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Level: PhD
Duty: Research
Linguistic Field: Computational Linguistics
Cognitive Science [Other]
Application Deadline: 01-Jun-2012
Supporting Institution: University of Trento
Center for Mind/Brain Sciences
LL Issue: 23.1689
Posted: 02-Apr-2012

Three PhD positions/studentships to study compositionality in distributional
semantics are available in the Language, Interaction and Computation track of
the 3-year PhD program offered by the Center for Mind/Brain Sciences at the
University of Trento (Italy)(

The PhD program (start date: November 2012) is taught in English by an
international faculty. The Language, Interaction & Computation track is
organized by the CIMeC-CLIC laboratory, an interdisciplinary group of
researchers studying language and conceptualization using both computational and
cognitive methods (

The studentships are funded by a 5-year European Research Council Starting Grant
awarded to the COMPOSES (COMPositional Operations in SEmantic SPACE) project
(, that aims at modeling composition in
distributional semantics. The project is expected to have strong impact on both
theoretical and computational semantics, as well as their cognitive underpinnings.

* Desired Profiles *

Given the interdisciplinary nature of the project, we seek brilliant students
with any of the following backgrounds:

- Machine learning (areas of special interest: regression,
regularization methods, hierarchical regression, autoencoders,
curriculum learning, scaling machine learning to large multivariate
and multi-level problems, dealing with very sparse data);

- Psycholinguistics, experimental linguistics or cognitive science
(areas of special interest: systematic judgment elicitation methods
such as Likert scales or magnitude estimation, crowdsourcing,
semantic processing);

- Formal and/or computational semantics (areas of special interest:
Montague Grammar and its derivatives, distributional semantics)

Advanced programming and mathematical skills are required of candidates from
machine learning. For linguists and cognitive scientists, programming skills and
knowledge of statistics are a big plus. If you think that your background is
relevant to the research program outlined on the project website
( and you have good programming and quantitative
skills, please do get in touch even if you do not fit any of the profiles above.

All prospective students are expected to have an interest in working in an
interdisciplinary environment.

* The Research Environment *

The CLIC lab ( is a unit of the University of Trento's
Center for Mind/Brain Sciences (CIMeC,, an
English-speaking, interdisciplinary center for research on brain and cognition
whose staff includes neuroscientists, psychologists, (computational) linguists,
computer scientists and physicists.

* Application Information *

The official call of the Doctoral School in Cognitive and Brain Sciences will be
announced shortly, and application details will be available on the page:

We strongly encourage a preliminary expression of interest in the project.
Please contact Marco Baroni (marco.baroni Linguist List, attaching a CV in pdf or
txt format, or a link to an online CV. For information about the application
process, please contact the school administrator (phd.cimec Linguist List
Application Mailing Address: Roberto Zamparelli
Doctoral School in Cognitive and Brain Sciences
Corso Bettini, 31
Rovereto 38068
Application Web Address: cognitive-and-brain-sciences
Contact Information: Marco Baroni
Phone:+39 0464 808617
Fax:+39 0464 808690