October 08, 2006

"The Invisible Academy: Non-Linear Effects of Linear Learning"

I am sure that I speak for all of us in the Statistics Department at CMU (especially my erstwhile fellow bloggers) when I say we're very pleased and excited to have Prof. Mark Liberman as our seminar speaker on 16 October, a week from tomorrow. Mark is coming to us not as the impressario of LanguageLog (though, in that role, his scourging of sloppy data analysis, whether socio-political or neurosexual, is a joy to behold), nor as the director of the Linguistic Data Consortium, nor even to speak about bibliomics. Rather, he'll be talking about some work which combines the stochastic linear learning models (of the sort pioneered by, among others, Frederick Mosteller) with agent-based modeling of cultural evolution. Which is to say, he's talking about aggregate behaviors of interacting stochastic processes which are more interesting than just the central limit theorem.

The invisible academy: non-linear effects of linear learning
Abstract: When linguists, psychologists or engineers try to understand, explain or imitate human speech and language, they usually do so by modeling individual speakers, hearers or learners. Nevertheless, language is an emergent property of groups (of humans), and elementary arguments suggest that non-trivial characteristics of speech and language emerge from interactions within groups of individuals over time. This talk will argue that some (old and pathetically) simple ideas about learning and perception have obvious but non-trivial consequences for the emergence of cultural norms, including linguistic ones.

Monday, October 16, at 4:30 pm in Baker Hall A51; free and open to the public.

The Collective Use and Evolution of Concepts; Enigmas of Chance

Posted at October 08, 2006 13:45 | permanent link

Three-Toed Sloth