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Projects at CSLI | Center for the Study of Language and Information

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Projects at CSLI

Center for the Explanation of Consciousness

The CEC is a research initiative at CSLI which is devoted to studying explanations of consciousness. The CEC hosts talks and symposia from a variety of viewpoints exploring the nature of conscious experience. We also sponsor reading groups during the term, led by faculty and graduate students.

Computational Semantics Lab

The Computational Semantics Laboratory works on research projects involving semantics -- the study of meaning -- at the intersection of linguistics and computer science. A unifying theme in the lab's research is an emphasis on the role of context in determining meaning. The lab has particular interest in theoretical models of communication, language, dialogue, computation, and inference which take into account the context in which these activities are occurring.

The lab is also interested in applying research results to practical applications and real-world problems. Current or recent projects have been in the areas of information retrieval, natural language processing, dialogue systems, intelligent tutoring systems, machine translation, programming languages, and cooperating software agents.

Stanley Peters is the Principal Investigator.


Current or recent software from various projects is available.

Language and Natural Reasoning

Knowing what a text means involves drawing inferences based in the information in the text. Our group works on inferential properties of linguistic expressions to enable automated reasoning for NL understanding.

Our group works on inferential properties of linguistic expressions to enable automated reasoning for NL understanding.

We want to contribute to the theoretical understanding of how language and reasoning interact and to the computational modeling of such interactions.
Currently we concentrate on:

  • the linguistic encoding of temporal and spatial information,
  • the linguistic encoding of modality,
  • local textual inferences,
  • natural logic,
  • deriving logical forms that allow interaction with structured information and computational reasoners.

For more information about the project see [www.stanford.edu]

LinGO Project

The CSLI LinGO Lab is committed to the development of linguistically precise grammars based on the HPSG framework, and general-purpose tools for use in grammar engineering, profiling, parsing and generation. Early work in the CSLI LinGO Lab focused on the construction of a general-purpose grammar of English in the form of the English Resource Grammar (or ERG), and on further development of the LKB grammar engineering system. The LKB was also used at CSLI as the testbed for a number of teaching grammars and smaller-scale grammars for other languages including Japanese and Spanish.

Logical Dynamics Lab

LDL research concentrates on applications of logic, especially modal logics and dynamic logics, for modeling aspects of rational agency—from knowledge, belief, and information to action, intention, and games.

Pragmatic Enrichment & Contextual Interface Lab Psychosemantics Lab

Dedicated to the study of linguistic meaning as a cognitive phenomenon, with particular attention to its connections with grammar, reasoning, and decision-making. Methods include web-based experiments, eye-tracking, and logical and computational models rooted in linguistics, cognitive science, and philosophy.

Recent student work

[See the PI's website for additional, non-student work]

Qing, Ciyang. 2016. Up to n: Pragmatic Inference about an Optimal Lower Bound. In Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory 26 (SALT 26).

Crone, Phil. (2016). Asserting Clarity & Managing Awareness. Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 20.

Qing, Ciyang. 2016. Up to n: Pragmatic Inference about an Optimal Lower Bound. Qualifying paper, Stanford Linguistics.

Qing, Ciyang, Noah Goodman & Daniel Lassiter. (2016). A Rational Speech-Act Model of Projective Content. In Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016).

Crone, Phil. 2015. Asserting Clarity as Managing Awareness. Qualifying Paper, Stanford Linguistics.

Nadathur, Prerna and Daniel Lassiter. 2015. Unless: An experimental approachProceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 19.

Nadathur, Prerna. 2014. Unless, exceptionality, and the pragmatics of conditional statements Qualifying Paper, Stanford Linguistics.

Spoken Syntax Lab

Located in Cordura Hall at Stanford's Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI), the Spoken Syntax Lab provides resources for collaborative work on syntax using multiple sources of evidence and modern statistical models. The Lab is developing repositories of aligned phonetic, parsed, and contextualized data as well as advanced search and analysis tools.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

From its inception, the SEP was designed so that each entry is maintained and kept up to date by an expert or group of experts in the field. All entries and substantive updates are refereed by the members of a distinguished Editorial Board before they are made public. Consequently, our dynamic reference work maintains academic standards while evolving and adapting in response to new research. You can cite fixed editions that are created on a quarterly basis and stored in our Archives (every entry contains a link to its complete archival history, identifying the fixed edition the reader should cite). The Table of Contents lists entries that are published or assigned. The Projected Table of Contents also lists entries which are currently unassigned but nevertheless projected.

The Metaphysics Research Lab

The Metaphysics Research Lab consists of a group of researchers located around the world collaborating with Edward N. Zalta on the axiomatic theory of abstract objects.  This theory consists of principles that govern the abstract objects presupposed in the natural sciences, such as mathematical objects and relations, possible states, possible and future objects, etc. The two main principles of the theory are existence and identity conditions for abstract objects: ∃x(A!x & ∀x(xF ≡ φ)) and A!x & A!y → (∀F(xFyF) → x=y).

At present, Zalta is collaborating with Hannes Leitgeb on a paper that shows how object theory offers a logicist account of mathematics. He is also collaborating with Otávio Bueno and Christopher Menzel on a paper that shows how object theory avoids the Russell-Kaplan style paradoxes that affect those who analyze possible worlds as sets of propositions or analyze propositions as sets of worlds. Finally, he is collaborating with Paul Oppenheimer and Jesse Alama on a project in computational metaphysics, namely, that of using automated reasoning engines to derive the theorems about possible worlds and individual concepts that were first described in Zalta's paper “A (Theory) of Leibnizian Concepts

Recently, Zalta completed a paper with Uri Nodelman, entitled “Foundations for Mathematical Structuralism” (under review), a paper with Branden Fitelson entitled “Steps Towards a Computational Metaphysics” (J. Philosophical Logic), a paper with Bernard Linsky entitled “What is Neologicism?” (Bulletin of Symbolic Logic), a paper with Michael Nelson entitled “A Defense of Contingent Logical Truths” (Philosophical Studies, forthcoming), and two papers with Paul Oppenheimer, one entitled “Relations Versus Functions at the Foundations of Logic: Type-Theoretic Considerations” (Journal of Logic and Computation) and one entitled “A Computationally-Discovered Simplification of the Ontological Argument” (Australasian Journal of Philosophy).

The Openproof Project

The Openproof project at Stanford's Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI) is concerned with the application of software to problems in logic. Since the early 1980's we have been developing applications in logic education which are both innovative and effective. The development of these courseware packages has in turn informed and influenced our research agenda.

We are currently engaged in a project to understand the difficulties that students encounter when learning logic. Our approach to this task is to use data mining techniques on a large corpus of student work that we have gathered through our Internet-based grading service over the past ten years. The corpus currently consists of over 5 million submissions of work from more than 110,000 individual students.

A second project involves the investigation of the logics of diagrammatic and heterogeneous reasoning. Logic has traditionally been concerned with deduction using information expressed as sentences. In this project we are concerned with developing formal and informal systems for logical reasoning with diagrams alone, and in heterogeneous contexts where diagrams and sentences are used together to represent information about a reasoning task.

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