Introduction to Cognitive Science

Week-by-week syllabus

Course details:

There will be 20 1-hour lecture slots in Semester 1 (beginning Friday 25th September, 2009). There will also be one tutorial per week. Tutorials will begin in Week 2 of the term. Details of the groups, times and places will be given at the lecture. The same details are available elsewhere at this website. Notice that the links below take you to the lecture notes

2009 Course outline:

The course examines a series of examples of particularly important and/or surprising topics or phenomena in cognition. It shows how these phenomena have been analyzed using a number of different research approaches. Certain common assumptions regarding computation, in its most abstract sense, make Cognitive Science a coherent field. The course focuses on human language processing and its relation to more primitive cognitive systems, particularly those used in planning action. Readings are given after each lecture description below. Readings marked * are required readings and will be examined, as will the content of the notes. The lecture topics will be as follows.

Week 1

I: Representing the world in the mind

Cognitive Science, rules and representations. We look at the general terrain of Cognitive Science, its scope and limits, and at the question of levels of description.

The case of Stereo Vision. Marr and Poggio's algorithm for stereopsis.h

Readings: *Marr, David (1977). Artificial Intelligence: a Personal View. Artificial Intelligence, 9, 37-48.
*Marr, David and Tomaso Poggio (1976). Cooperative Computation of Stereo Disparity Science, 194, 283-287.

Lecture notes I (PDF)
Tutorial notes for first tutorial (week 2)

Week 2

II: Representing the World Symbolically:

The case of Scene Analysis. Huffman/Clowes labeling, Waltz/Mackworth Algorithm (AC3), basis of Assignment 1.

Readings: Huffman, Donald (1971). Impossible Objects as Nonsense Sentences Machine Intelligence, 6, 295-324.

Lecture notes II (PDF)
Tutorial notes for second tutorial (week 3)

Assignment 1, due in class Oct 13th 2009:

The corrected version of the assignment handed out on 2nd Oct can be downloaded from here: (PDF)
Week 3

III: Representing Action in the World (Planning):

The Problem of Planning Action

Readings: *McCarthy and Hayes (1969). Some Philosophical Problems from the Standpoint of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Intelligence, 4, 473-502.
*Shanahan, M. (1997). Event Calculus Planning Revisited, Proceedings of the Workshop on Robots, Softbots, Immobots: Theories of Action, Planning, and Control, 96-104.

Lecture notes III (PDF)

IV: How Animals and Humans Make Plans:

Reactive and Dynamic Systems(Contd)

*Shanahan (2001). Using Reactive Rules to Guide a Forward-Chaining Planner, Proceedings of the European Conference on Planning.

Lecture notes IV (PDF)
Tutorial notes for third tutorial (week 4)

Week 4

V: Neural and Computational Substrate of Planning:

Neuroanatomical relations between planning, language, and cognitive development.

Readings: *Miller, Galanter, and Pribram (1960). Some Neurological Speculations, (from Plans and the Structure of Behavior, Henry Holt, New York).
Drescher (1991). Synopsis of Piagetian Development (from Made Up Minds, MIT Press Cambridge). *Rizzolati et al. 2002, Motor and Cognitive Finctions ..., Currrent Opinions in Neurobiology, 12, 149-154. *Sommerville et al. 2005, Action Experience Alters 3-month-old Infants' Perception ..., Cognition, 96, B1-B11.

Assignment 2, due in class Tues Oct. 27th 2009:

The assignment handed out on Oct 13th can be downloaded from here: (PDF)

Lecture notes V (PDF)
Tutorial notes for fourth tutorial (week 5)

Week 5

VI: Universal Grammar is Related to Planning:

Linguistic relations between planning and syntax

Readings: A Very Short Intro to CCG

Lecture notes VI (PDF)
Tutorial notes for fifth tutorial (week 6)

Week 6

VII: Semantics is Related to Planning:

Relations between planning and semantics

Readings: *Bach, E. 1986, The Algebra of Events, Linguistics and Philosophy, 9 249-262.

Assignment 3, due in class Nov 17th 2009:

The assignment handed out on Oct 27th can be downloaded from here: (PDF)

Lecture notes VII (PDF)
Tutorial notes for sixth tutorial (week 7)

Week 7

VIII: Discourse is Related to Planning:

Relations between planning and discourse

Readings: Power, R. 1979, The Organisation of Purposeful Dialogues, Linguistics, 17, 107-152.

Lecture notes VIII (PDF)
Tutorial notes for seventh tutorial (week 8)

Week 8

IX: Human and Computational NLP :

Wide coverage parsing and human language processing

Readings: *Altmann, G. 1998, Ambiguity in Sentence Processing, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 2, 146-152.
*Pereira, F., 2000, Formal Grammar and Information Theory: Together Again? Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc., 385, 1239-1253.

Lecture notes IX (PDF)
Tutorial notes for eighth tutorial (week 9)

Week 9

X:Child and Computational Language Development:

How children and programs acquire grammars

Readings: *Gopnik, A and Schulz, L., 2004, Mechanisms of Theory Formation in Children, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8, 371-377.
*Zettlemoyer, L and Collins, M., 2005, Learning to Map Sentences to Logical Form, Proc. Conf. on Uncertainty in AI.

Lecture notes X (PDF)
Tutorial notes for ninth tutorial (week 10)

Week 10

XI: Envoi: Is Computational Cognitive Science ``Complete''?

Summing Up.

Readings: *Turing, Alan (1950). Computing Machinery and Intelligence. Mind, 59, 433-460.
Searle, John (1990) Is the Brain's Mind a Computer? Scientific American, 262, 26-32.

Lecture notes XI (PDF)

September-November 2009

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