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Support Announcement:

Level: PhD
Duty: Research
Linguistic Field: Computational Linguistics [Other]
Application Deadline: 17-Jun-2012
Supporting Institution: University of Amsterdam
Institute for Logic, Language & Computation
LL Issue: 23.2599
Posted: 04-Jun-2012
Support Description: PhD Position on Modelling Artificial Language Learning

We offer

A fully-funded PhD position for four years, at the Institute for Logic, Language and
Computation of the University of Amsterdam, under supervision of dr. Willem
Zuidema.

Tasks

You will be one of three PhD students in a multidisciplinary team consisting of
biologists, linguists and computer modellers. In the project, we investigate which
aspects of the cognitive abilities of humans underlying language are unique among
animals. We adopt the artificial language learning paradigm and study both
experimentally and theoretically similarities and differences in the pattern
recognition and learning abilities of human infants, human adults and non-human
animals, in particular songbirds (zebra finches). Together, the three PhD-projects
will test how factors such as perceptual biases, computational constraints,
memory limitations, etc. influence successful learning.

In this specific PhD-project you will develop computational and mathematical
models of artificial language learning, and try to account for the experimental data
obtained by psychologists, linguists and biologists. Much of the data you will work
with will come from the two other PhD-projects -- involving experiments with
zebrafinches and human infants -- that run parallel to yours. From the start you will
also be involved in helping to design these experiments, and in analysing the data.
Further tasks include writing articles on your findings and helping to organise an
international conference on the topic. The project should lead to a dissertation
(PhD thesis) to be defended at the University of Amsterdam.

Requirements

The candidate should have a degree in computational linguistics, artificial
intelligence, cognitive science, computer science, mathematical psychology or
equivalent, and strong computational skills combined with a real interest in
experimental data. You should preferably have experience in computational
modelling of cognitive processes and/or Bayesian data modelling. You must be
proficient in spoken and written English, have good communication skills and a
strong interest in a scientific career.
Application Web Address: http://www.illc.uva.nl/LaCo/segmentsrules/
Contact Information: Willem Zuidema
w.h.zuidema@uva.nl