdependent whole (Latour, 2005). This intersection between human doing and knowing represents a flexible engagement with the world, entailing open-ended processes of improvisation with the social, material, and experiential resources at hand.

Shooting analogue film, you manipulate a tangible thing – a celluloid strip of negative imprinted with light and you work with an immediate sense of materiality. Digital photographers have by and large become digital symbol manipulators, but returning to old practices we honor the fundamental knowledge of the tangible. This fundamental understanding of how our tools work is important in helping us understand our craft and to understand our world. Using a fully mechanical device doesn’t allow you to have that technical detachment.

Using old equipment doesn’t make me or Jan creative per se but I will argue that the choice of use holds significance if we look at it from an analytical socio-material stance. This self-imposed rule (using old cameras) leads Jan to play by the material-imposed rules, the affordances of the camera, while breaking some of the social-imposed rules (convention of the field; shooting digitally in the 21th century). Choosing with a specific camera brings a different or at least an additional set of rules to the game: The constraints or material-imposed rules of the chosen camera. These rules coexist with or are governed by the conventions of the field of photography and the norms of the society – the social-imposed rules. These rules in turn direct what constitutes a good photo, what you can and can’t photograph, how to photograph etc.

Cultivating a heightened attention to the different rules at play in your chosen field might help you orient yourself as a creative practitioner as the rules can become the espalier the vine can climb and be the frames needed to create and grow rather than a nuisance to be endured.

The photographer can’t envision the perfect shot without actively getting out there trying to capture it. It is by knowing the rules of the field and being sensitive to the socio-material affordances granted by the equipment that one learns to play the game – and to develop it further. These artifacts constitute important parts of the process of creativity and in this way creative processes and products are not thought of as separate entities but viewed as an interdependent whole with various rules shaping the pas de deux.

It is my opinion that we need a renewed focus on the relationship between creativity and rules and, thus, for an extended view on creativity. Instead of limiting our view on creativity to be solely occupied with either the creative person or process, I argue that it is in the inter-play between person and process, idea and object that new things and practices materialize. When creativity and rules are seen as part of everyday life and ingrained in daily life practice it becomes a process of making sense and conducting one’s life with practical wisdom (Sternberg, 1998). The subtle or explicit rules - constraints and conventions - we engage with knowingly or unknowingly shape and guide our creative practice. Irrespective of them being self-imposed, material-imposed, social-imposed or an amalgam: Learn the rules in order to manipulate them – creatively.



Gibson, J.J. (1979). The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Glăveanu, V. P. (2012). What can be done with an egg? Creativity, material objects, and the theory of affordances. The Journal of Creative Behavior46(3), 192-208.

Juelsbo, T. (2016). Rules. In Creativity—A New Vocabulary (pp. 137-146). Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lave, J. (2011). Apprenticeship in critical ethnographic practice. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Sternberg, R. J. (1998). A balance theory of wisdom. Review of general psychology2(4), 347.

Tanggaard, L. (2013). The sociomateriality of creativity. Culture and Psychology, 19(1), 20-32.

Release of Deliberation RuleML 1.02

August 1, 2016 2:08 PM
The specification of Deliberation RuleML 1.02 has been released and presented at RuleML 2016.
The Specification of Deliberation RuleML 1.02 has become an official release by the RuleML Steering Committee after approval of the Response to Review of Deliberation RuleML 1.02.

The specification has been presented in the opening session of RuleML 2016.

The intended audience of the Deliberation RuleML specification includes users who want to perform any of the following tasks:

* Author new Deliberation RuleML instance documents
* Author new instance documents using a syntax that incorporates Deliberation RuleML elements, such as Consumer RuleML, Reaction RuleML, or LegalRuleML
* Validate such documents
* Transform such documents
* Implement reasoning engines that accept such documents

For more information, see Deliberation RuleML 1.02 Release History.

