LINGUIST List 24.2344

Fri Jun 07 2013

Jobs: Cog Sci; Comp Ling; Morphology: Post Doc, Northwestern University

Editor for this issue: Sarah Fox <>

Date: 06-Jun-2013
From: Janet Pierrehumbert <>
Subject: Cognitive Science; Computational Linguistics; Morphology: Post Doc, Northwestern University, Illinois, USA
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University or Organization: Northwestern University Department: Department of Linguistics Job Location: Illinois, USA Web Address:
Job Rank: Post Doc

Specialty Areas: Cognitive Science; Computational Linguistics; Morphology


Postdoctoral Fellowship: Northwestern University, Evanston IL

The Northwestern University Linguistics Department seeks an outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow to join the team working on the Wordovators project. This project uses computer word games and crowd-sourcing to investigate the fundamental mechanisms responsible for the complexity of the vocabularies of human languages. It explores the interaction of cognitive and social factors in the creation and adoption of new words, and evaluates the similarities and differences between lexical complexity and bio-complexity. The project is funded by the John Templeton Foundation, and is a collaboration with the New Zealand Institute of Language Brain and Behaviour at the Univ. of Canterbury.

The Postdoctoral Fellow will work on formalizing the mechanisms that create new words by modifying or recombining parts of existing words. He/She will develop and apply computational methods to predict the dynamics of words over time. Through mathematical analysis and Monte Carlo simulations, he/she will also assist in developing the payoff structures for the Wordovator computer games.

The successful applicant will have a Ph.D. in a relevant field, such as computational linguistics, informatics, applied mathematics, statistical physics, or evolutionary biology. Applicants with expertise in mathematical psychology, dynamical systems, game theory, machine learning, and/or experimental economics will be at an advantage. Strong programming skills are essential.

Negotiable start date in summer or fall 2013. Competitive salary scale comparable to postdoctoral positions in computer science. Initial appointment for one year with renewal subject to performance and availability of funding.

Applications for the position should include: A CV, a cover letter describing research interests and direction, contact information for 3 professional referees, and up 3 .pdfs of publications (if these are not downloadable from the web). Email these materials in a single .pdf to Janet Pierrehumbert at the contact email address below with the subject line "Wordovators Postdoc". Consideration of applicants is ongoing and will continue until the position is filled. Further information about the Wordovators project can be obtained from the project web site:, and by contacting Janet Pierrehumbert.

Northwestern is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and applications are encouraged from all qualified junior researchers. Hiring is contingent on eligibility to work in the United States. Non-US-residents will receive consideration for the position.

Application Deadline: (Open until filled)
Email Address for Applications: Contact Information:
Professor Janet Pierrehumbert Email:

Page Updated: 07-Jun-2013