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Stanford Symbolic Systems Forum

Margaret Jacks Hall 460-126
Stanford, CA 94305 United States


The Symbolic Systems Program (SSP) at Stanford University focuses on computers and minds: artificial and natural systems that use symbols to represent information. SSP brings together students and faculty interested in different aspects of the human-computer relationship, including…

  • cognitive science: studying human intelligence, natural languages, and the brain as computational processes;
  • artificial intelligence: endowing computers with human-like behavior and understanding; and
  • human-computer interaction: designing computer software and interfaces that work well with human users.

Symbolic Systems Forums are held on Thursdays at 4:15 PM in 380-380C (Math Corner) during school terms.  Most are open to the general public.

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April 2018

Overinformativeness? Rationally Redundant Reference

April 23 @ 12:30 pm - 1:20 pm
Stanford Symbolic Systems Forum, Margaret Jacks Hall 460-126
Stanford, CA 94305 United States
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Referring is one of the most basic and prevalent uses of language. How do speakers choose from the wealth of referring expressions at their disposal?Rational theories of language use have come under attack for decades for not being able to account for the seemingly irrational overinformativeness ubiquitous in referring expressions. I present a novel production model of referring expressions within the Rational Speech Act framework that treats speakers as agents that soft-optimally trade off cost and informativeness of utterances. Crucially,…

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