RuleML 2016 Industry Track Panel Discussion Session

July 6, 2016 4:05 AM
At the close of Friday's (July 8, 2016) program at, the Industry Track will host a panel discussion session with the theme of "Looking to the Future of Rules in Industry".
Industry Track Panel members include:

Mark Proctor of Red Hat, Inc.
Adrian Pascke of Fraunhofer FOKUS and AG Corporate Semantic Web at the Freie Universitaet Berlin
Benjamin Grosof of Coherent Knowledge
Tom Debevoise of Signavio, Inc.
Dörthe Arndt of iMinds

The moderator will be Tara Athan of Athan Services and
AG Corporate Semantic Web.

In order to facilitate a lively discussion, we request the submission of questions and topics of discussion from all interested parties.
Please use the comment section below, if possible; otherwise, email to .

Submit your application at Challenge and win 500USD

May 23, 2016 1:04 PM
10th International Rule Challenge 2016, part of the 10th International Web Rule Symposium (RuleML 2016), Stony Brook University, New York, USA, July 8-9, 2016 Paper submission: June 1st, 2016
As in previous editions, RuleML Inc. will offer a cash prize:
RuleML Challenge Award for the Best Demo Application - 500 USD

Important Dates

  • Paper submission: June 1st, 2016
  • Notification: June 13th, 2016
  • Camera ready: June 19th, 2016
  • Rule Challenge 2016: July 8-9, 2016
This year, the challenge presents seven main themes to inspire participant submissions (of course, submissions on other themes are welcome as well).

Rules in Retail

  • When a customer enters the store and an "offer of the day" is available, then push only one welcome notification and display the offer of the day.
  • When a customer watches a specific product, then push related photos and information, including social media reactions, directly to their device.

Rules in Tourism

  • Deliver a welcome message to POI visitors as they arrive nearby.
  • When a visitor leaves a room in the museum, then push notifications regarding the next recommended room, based on visitors' preferences and previous visit history.
  • When a visitor completes the tour, then push goodbye messages and notify on upcoming/partner exhibitions.

Rules in Transportation

  • When arriving at car parking, then push a notification on available places.
  • When selecting destination and inside a bus station, then display bus data (arrival time, notices).
  • When bus nears destination, then push notification on time to arrival and suggest accommodations.

Rules in Geography

  • A region X is part of a region Y if and only if all regions that connect to X also connect to Y
  • Two regions X and Y are overlapped if and only if there exists a region Z such that Z is part of X and Z is part of Y

Rules in Location-Based Search

  • If less than or equal to k POIs of type X (e.g., Restaurants) are found, then zoom in/out on the map to the axis-aligned minimum bounding box of all POIs.
  • If more than k POIs of type X are found, then zoom in/out on the map to the axis-aligned minimum bounding box of the k-nearest POIs.
  • If the POIs searched for are of type X then suggest to the user subtypes of X (e.g., Italian, Greek) for a subsequent (i.e., refined) search.

Rules in Insurance Regulation

  • If an item is perishable and is delivered more than 10 days after the scheduled delivery date, then it may be rejected.
  • Each tax schedule must have electronic signatures from two managers.
  • If an inspector believes a vehicle is repairable then process the claim as a repair; otherwise process the claim as a total loss.

Rules in Medicine

  • If a Type II diabetes patient's current level of HbA1c is high, then the patient's current treatment is ineffective.
  • Issue medical alerts to patients (e.g., on a mobile device), based on health trend analysis and personalizable health value limits.
  • If patient has low back pain without radicular pain or neurologic findings, then consider urine drug screening and repeat neurologic test.

Rules in Ecosystem Research

  • If a plot in a monitoring network satisfies a number of prespecified requirements, such as being a long distance off from any other plot, then it is eligible for statistical analysis.
  • If the percentage of a target species on a plot exceeds a certain threshold, then the plot is treated differently in statistical analysis than plots where the target species is less abundant.
  • The percentage of a target species on a plot must not vary throughout the analysis.