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  Professor Peter Bruza -  (p.bruza at 
1. Use quantum theory to model human cognition, eg. human memory, conceptual processing, and decision making
2. Formal models of information retrieval
3. computational models of semantic representation, e.g. sematic space models

Academic Staff

  Professor Peter Bruza -  (p.bruza at 
Peter's research interests

Research Students

  Professor Peter Bruza -  (p.bruza at 
Peter's research interests


  Professor Peter Bruza -  (p.bruza at 
Peter's research interests


QI retreat 2011




We fit into the School of Information Systems (IS) via the Information Ecology Discipline


Information Ecology: Investigating context-sensitive ways to satisfy the information needs of people in complex information environments.


The Information Ecology discipline investigates how to capture, model, enhance and exploit the contextual connections between information, people and their environment. Understanding these connections will help improve both how people and enterprises share and comprehend richly-structured information as well as enhancing the human experience of interacting with information.


The research draws inspiration from widely dispersed fields such as information science, information systems, systems theory, organizations, cognitive science, sociology and philosophy. A common thread binding these

investigations is this notion of contextual connections: the relationships by which information develops meaning. Broadly conceived, the research in the discipline investigates connections between information, between individual people, and between people and information.


Complex information systems (what we know as QI)


As the environments in which information systems exist are becoming increasingly dynamic and complex, there is a need to study information systems in holistic non-traditional ways. The Complex Information Systems group researches fundamental problems bearing on information systems such as context, the semantics of information and complexity by drawing on theories from areas such as quantum physics, cognitive science, artificial intelligence and philosophy.




In a nutshell the QI group is essentially deploying in 2 ways:


  1. Applying QT to model cognitive systems, e.g., concept combinations and human memory. Have to apply quantum decision theory e.g., to model group decision making)
  2. Semantic information processing (Tensor IR, semantic search and inference, topic models)







QI Members




[PB] Prof Peter Bruza

[KK] Dr. Kirsty Kitto (Australian Postdoctoral Fellow)

[LS] Dr. Laurianne Sitbon (ECARD – computer science)

[EH] Prof. Eduard Hoenkamp (Adjunct professor QUT)

[GZ] [Dr.] Guido Zuccon (CSIRO postdoc)

[Dr. Bhuva Lakshminaryanan] (fixed term lecturer) – will join our meetings]




[BK] Bevan Koopman (PhD semantic search/inference – CSIRO-Ehealth)

[DG] David Galea (PhD quantum cognition)

[MS] Mike Symonds (PhD tensor-based IR)

[LdV] Lance DeVine (Masters: part time)

[AB] Aneesha Bakharia (PhD: interactive topic models for qualitative analysis)

[Christian Prokopp (PhD semantic service discovery) – submitting revisions]

[Marco Fahmi (PhD – general ecosystems theory) – writing up]








Small, agile, highly (“left field”) creative, courageous


A “studio” model…
Research Goals 2010


These can be detailed within the following dimensions


  • Publications
  • Grants/Strategic links
  • HDR supervision





We have had reasonable success in B grade forums. We need to step up to quality publications in 2011 as rated by ERA


Goal: each researcher should be editor (first author) on one A/A* publication [not achieved]




  • Cognitve Linguistics (A) [PB,KK,BR,LS] 
  • Cognitive Science (A*) [PB,KK,BR,LS]  [resubmit]
  • Book on quantum cognition (Busemeyer & Bruza, Cambridge University Press 2011] [June 2012]
  • ACM SIGIR (A*) [MS,PB,LS] [rejected]
  • ACM SIGIR (A*) [PB, Vitsentiy] [rejected]
  • Synthese (A*) [KK] [in preparation]
  • ??






 “Doing the same thing differently”


The QI has a good track record in ARC Discovery grants (currently holding two) [Now one]


Fairly strong overlap between strategic relationships and funding. This trend should continue because it not only provides a framework for the strategic links to operate but also prvides funding (e.g., for travel, (top-up) scholarships [still valid]


Not many strategic links in the semantic information processing area.  


