COGS 501
Mathematical Foundations
for the Study of Language and Communication

Fall 2011
Instructors: Mark Liberman and Stephen Isard

Time: Mo 4:00-5:30 / We 9:30-11:00
Place: IGERT Lab, Institute for Research in Cognitive Science,
3401 Walnut St., Suite 400A
Course description:

See the schedule for details and links to lecture notes, outside readings and problem sets.

COGS501 (cross-listed as LING545 and PSYCH501) is the first semester of a two-semester sequence, "Mathematical Foundations of Language and Communication Sciences". The second semester, COGS502, will be given in the spring.

Developed as part of the NSF-sponsored IGERT ("Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training") program at IRCS, it's required for students with IGERT fellowships, but is open to everyone.

The content of COGS501 can half-humorously be described as "the semantics of matrix multiplication" -- it will cover a review of linear algebra, basic probability and statistics, and applications in linguistics, psychology and other IRCS-relevant fields.

Its structure will be a three-legged stool: lectures on the basic mathematical concepts and methods; programming exercises in Matlab; and discussions of both classic and recent papers that use the concepts and methods in question.

No particular mathematical background is required -- because the class will be small, we aim to structure the material so as to be accessible to those with less background, but still challenging and interesting for those with more.


The syllabus, including links to lecture notes and homework assignments, can be found here.