Trieste Encounters on Cognitive Science, Language Learning

Meeting room (7th floor) (SISSA main building)

Meeting room (7th floor)

SISSA main building

via Bonomea 265, 34136, Trieste, Italy
Alessandro Treves (SISSA), Davide Crepaldi (SISSA), Luca Piretti (SISSA)

The Trieste Encounters on Cognitive Science (TEX) are a yearly summer initiative by SISSA, aiming at bringing together scientists from all over the world at all levels of their careers to enjoy science, sunshine, food&wine and, ultimately, life. 

This year's edition will focus on language learning construed broadly enough to include the progressive mastering of: (i) a mother tongue as a child; (ii) a second or artificial language as an adult; and (iii) specific cognitive mechanisms for facing language input more efficiently (e.g., chunking), as in artificial networks. We strive to put together different perspectives -- neuroscience, linguistic theory, cognitive psychology and computational modelling -- so as to promote the cross–breeding that language science desperately needs. We are also trying to open up our perspectives and look for ideas/concepts/data coming from outside language, which still may point to general learning mechanisms that may also apply to some linguistic phenomena.

The TEX2016 philosophy is focusing on open issues, rather than celebrating achievements. Despite the progress that we have made as a field in the last 50 years, we are clearly still far away from any mechanistic understanding of how our brain/mind expresses such a wonderful capacity as language. We want to recognize our failures in the past, look straight to the most important unanswered questions out there, and join our efforts to find new ways of tackling them. For this, we need both a solid recap of the knowledge we have accumulated over the years, and a look forward to the most promising new approaches and theories.     

In line with this philosophy, TEX2016 wants to be a combination between a summer school (i.e., we will cover the fundamentals so as to address students approaching the field) and a symposium (i.e., we will explore the frontiers of knowledge and discuss open issues in the field). Accordingly, we have invited scholars to serve as teachers (see below) -- they will offer classes on the established concepts and body of evidence in their own specialty; but we also issue an open call for research talks, so that participants will be exposed to cutting-edge pieces of research, and hopefully cut some edge themselves. We count on a diversity of participants of varying seniority and background to self-organize and find the best way to interact and maximize their contribution to - and benefit from - the event. You can apply as a student or register as a participant by clicking on Registration on the left; and you can contribute an abstract by clicking on Call for Abstracts, again on the left.  

The details of the program will be defined based on the response to the open call; but the idea is to have classes on fundamentals in the mornings and research talks in the afternoons, with plenty of time remaining for social (or asocial) activities.

TEX2016 will take place between Thursday July 7 and Friday July 15, 2016. It will be held at SISSA main campus, via Bonomea 265, Trieste. Information on how to reach us can be found here.

TEX2016 will feature Alex Cristia (Paris), Colin Davis (Bristol), Edmund Rolls (Warwick), Gareth Gaskell (York), Kathy Rastle (Royal Holloway, London), Max Louwerse (Tilburg), Na'ama Friedmann (Tel Aviv), Pino Longobardi (York), Scott Johnson (UCLA), and Vito Pirrelli (Pisa). Tim Shallice, the founding father of cognitive science at SISSA (and perhaps more widely), will also join us as a discussant. Yann LeCun (New York Univerisity and chief of AI research at Facebook) will give us the closing lecture.

We look forward to meeting you in Trieste!

Davide Crepaldi, Alessandro Treves, and the TEX2016 team