I work in Computational Linguistics, a research area that belongs to both Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science. My main areas of expertise are Computational Semantics and especially Natural Language Generation. I've long taken an interest in logical and philosophical issues arising from this work; more recently I've collaborated with psycholinguists interested in algorithmic models of human language production. I'm a member of Aberdeen's CLAN (Computational Linguistics in AberdeeN) group, also known as Aberdeen's Natural Language Generation group.
Some of my teaching is related to Natural Language Generation; more of my courses focus on topics in discrete mathematics that are relevant for students in Computing Science. My research centers around computational models of human communication, and around applications of these models to practical problems (e.g., using computers to explain "big data" in human language). One of my specific research interests is the computational generation of referring expressions. I am intrigued by situations in which communication is or appears to be flawed, as when we use expressions that are ambiguous or vague. Most recently I am starting to look at ambiguity and vagueness in Mandarin, and I am looking for people who can collaborate with me on research in this area.
These three topics are also the central issues in my books. Ambiguity was the topic of the collection "Semantic Ambiguity and Underspecification" (CSLI Publications 1996, see review in Computational Linguistics). Vagueness is the focus of my book "Not Exactly: in Praise of Vagueness" (Oxford University Press 2010), which aims to reach people outside academia as well as within. My most recent book, on Referring Expressions, is Computational Models of Referring: a Study in Cognitive Science. For background, see this book page.
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