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These pages are not any more updated. Please, see web pages of Department of Information and Computer Science (ICS): http://ics.tkk.fi/en/studies/.

This course has been replaced by T-61.6090 Special course in Language Technology V P




Näitä sivuja ei päivitetä enää. Ole hyvä ja katso tietojenkäsittelytieteen laitoksen WWW-sivuja: http://ics.tkk.fi/fi/studies/.

These pages are not any more updated. Please, see web pages of Department of Information and Computer Science (ICS): http://ics.tkk.fi/en/studies/.

T-61.186 Special course in Language Technology (2 cr) (L1)

The evolution of language and cognition: modeling perspectives



Organisers: D. Sc. Krista Lagus, M.A. Kari Kanto, and prof. Timo Honkela,
Semester: Autumn 2004
Credit points: 2 cr
Place: Seminar room A328, computer science building, Konemiehentie 2, Otaniemi, Espoo.
Time: Wednesdays 14-16, starting from September 22
Language: English (or Finnish)
Homepage: http://www.cis.hut.fi/Opinnot/T-61.186/
Course material: here

Seminar course description

Language evolution is a relatively new field of research emerging at the intersection of traditional and computational linguistics, evolutionary ecology, anthropology, neuroscience, and cognitive science. The development of new powerful simulation methods has allowed researchers to tackle complex population models and bring new insights into the ancient "nature vs. nurture" debates over language origins. The seminar is aimed at giving an overview of the state of the art as well as getting hands-on experience on language evolution modeling. The focus is on the origin of complex communication systems in populations under selection "pressure", not forgetting the individual's point of view, namely the relationship between ontogeny and language learning.

The overview consists of articles that will be studied by everyone and then discussed together in the meetings. The articles reflect the abundance of different approaches and viewpoints that characterizes the current state of evolutionary linguistics.

Course structure

The course begins with a two-session introductory lecture, which includes closer examination of two articles. Based on these articles, some basic themes of language evolution modeling are then explored in small groups using a simulation software package. The questions arising from these "playground" experiments will be addressed during a series of follow-up meetings, contemplating on an additional set of articles. Course material: here

Preliminary timetable

  • 22 September 2004
    Timo Honkela, Krista Lagus and Kari Kanto: Language evolution modeling: variety of approaches, computational, philosophical and cognitive aspects.

  • 29 September 2004
    Discussion about the articles delivered previously. Short introduction to the modeling software. Forming of groups.

  • 6 October 2004
    Discussion about the articles relating to the Talking Heads simulation software. Sharing of first impressions concerning the software (at this point all groups should have installed the program and tried it out a bit).

  • 13 October 2004
    Group work, no joint session.

  • 20 October 2004
    Joint session, sharing experiences about the simulation software, updating group work topics.

  • 27 October 2004
    Group work, no joint session.

  • 3 November 2004
    Joint meeting, group presentations (Pöllä, Lindh-Knuutila, Kumlander; Väyrynen, Turkia, Hyrkkö).

  • 10 November 2004
    Joint meeting, group presentations (Särelä, Killian, Kempf; Raitio, Puurula, Kazuhisa, Lehtonen).

  • 17 November 2004
    Discussion about the articles delivered previously.

  • 24 November 2004
    Discussion about the articles delivered previously.

  • 1 December 2004
    Discussion about the articles delivered previously.

  • 8 December 2004
    No session (Lab Christmas cruise).

  • 15 December 2004
    Conclusions. Note: The short paper describing the results from the small simulation experiments is due Jan 31st.

Prerequisites for attending

This special course is intended mainly for graduate students, however, advanced undergraduate students may also be admitted (please contact Kari Kanto or come to the first session to discuss in the end about the attendance.). Each participant is expected to have reasonably advanced understanding of some discipline neighbouring the domain of interest (e.g., modeling in computer science or artificial intelligence, evolutionary ecology, computational linguistics, linguistic typology, psycholinguistics, philosophy of language, etc.). Students, e.g., from the following disciplines and areas are welcome:
  • Language Technology major (Kieliteknologian pää-/sivuaine), Computer and Information Science, and Information Processing Science at Helsinki University of Technology,
  • KIT (Kieliteknologian opetuksen verkosto, network of language technology education in Finland),
  • cognitive science, ecology, language technology, general linguistics, computer science, and theoretical philosophy at University of Helsinki, and
  • Media Lab of University of Art and Design.
Successful participation does not require specific mathematical modeling or programming skills. However, basic familiarity with computational and/or mathematical modeling is useful.

Requirements for passing the course

Course will be graded as accepted / failed. Active participation in the meetings and writing a short description on the "playground" experiments is a requisite for passing the course.

Signing up for the course

HUT students: fill the form at WWW Topi. Students from other universities: send email to Kari Kanto. If you are unable the follow the above procedure, please sign up at the first lecture.

More information

For more information, please contact Kari Kanto.

Tilaa osoite t61186@cis.hut.fi

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Tuesday, 19-Aug-2008 10:51:00 EEST