CAMBIA is strategically important internal to QUT [has faded]





  • 1 ARC Discovery [2 submitted, both rejected]
  • Secure a grant with a US defence establishment/Busemeyer (e.g., AFOSR) [not initiated]
  • “Applied” research grant in semantic information processing: epiHAL, tensor IR (e.g., ARC Linkage, Google) [not initiated]




HDR supervision


Current situation (number of FTE students as principle supervisor)


PB [7]

KK [0]

LS [0]



Goal: +2 FTE HDR students [looks to be achieved via KK]


3 PhD confirmations (BK,AB,DG)

1 PhD final seminar/completion (Prokopp)






Other points for discussion:


·         QI website master (DG/MS?) [not done]

·         Quantum Cognition wikipedia entry (PB/DG) [done]

·         Targetted recruitment (VC fellowships/ECARD round) [GZ applied and was not successful]

·         CRC GLAM (LS,EH,PB) [status of CRC application unknown]


Summary and reflections 2011


·         Tough, slow going with some disappointments (ARC DPs). Our goal to “step up” was not achieved. A lean year in terms of grant income and top tier publications. We can’t afford another year like 2011…

·         After the last QI retreat, the group is much more cohesive

·         Qi meetings are functioning well with some interesting talks – need to keep citeulike active

·         Visitors: Prof Dawei Song (Robert Gordon University), Sven Aerts (Free Uni. Brussels), Prof Massimo Melucci (Uni. Padua), Ted Goranson and Beth Cardier, Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh (Oxford)

·         Monthly lunches haven’t been monthly

·         Sill no website, though we have a URL

·         Teaching:

o       Quantum cognition/semantic space module given as module in INN701 (generally well received) [PB]

o       Coursework design: Complexity minor design [KK,PB]




In 2012 the QI group will be part of the new science and engineering mega-faculty (SEF).  The executive has stated the following in relation to performance and expectations:


  1. “Academic excellence”: Aspiration for excellence in research, teaching and service
  2. “Outreach”: Small schools (like IS) need to build cross faculty/uni connections


With the ERA rating of 5 and numerous IS school successes, the IS school is currently highly regarded within SEF. It is expected that the ERA 5 can be retained in the coming round. The QI fits in well within the theme(s) of the new Information Ecology Discipline.





Academic excellence:


Grants:  1 ARC Discovery [PB], 1 other grant

Articles:  Each researcher to publish at least one 1 top tier article; post confirmation PhDs should be aiming for at least 1 top tier publication before final seminar



·         Cognitive Science [PB,KK,BR,LS]

·         Synthese [KK]

·         ACM SIGIR [MS,PB,LS], ?[BK,PB,LS]

·         ACL [MS,PB,LS]

·         Journal of Mathematical Psychology [DG,PB,KK]

·         Journal of the American Society of Information Science and Technology [EH,PB]

·         Journal of Applied Logic [PB]

·         Journal of Biomedical Informatics [BK,LS,PB]

·         Journal of Semantic Computing [LS,PB]

·         …?






QI has tangible connections with:

·         Mathematics (joint supervision [MS]/publications),

·         Faculty Ed (joint supervision [AB]),

·         CS (joint supervision/publications [LS,Geva])


Emerging CPE/grant opportunity with Faculty Business [KK]


[Others we need to cultivate? (See stategic links map below)]





Journal publications


[1]Song, D., Huang, Q., Bruza, P.D, Lau, R.Y.K. (2011) An Aspect Query Language Model Based on Query Decomposition and High-Order Contextual Term Associations. Computational Intelligence. [In press] [ERA A]


[2]Bruza, P.D., Kitto, K., Sitbon, L., Blomberg, S., Song, D. (2010) Quantum-like non-Separability of Concept Combinations, Emergent Associates and Abduction. Logical Journal of IGPL. (January 2011) [ERA B]


