LINGUIST List 23.2599

Mon Jun 04 2012

Support: Computational Linguistics: PhD Student, University of Amsterdam

Editor for this issue: Brent Miller <>

Date: 04-Jun-2012
From: Willem Zuidema <>
Subject: Computational Linguistics: PhD Student, University of Amsterdam
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Department: Institute for Logic, Language & Computation Web Address:

Level: PhD

Duties: Research

Specialty Areas: Computational Linguistics [Other]

PhD Position on Modelling Artificial Language Learning

We offer

A fully-funded PhD position for four years, at the Institute for Logic, Language andComputation of the University of Amsterdam, under supervision of dr. WillemZuidema.


You will be one of three PhD students in a multidisciplinary team consisting ofbiologists, linguists and computer modellers. In the project, we investigate whichaspects of the cognitive abilities of humans underlying language are unique amonganimals. We adopt the artificial language learning paradigm and study bothexperimentally and theoretically similarities and differences in the patternrecognition and learning abilities of human infants, human adults and non-humananimals, in particular songbirds (zebra finches). Together, the three PhD-projectswill 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 mathematicalmodels of artificial language learning, and try to account for the experimental dataobtained by psychologists, linguists and biologists. Much of the data you will workwith will come from the two other PhD-projects -- involving experiments withzebrafinches and human infants -- that run parallel to yours. From the start you willalso 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 aninternational conference on the topic. The project should lead to a dissertation(PhD thesis) to be defended at the University of Amsterdam.


The candidate should have a degree in computational linguistics, artificialintelligence, cognitive science, computer science, mathematical psychology orequivalent, and strong computational skills combined with a real interest inexperimental data. You should preferably have experience in computationalmodelling of cognitive processes and/or Bayesian data modelling. You must beproficient in spoken and written English, have good communication skills and astrong interest in a scientific career.

Applications Deadline: 17-Jun-2012

Web Address for Applications:

Contact Information:         Willem Zuidema

Page Updated: 04-Jun-2012