This year's conference is the 25th
Annual Meeting of Cognitive Science Society. The first meeting was held in San Diego in 1979. At the '79 meeting the central topics were knowledge, representation (internal and logic based), symbolic information processing, and functionalism. What distinguished the society was its commitment to computation as a metaphor of mind. Although in many ways the society still maintains these commitments, as shown by this year's proceedings, much has also changed.
The theme this year was the social, cultural, and contextual elements of cognition. Submissions were encouraged on the topics of collaboration, cultural
learning, distributed cognition and interaction, though adjudication of papers was based purely on merit, rather than topic. We had four plenary speakers: Michael Tomasello, Ed Hutchins, James Greeno, and the Rumelhart
prize winner, Aravind Joshi. The subject matter of the plenary talks were the cultural origins of human cognition, ethnography as a methodology for cognitive science, the role of identity in collaborative learning, and
the cognitive architecture of language. It is noteworthy that the disciplines featured in the talks of the plenary speakers --- psychology, anthropology, education and learning, computation and linguistics --- draw on an
interdisciplinary mix of methods and evidence.
The meeting this year took place in Cambridge, MA, USA from July 30th to August 2nd, 2003. Over four hundred and fifty submissions
were received from around the world. Those that were accepted were classified into 4 categories: Papers to be presented orally at the conference on the basis of competitive review, papers accepted as posters,
member abstracts, and publication-based submissions. This last category offered established researchers the opportunity to present talks in their area of expertise without submitting full 6-page papers. Their
presentations are recorded here as 500-word abstracts, just the same as member abstracts of papers.
There are many people to whom we owe thanks and we hope that we have listed each of their names on the
pages that follow this Foreword. We would like to provide our special thanks to the following: The Governing Board of the Cognitive Science Society for inviting us to host the meeting. The Program Committee for
acting in the capacity of Associate Editors in managing the review process. The more than 200 reviewers for providing professional reviews and, in most cases, copious comments. Frank Ritter and Yvette Tenney for
organizing and coordinating the tutorial program. Kevin Gluck and Frank Lee for organizing the student volunteers. Paul Maglio for chairing the Marr Prize committee. Deborah Gruber for local arrangements and
administrative work in organizing the conference. Art Markman for introducing a central Cognitive Science Society presence to the conference. David Haberer for maintaining the software. Financial support: CHI Systems,
Micro Analysis & Design, Inc, Army Research Lab, Center for Complex Systems and Computer Science Department at Brandeis University, and The Robert J. Glushko and Pamela Samuelson Foundation. The plenary
speakers: Michael Tomasello, Edwin Hutchins, James Greeno, and Aravind Joshi. And finally our authors, symposium participants, and attendees for making the conference a true intellectual feast.
Richard Alterman & David Kirsh
Conference Chairs, CogSci2003