[3] K. Kitto, B. Ramm, L. Sitbon, P.D. Bruza, (2011). Quantum theory beyond the physical: information in context. Axiomathes, Volume 21, Number 2, 331-345. [ERA B]


[4] Li, Y, Zho, X, Bruza, P, Xu, Y, Lau, R.K. A two-stage decision model for information filtering. Decision Support Systems. [In press] [ERA A*]


[5] Z. Li, L. Sitbon, L. Wang, X. Zhou and X. Du, "AML: Efficient Approximate Membership Localization within a Web-Based Join Framework", IEEE Transaction on Knowledge and Data Engineering (TKDE) [Regular paper accepted in Jul. 2011]


Conference papers


[6] K. Kitto, P. Bruza. Non-compositional concepts and quantum tests To appear in Proceedings of The Foundations of Probability and Physics-6 (FPP6) conference, AIP Press.


[7] K. Kitto, F. Boschetti, P. Bruza. The geometric modelling of social frames and contexts Accepted MSSANZ MODSIM. [ERA A]


[8]  D. Galea, P. Bruza, K. Kitto, D. Nelson, C. McEvoy, (2011). Modelling the activation of words in human memory: The Spreading Activation, Spooky-action-at-a-distance and the entanglement models compared. Quantum Interaction 5th International Symposium, QI 2011, Aberdeen, UK, June 26-29, 2011, Revised Selected Papers, Eds. D. Song, M. Melucci, et al. LNCS vol. 7052, pp 149-160, Springer.


[9] S. Aerts, K. Kitto, L. Sitbon, (2011). Similarity metrics within a point of view. Quantum Interaction 5th International Symposium, QI 2011, Aberdeen, UK, June 26-29, 2011, Revised Selected Papers, Eds. D. Song, M. Melucci, et al. LNCS vol. 7052, pp 13-24, Springer.


[10] K. Kitto (2011). Contextual Information: Modeling different interpretations of the same data within a geometric framework, The Computational Turn: Past, Presents, Futures? (Proceedings IACAP 2011, Aarhus, Denmark), pp 97-100.


[11] Koopman, B., Bruza, P., Sitbon, L., Lawley, M. Towards semantic search and inference in electronic medical records: an approach using concept-based information retrieval. Proceedings of the 1st Australian Workshop on Artificial Intelligence in Health (AIH 2011), Perth,

December 2011.


[12] Koopman, B., Bruza, P., Sitbon, L., Lawley, M. Evaluating medical information retrieval. Proceedings of the 34st annual international ACM SIGIR conference on research and development in information retrieval, Beijing, August 2011. [poster] [ERA A]


[13] Symonds, Michael, Bruza, Peter D., Sitbon, Laurianne, & Turner, Ian (2011) Tensor query expansion : a cognitively motivated relevance model. In Proceeding of the 16th Australasian Document Computing Symposium, Australasian Document Computing Symposium, Canberra, ACT. (In Press)


[14] Symonds, Michael, Bruza, Peter D., Sitbon, Laurianne, & Turner, Ian (2011) Modelling word meaning using efficient tensor representations. In Proceedings of 25th Pacific Asia Conference on Language, Information and Computation, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. (In Press)


[15] Lau, R.K, Bruza, P.D. (2011) Leveraging Web 2.0 Data for Scalable Semi-supervised Learning of Domain-specific Sentiment Lexicons. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Knowledge and Information Management (CIKM 2011) [poster] [ERA A]


[16] Li, Z., Sitbon, L., Zhou, X. Learning-based Relevance Feedback for Web-based Relation Completion. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Knowledge and Information Management (CIKM 2011) [short paper] [ERA A]


[17] Hoenkamp, E. (2011). Trading Spaces: On the Lore and Limitations of Latent Semantic Analysis. Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on the Theory of Information Retrieval. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. (pp. 40-51). Springer-Verlag.


