CS101: Mathematical and Computational Linguistics

Winter 2015: the class will meet Tuesday-Thursday 10:30-11:55 in Room 107 ANB (the Annenberg building)

Instructor: Matilde Marcolli

There will be three TAs for the class: Vinny Augustine, Shival Dasu, and Vibhor Kumar

(Darren Waterston, "Linguistics", oil on wood, 2002)

Brief Course Description

The class will cover mathematical and computational models of acquisition and evolution of natural languages. We will discuss learnability questions, Markov chain models, population dynamics models, evolutionary behavior, communicative efficiency and fitness, We will focus in particular on the Principles and Parameters model of linguistics and we will discuss the use of mathematical methods, involving algebraic geometry, topology, and statistical physics, to describe the evolution of natural languages. Specific examples from historical linguistics will be revisited from a mathematical and computational perspective.


Additional references and reading materials

Additional references to papers will be added as the class progresses

Lectures Outlines

A brief outline of the lectures will be added here:


Slides will be posted here as the class progresses

Additional Reading Material: Papers

Models of Syntax Language change and evolution Phylogenetic Trees Wave Theory of Language Change: Phonology: Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar Lexical Functional Grammar Semantics Entropy and Complexity Formal Languages Other Topics

Research Projects

Seminar Information

The seminar accompanying the class will take place on Thursday afternoon in the same room ANB 107. The room is available from 3:30 to 5:00 pm. The seminars will run either 3:30-4:30 or 4:00-5:00 (the variable schedule is meant to accommodate conflicts of timing for some of the participants). Seminars will be listed below: check here for speakers and timing.

Grading policy

A grade for the class will be assigned on the basis of attendance and participation in class and the completion of the following tasks according to the students preference:

Miscellaneous Links