August 28 – September 2 , 2011, Dagstuhl Seminar 11351

Computer Science and Problem Solving: New Foundations


Georg Gottlob (University of Oxford, GB)
Yll Haxhimusa (TU Wien, AT)
Zygmunt Pizlo (Purdue University – West Lafayette, US)
Iris van Rooij (Radboud University Nijmegen, NL)

For support, please contact

Dagstuhl Service Team


Dagstuhl Report, Volume 1, Issue 8 Dagstuhl Report
List of Participants
Dagstuhl's Impact: Documents available
Dagstuhl Seminar Schedule [pdf]


This Dagstuhl seminar brought together a group of computer scientists and psychologists to discuss their perspectives on problem solving. The seminar was inspired by two previous Problem Solving workshops in 2005 and 2008 at Purdue University, USA. These workshops, organized primarily by psychologists, laid bare some fundamental theoretical questions in problem solving research. The organizers believed that research on these questions could benefit from more involvement of computer scientists in the area of problem solving. This motivated the organization on this seminar, which aimed to bring together computer scientists and psychologists to help build new formal foundations for problem solving research.

Of the 36 participants at the seminar about half were computer scientists and the other half were psychologists, though many identified as interdisciplinary researchers (e.g., cognitive scientists). To facilitate cross-disciplinary perspectives, computer science and psychology talks were alternated in the program of the seminar. There were 7 longer featured talks and 15 shorter talks.

To conclude, the seminar was successful in several ways: (1) It has resulted in a renewed awareness of how computer science and psychology can complement each other in the study of problem solving; (2) it has created a new impetus for more involvement of computer scientists in contemporary problem solving research; (3) it has created more common ground between computer science and psychologist in the study of problem solving; (4) it has produced several novel ideas on how to conceptualize `problem solving' and, in particular, `problem solving by insight;' (5) it has produced several novel ideas on how to formalize these new conceptualizations; (6) it has produced concrete suggestions for new experimental paradigms for studying problem solving in the lab; (7) it has inspired new cross-disciplinary collaborative research projects; and last but not least (8) it has provided the groundwork on which follow-up Dagstuhl seminars can build in the future. With this seminar, the organizers hope to have contributed to an increased and sustained collaborative research effort between computer science and psychology in the domain of problem solving.

Related Dagstuhl Seminar


  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Robotics Data Intelligence
  • Algorithms
  • Complexity Society
  • Human-computer Interaction
  • Interdisciplinary


  • Problem solving
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Cognitive systems
  • Vision
  • Representations
  • Computational complexity


In the series Dagstuhl Reports each Dagstuhl Seminar and Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop is documented. The seminar organizers, in cooperation with the collector, prepare a report that includes contributions from the participants' talks together with a summary of the seminar.


Download overview leaflet (PDF).

Dagstuhl's Impact

Please inform us when a publication was published as a result from your seminar. These publications are listed in the category Dagstuhl's Impact and are presented on a special shelf on the ground floor of the library.


Furthermore, a comprehensive peer-reviewed collection of research papers can be published in the series Dagstuhl Follow-Ups.