Torsten Hahmann

Office: 344 Boardman Hall

Lab: 236A Boardman Hall

Dr. Hahmann is an Associate Professor in the School of Computing and Information Science and is affiliated with the Spatial Data Science Institute at the University of Maine. He joined the department in 2013. He directs the Spatial Knowledge and Artificial Intelligence (SKAI) lab. Previously, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher with Autodesk Research.


  • Ph.D. University of Toronto (2013)
  • M.Sc. University of Toronto (2008)

Research Interests

Torsten Hahmann’s research covers the areas of spatial informatics and artificial intelligence, specifically, knowledge representation, logic, and automated reasoning.

His current research resolves around how rich semantic descriptions of the information from complex and heterogeneous information systems in formal logical representations – so-called ontologies – can be efficiently obtained and integrated with one another. Of particular interest are spatial ontologies, which encode the information contained in geographic, geological, hydrological, or environmental maps (as typically stored in geographic information systems), sketch maps, verbal route descriptions and indoor environments (think CAD and Building Information Models describing buildings, rooms, etc.), or biological systems (such as the human body or a single bone).

Hahmann’s work studies how spatial ontologies can help convert between precise computational spatial information (e.g. from geographic information systems, building information systems, or computer-aided design software) and intuitive, but often more vague descriptions of space (using vague, more qualitative spatial terms such as North, South, in, next to, between) commonly used by people.
His work is highly interdisciplinary, touching upon computer science, geography, philosophy, information science, and cognitive science, and ranges from very theoretical work that advance logic-based AI in the broadest sense to more domain specific work on modeling knowledge about hydrology, geology, glaciology, or environmental sciences.

Current research projects include an NSF funded project on “Empowering Multi-Conceptual Spatial Reasoning with a Repository of Qualitative and Quantitative Spatial Ontologies” and a long-term collaborative project with the Geological Survey of Canada on formally capturing the semantics of different kinds of water features (e.g., lakes, river systems, aquifers, wells, etc.). He also leads the development of the macleod toolkit for automated reasoning on ontologies specified in Common Logic.

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