STeP '96 - Foreword

Finnish Artificial Intelligence Society (FAIS) was founded ten years before the conference, namely 21st of August, 1986. In the middle of the 1980s the "hard" approach based on two-valued logic and rule formalisms was predominant. Currently, the soft computing paradigm with artificial neural networks, fuzzy logic, and genetic algorithms has a central position. This can also be seen in the programme of the conference.

Finegrained inference mechanisms and contextuality are emphasized in the current artificial intelligence research. The intuition - based on learning and experience - is seen as a important factor along with the symbolic knowledge and logical inference when intelligent systems are being developed.

I wish to thank all those who contributed to the success of the conference as well as the athmospheric University of Vaasa serving as the host! My special thanks are due to professor Jarmo T. Alander and Nina Backlund who were responsible the arrangements.

Timo Honkela
Finnish Artificial Intelligence Society, president

Proceedings of the STeP'96 Conference