[18] Z. Li, L. Sitbon and X. Zhou, "Learning-based Relevance Feedback for Web-based Relation Completion", Proceedings of 20th ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM 2011), Glasgow, Scotland, UK, 24th-28th October 2011


[19]  K. Sun, A. Nguyen, L. Sitbon and S. Geva, “Representation of Assertions in Clinical Free Text using SNOMED CT”, Proceedings of the First Australian Workshop on Artificial Intelligence in Health (AIH 2011), Perth, WA, Australia – 2011


[20] M. Melucci and L. Sitbon, Modeling Emergent Associations of Nominal Compound: Ongoing Research and Preliminary Results, Proceedings of the 2nd Italian Information Retrieval (IIR) workshop, January 2011, Milan, Italy – 2011


[21] Z. Li, L. Sitbon, and X. Zhou, PartSS: An Efficient Partition-based Filtering for Edit Distance Constraints, Proceedings of the 22nd Australasian Database Conference, (ADC 2011), January 2011, Perth, Australia - 2011
Strategic Links/Grants Map


Goal: a few substantive links that deliver quality outcomes (publications,grants, HDR completions)



Quantum theory

Semantic info processing


EU Frontiers grant

Song (Robert Gordon Uni., Aberdeen)

Melucci (Uni. Padua)

Coecke/Sadrzadeh (Oxford)




CSIRO e-health



Faculty of Business



ARC Discovery

Gärdenfors (Lund Uni)

Woods (Uni British Columbia)



ARC Discovery

Busemeyer (Indiana Uni)



(Ian Turner)


Faculty of Education

(Jim Watters)







Fabio Boschetti


Uni Adelaide

(Azhar Iqbal)

NOTES FROM QI Retreat workshop (Monday 21/11/2011)  


QI website:

ACTIONS for: Mike/Bevan/Peter/Guido: 

1) Bevan to send CMS to Mike - or let him know he has it downloaded already (suggestion: Jumla - we believe Aneesha has experience with it, as she has used it to run her experiments)

2) Peter to send FTP details to Mike and Bevan

3) Mike/Bevan to upload or install on FTP site and then build one or two sample pages.

4) Send sample site to group: Glasgow IR web site (ideas for templates) - which one Guido?

5) Assign actions to QI group users - i.e., each person must create a profile page for themselves, ask best person to do main page, intro, etc. 


ACTION for MIKE: check citeulike (Aneesha email) - forward it to Guido [MIKE: Done]


Format of QI meetings;

- problem session (using LS format) - or general wrap. but time shared fairly.

- identify papers we as a group want to know in depth (Kirsty to drive this aspect, maybe once a month) 

- presentations (visitors, people with deliverables coming up)


ACTION ALL: Try to keep the reviewing of others work happening, as practice for reviewing and also helping pre-review before getting to supervisors.


ACTION MIKE: send Guido info on TQE prediction [Mike: Done]




Our research projects

QI News and Events

Our weekly Group meetings are held in P-block room P721, on Wednesday mornings 10:30-12:30

Topics for Discussion:


20th Feb: Peter, Laurianne, Guido & Kirsty will all discuss their current ARC DP applications

27th Feb: Lance De Vine will talk about encoding structure in vector space models of semantics as well as some issues relating to representation.

6th March: Cancelled - IS School meeting

13th March: Andrew Gibson will discuss his HDR project proposal, and research objectives

20th March: Kirsty Kitto will discuss our just accepted Memory & Cognition paper (Nelson, D., Kitto, K., Galea, D., McEvoy, C., Bruza, P.D. (In Press). How Activation, Entanglement, and Searching a Semantic Network Contribute to Event Memory)

27th March: Sandor Daryani will talk about his experiences while visiting us at QUT, and flag what he would like to continue once he leaves...


Upcoming events:

Quantum Interaction conference: July 2013


Past events:

QI research retreat 2012 (report)

 Quantum Interaction conference: Paris, June 2012

QI research retreat 2011 (report)

QI research retreat 2010



Projects (2)

Our research projects

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