EKAW (European Knowledge Acquisition Workshop) started in 1987 as the European analogue to the KAW (Knowledge Acquisition Workshop) series of workshops in North America and the PKAW series in the Asian-Pacific area. Together, KAW, EKAW and PKAW defined the key venues for research in Knowledge-Based Systems in the 80s and 90s, in particular for those researchers who were especially interested in the issues associated with the computational representation of knowledge and human expert behavior.

While EKAW started as a workshop, as a result of its success and its emergence as the premier forum for research in Knowledge-Based Systems in Europe, it eventually became a conference in 2000, with the formal title of “International Conference on Knowledge Engineering and Knowledge Management”, while still maintaining the original EKAW acronym and brand. This change took place at the same time as the KAW series of workshops concluded in North America and gave birth to the International Conference on Knowledge Capture (K-CAP), whose first edition was held in 2001 in Banff, Canada.

Today, EKAW and K-CAP define the two main fora for research in Knowledge-Based Systems and are held on alternate years. A key aspect of the EKAW/K-CAP community is that, while it is in no way homogenous with respect to paradigms and approaches, as pointed out in [Motta, 2013], “it is also possible to identify “a common mode of thought and a set of shared assumptions”. These can be reconducted to i) a ‘holistic’ approach to knowledge engineering, not merely viewed as yet another computing field, but rather as an activity informed as much by technology as the cognitive and social sciences; and ii) an emphasis on “the pursuit of reusable patterns in problem solving and in domain descriptions” [Musen, 2013]. Hence we can characterize the ultimate goal of research in this area as that of providing “rigorous epistemological and engineering foundations to the area, at a level rather more conceptual than the one normally adopted in knowledge representation research” [Motta, 2013].

Over 30 years after its first edition, EKAW is still going from strength to strength. This demonstrates the vitality and robust state of health of this area of research and also confirms that, while the landscape has changed so much in the past 30 years, the key issues to do with effective knowledge engineering and management are still as relevant today as they were 30 years ago.

Motta, E. 25 Years of Knowledge Acquisition. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Volume 71, Issue 2, Pages 131-134 (February 2013)

Musen, M. A., The knowledge acquisition workshops: A remarkable convergence of ideas. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Volume 71, Issue 2, Pages 195-199 (February 2013)