Computer Laboratory

Course pages 2011–12

Language and Concepts

Reading list

Note that URLs are given for all required reading, but in some cases these will require login via a Raven password. Some of the additional material is only available in books, all of which are available in the University Library. Please contact the module leader if there are any difficulties with access to material.
  • Session 1: Informal concept representation: dictionaries, encyclopedias and folksonomies. Computational exploitation of these resources.

    Required reading: None (since this is the first session).

    Additional suggestions:
    Introduction to WordNet: An On-line Lexical Database. George A. Miller, Richard Beckwith, Christiane Fellbaum, Derek Gross, and Katherine Miller. 1993. (pdf)

    Nouns in WordNet: A Lexical Inheritance System. George A. Miller. 1993. (pdf)

    Acquiring Ontological Relationships from Wikipedia using RMRS. Herbelot, A. and Copestake, A. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Web content Mining with Human Language Technologies, 2006, ISWC'06. (pdf)
    There are a large number of papers on ontology extraction --- I have listed this one because it is based on an MPhil project done in the Computer Laboratory.

  • Session 2: Concepts in computer science. Description logics and their use in the semantic web. Terminology databases, taxonomies and ontologies in eScience.

    Required reading:
    The Semantic Web Revisited. Shadbolt, N.; Hall, W.; Berners-Lee, T.; , Intelligent Systems, IEEE , vol.21, no.3, pp.96-101, Jan.-Feb. 2006 doi: 10.1109/MIS.2006.62. (pdf)

    Using OWL to model biological knowledge. Robert Stevens, Mikel Egaña Aranguren, Katy Wolstencroft, Ulrike Sattler, Nick Drummond, Matthew Horridge, Alan Rector. Int. J. Human-Computer Studies 65 (2007) 583-594. (pdf)

  • Session 3: Concepts in logic and linguistics. Concepts and compositional semantics. Quantification and number in natural languages.

    Required reading:
    Notes on generalised quantifiers. (pdf)

    Generics and concepts Carlson, G. (2010). In F. J. Pelletier (ed.) Kinds, Things and Stuff. In the New Directions in Cognitive Science series, Oxford. (pdf)

    Additional suggestions:
    Natural language semantics. Keith Allan, Blackwell, 2001. Chapters 8, 9 and 10

  • Session 4: Concepts in computational linguistics. Inference and concepts. Distributional semantics and its relationship to symbolic approaches to concepts.

    Required reading:
    ASKNet: Automated Semantic Knowledge Network. Brian Harrington and Stephen Clark. Proceedings of the Twenty-Second Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-07), pp.889-894, Vancouver, Canada, 2007 (pdf)

    Lexicalised compositionality. Ann Copestake and Aurelie Herbelot. Unpublished ms. 2011. (pdf)

    Additional suggestions:
    Jurafsky and Martin, chapters 20.7 (Word Similarity: Distributional Methods)
    Note: for background on distributional techniques.

  • Session 5: Concepts in cognitive science and philosophy. Grounding. Human concept acquisition and the innateness debate.

    Required reading: Concepts Margolis, Eric and Laurence, Stephen, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), (HTML)

    Bootstrapping and the Origin of Concepts. Susan Carey. Daedalus. Vol. 133, No. 1, On Learning (Winter, 2004), pp. 59-68. Published by: The MIT Press on behalf of American Academy of Arts & Sciences (pdf)

    Additional suggestions:
    Natural Kinds Bird, Alexander and Tobin, Emma, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2010 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), (HTML)

  • Session 6: Concepts in neuroscience. Experimental evidence concerning the brain's encoding of word meaning.

    Required reading:
    Brain-language research: Where is the progress? Pulvermüller, F. 2010. Biolinguistics, 4 (2-3), 255-288. (pdf)

    Number sense and quantifier interpretation. Robin Clark and Murray Grossman. Topoi (2007) 26:51-62. (pdf)

  • Sessions 7: open session 1.

    Required reading:
    Folksonomies and ontologies: two new players in indexing and knowledge representation Katrin Weller (2007) (pdf)

    Semantics, conceptual spaces and the meeting of minds M. Warglien & P. Gärdenfors (2005) (pdf)

    Probabilistic Topic Models Mark Steyvers; Tom Griffiths (2007) "Probabilistic Topic Models" In: T. Landauer, D McNamara, S. Dennis, and W. Kintsch (eds), Handbook of Latent Semantic Analysis, Psychology Press. (pdf)

    Additional suggestions on folksonomy:
    Vander Wal's blog post

    Shirky's blog post

  • Sessions 8: open session 2.

    Required reading:
    Description Logics as Ontology Languages for the Semantic Web Franz Baader, Ian Horrocks and Ulrike Sattler (pdf)

    Bootstrapping in a language of thought: a formal model of numerical concept learning. S. T. Piantadosi, J. B. Tenenbaum, and N. D. Goodman (to appear). Cognition. (pdf)

    Mining Knowledge from Large Corpora for Type Coercion in Question Answering James Fan, Aditya Kalyanpur, J. William Murdock and Branimir K. Boguraev (pdf)


The pdf of any slides will be made available here, but generally not until after the session.
  1. Introduction. Informal concept representation. (pdf of slides)
  2. Concepts in computer science.
    No slides. Semantic web links (provided by Theodosia):


    What is Freebase

  3. Concepts in logic and linguistics.
  4. Concepts in computational linguistics.
  5. Concepts in cognitive science and philosophy.
  6. Concepts in neuroscience.
  7. Open session 1.

    Ontology vs Folksonomy (Theodosia Togia)

    Semantics, conceptual spaces and the meeting of minds (Douwe Kiela)

    Probabilististic topic models (Phil Meredith)

  8. Open session 2.