Seminar on Computational Creativity

Algorithms and machine learning
Advanced studies
The seminar will cover selected topics in the theory, methods, and applications of computational creativity. Priority is given to students who have taken the course Introduction to Computational Creativity or The Computational Foundations of Linguistic Creativity.
Year Semester Date Period Language In charge
2014 spring 13.01-21.04. 3-4 English Hannu Toivonen


Time Room Lecturer Date
Mon 10-12 C220 Hannu Toivonen 13.01.2014-20.01.2014
Mon 10-12 C220 Hannu Toivonen 03.02.2014-03.02.2014
Mon 10-12 C220 Hannu Toivonen 10.03.2014-21.04.2014
Wed 10-12 C220 Hannu Toivonen 02.04.2014-02.04.2014
Mon 12-14 C220 Hannu Toivonen 07.04.2014-07.04.2014
Mon 12-14 C220 Hannu Toivonen 14.04.2014-14.04.2014

Information for international students

This seminar will work in English.


The goal of computational creativity is to model, simulate or enhance creativity. This seminar will mainly discuss algorithmically oriented research papers in different subfields of computational creativity, such as linguistic, musical and visual creativity, creativity support tools, and computational models of human creativity.

Learning objectives:

  • improve scientific and technical writing skills
  • improve scientific and technical presentation skills
  • learn about methods for computational creativity

Also see the global learning objectives of seminars at the department (in the left column of this page).

Completing the course

Participants must have completed (a) the course Scientific writing or have equivalent skills and (b) the course Introduction to Computational Creativity (to be given in period II in autumn of 2013). A maximum of 12 students will be elected for the seminar on the basis of their application and previous studies.

Students complete this seminar by actively participating in its work: the work methods include studying scientific papers, writing reports and giving presentations, reading the reports of other participants and evaluating them, and actively following presentations.

The grading will be based on each student's own written work (1/3), oral presentation (1/3), and commentary on the reports of others as well as activeness in general (1/3). To pass the seminar, each of these components must be passed. (Active) attendance of seminar meetings is obligatory. Absense from at most two meetings is accepted (and will affect grading).

Seminar routines

Each student will have three roles in the seminar: (1) a writer and speaker, (2) reviewer of two other reports, (3) audience for the rest of the reports and oral presentations. For each of these roles, the seminar will use the following routines. All written material (outlines, reports, reviews, slides) will be delivered via Moodle.

Writer and speaker

  • By Mon, Jan 13th, each student chooses a topic for the seminar work (instructions in email).
  • By Mon, Jan 20th, each student selects source material (2-3 articles) and familiarizes him/herself with it, and prepares an outline of the report (see instructions in Moodle).
  • Three weeks before the oral presentation the writer delivers his/her seminar report (see instructions below).
  • (Two other seminar participants evaluate the report and give their feedback on it within a week.)
  • One week before the oral presentation the writer delivers the final report, to be distributed to all participants, as well as slides for the oral presentation, delivered at this phase to the same two students to comment on.
  • On the agreed date, the oral presentation is given.
  • For presentations close to the start of the seminar, the deadlines are adjusted.


  • Each student reviews the reports of two other students. The time to carry out each review is one week, starting three weeks before the oral presentation.
  • The review will consist of (1) reading the report thoroughly, (2) possibly reading some of the original material, (3a) providing written feedback (see instructions on a separate tab) or (3b) preparing 3 exercise tasks for other students based on the report, and (4) discussing the report and the feedback with the writer and the other reviewer.
  • Several hours need to be reserved for carrying out a review. Start reading early so you have time to digest the report, to understand what the author tries to say, and to write detailed and constructive comments or to design exercise tasks.
  • After the review period, the reviews will be delivered in writing, together with a commented version of the report manuscript, to the author, in a feedback and discussion session between the reviewers, the author, and a tutor (to be scheduled separately).
  • One week before the presentation, the reviewers will receive a copy of the slides, and will quickly review them on a general level.


  • Every student is assumed to read each seminar report before it is presented orally, but no detailed study of the report is required. The report is available for reading one week before the oral presentation.
  • The audience is also assumed to be active in the oral presentations: learning, commenting, asking questions. The presenter will tell if questions are preferred during or after the talk.
  • During and immediately after the talk, the audience writes down anonymous, constructive feedback to the speaker on how the talk was structured, prepared and delivered.
  • After the presentation, exercise tasks on the topic of the talk are worked on by the audience in the classroom.


Keep in mind that the written report and the oral presentation have partially different goals.

The oral presentation should explain the main ideas of the content, simplifying concepts when necessary. Depending on the topic, a good presentation should include many examples to illustrate the subject matter and only some choice technical details that are important and can be discussed thoroughly enough during the presentation. The oral presentation should last around 45 minutes.

For the report, put more emphasis on exactness and scientific representation. The report should be a product of the student, even though it is based on source material. For instance, the text in the report must be produced by the student (i.e., no copy-pasting), and the contents should reflect the conclusions, interests, background, and views of the student. You are encouraged to provide a personal view, but be clear in the report which parts are from literature and which ideas or views are your own. The report must contain technical material on a selected specific topic, i.e., it should not be just a summary or overview of the source material. Therefore, you must pick and choose what to discuss in your report in more detail, and the emphasis of the report may be quite different from the original articles. For the things you leave out, refer to the source material. A suitable length for the report is 12-15 pages. See, e.g., the page for the course Scientific writing for instructions (and links to further instructions).

Instructions for preparing reports

For instructions on how to format seminar reports, please follow the general guidelines used at the department. Links to models and templates are available e.g. on the web pages of the course Scientific Writing for MSc in Computer Science. The expected length of a seminar report is 12-15 pages (excluding the title page, summary, and table of contents). The course also has useful links to guides on scientific writing.

Literature and material

Suitable topics and source literature are provided to the participants by email. Each student selects a topic for his/her report and presentations, and uses suitable scientific source material (typically 2 articles as key sources). You may use other literature, too. In any case, you must agree on your source literature with the seminar leaders in good time before you start.

Some articles are available in electronic format only from computers in the university network (or by a VPN connection).

A good bibliography of computational creativity and pointers to various resources are available at (see "Conferences" and "Resources" at the top of the page).

Background reading

All participants must be familiar with the following material before the start of the seminar:

  • Geraint A. Wiggins: A preliminary framework for description, analysis and comparison of creative systems. Knowledge-Based Systems 19 (7): 449–458, 2006. (pdf)
  • Slides for the first lecture of the course Introduction to Computational Creativity, 2013 (link)


Please give feedback on the seminar at (Advanced studies -> Seminar on Computational Creativity).