The Centre for Communication, Cognition and Computation

joint research centre of UvA and UoE



Day 1: 29 August 2019


11:00-11:30   Arrival
11:30-11:45   Opening remarks
11:45-12:30   Introductory discussion: What roles does symbol comprehension play in cognition and communication? How would it help us to know? - Wendy Johnson

Theme A: Individual Cognition

Chair: Martin Corley

How comprehension of symbols develops in individuals and what it means for cognition remain largely unknown. Though development is likely a continuous, emergent process, this does not mean that it cannot be modelled using computational models of discrete variables. Accomplishing this is challenging, yet work is progressing in developing models increasingly able to capture at least aspects of the process. This session highlights some of these accomplishments and spurs discussion of the models’ limitations and outstanding questions.


Session 1
12:30-13:15   TOPIC: Accumulating evidence for decisions - Leendert van Maanen
13:15-14:15   Lunch break
Session 2    
14:15-15:00   TOPIC: Inferring and representing relations - Alex Doumas
15:00-15:30   Coffee break
Session 3    
15:30-16:15   TOPIC: Inferring structure and cause - Neil Bramley
Session 4    
16:15-17:00   General Discussion with speaker panel: What’s missing? How can we hone in on it?
17:00-18:30   Drinks & Poster session I
19:00-    Conference dinner at Restaurant Van Speijk (Westeinde 1, 1931 AB Egmond aan Zee)


Day 2: 30 August 2019


Theme B: Interactive Cognition

Chair: Holly Branigan

Research on interactive communication has experienced notable recent successes, but important challenges remain. Language is ‘for’ communication: it does not happen in a vacuum, nor within single speakers; however, researchers often make simplifying assumptions by analysing the behavior of individuals and their linguistic capacities in isolation. Language only functions as a communicative system if it is coordinated among multiple individuals.  Interacting speakers rely on their shared linguistic system to monitor and guide exchange of information. This session features three ways researchers have operationalized this.


Session 1    
09:00-09:45   TOPIC: Experimental pragmatics in Psycholinguistics - Martin Pickering
Session 2    
09:45-10:30   TOPIC: Dialogue modelling in (computational) linguistics and AI - Raquel Fernandez
10:30-11:00   Coffee Break
Session 3    
11:00-11:45   TOPIC: Generics and Conditionals: Theoretical, Empirical and Computational perspectives - Robert van Rooij & Katrin Schulz
11:45-12:30   Time for informal discussions and/or a walk on the beach
12:30-13:30   Lunch break


Theme C: Interpretability in Modelling Language Processing

Chair: Jelle Zuidema

Interpretability takes several meanings in modelling language processing: it can refer to inference of meaning from collections of formally structured but otherwise arbitrary indicators, existence of a relation between two theories or logical systems such that one can be translated into or its meanings inferred in the other, and/or a set of modal logics that describes various levels and constraints on interpretability relations. This session will address three key questions outstanding in this area and how developing answers to them can further developments in the other three themes.


Session 3    
13:30-14:15   Question: Which aspects of interpretability can we model? Which not? How do we appropriately constrain model function? - Wilker Aziz
14:15-15:00   Question: How do/should we interpret existing models? - Jelle Zuidema
15:00-15:30   Coffee break
Session 3    
15:30-16:15   How do/should we incorporate cognitive, emotional, and linguistic biases into our models? - Ivan Titov
16:15-18:00   Drinks & Poster session II
19:00-   Conference dinner at Restaurant Cousteau (Boulevard 2, 1931 CJ Egmond aan Zee)


Day 3: 31 August 2019


Theme D: Population Cognition

Chair: Paul Boersma

Evolution of language and culture - shared population-level cognition - are inextricably intertwined, buried in human pre-history, and likely just as intertwined with consciousness and ability to comprehend and use symbols. Understanding how they may have evolved, however, is crucial for understanding their continued evolution, especially as that becomes increasingly intertwined with developments in machine cognition and free-flowing and extremely broad cross-cultural social networks interacting via electronic media that often modulate ‘silos’ of shared beliefs that transcend physical boundaries and sometimes rest on rather flimsy empirical realities. This session features two major foci of research in this area, comparing and contrasting them in active cross-commentary.


Session 1    
09:00-09:45   TOPIC: Language and cultural evolution: Models and measures - Simon Kirby
Session 2    
09:45-10:30   TOPIC: Social networks and belief revision: Models and measures - Alexandru Baltag
10:30-11:00   Coffee break
Session 3    
11:00-11:45   CROSS-COMMENTARY: Social network and belief revision modeller Sonja Smets and perceptual representation and inference modeller Alistair Isaac on language and cultural evolution, and language and cultural evolutionary modeller Kenny Smith on social networks and belief revision
Session 4    
11:45-12:30   How can addressing these questions further developments in the other three themes? – GENERAL  DISCUSSION with speaker panel, augmented by Chris Cummins, and Han van der Maas
12:30-   Lunch and farewell