Sunday, December 14, 2014

D for Dummett

Because of an interesting conversation on modal logic started by Urs Schreiber in google+, I have been re-reading Dummett's "The Elements of Intuitionism".

Trying to find it in the web (I particularly wanted to read his discussion on the distribution laws between  quantifiers and conjunctions/disjunctions) I found instead this most excellent review of the book, by  Sundholm. And another, less favourable, review (of the second edition) by Woleński.

I have not found what I wanted, neither have I advanced much on my attempt at understanding Dummett's lessons. But as usual when I open that book, I learn a little more. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Temporality in Natural Logic

Interstellar is a movie that grew on me. I left the theater annoyed with a few things, in particular this stupid idea that we can all get up and go, live in Saturn in torii where the sky is crops. Healthy crops.
But there is much to love about the movie too, especially the fact that the biggest hero of the story is a woman who solves mathematical problems! this is great!

But yeah the blog post is not about the time puzzles of the movie, after all, any sci-fi has to have a few "temporal knots", but it's about simple, linear time and how to model it. So first here's Dick's old lecture notes on temporality Temporality in Natural Logic. This is/was supposed to be read together with Mark Steedman's The Productions of Time, whose title comes from one of the Blake's  Proverbs of Hell. Hard to get any more poetic than this.

Then, hoping against hope that temporal knots may indeed work for us, instead of against us, here is Dick's submission (Transfer Semantics for the Clear Parser) to NLCS'14 in Vienna.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


There is something rather pleasing about the fact that I forgot completely that my special issue of LiLT (Linguistic Issues in Language Technology)
edited with Annie Zaenen and Cleo Condovadi
Perspectives on Semantic Representations for Textual Inference
had appeared and only "discovered" it by reading the work's internal facebook.


I am working too hard and not moving forward, it seems.
Hopefully things will improve.
The "New Yorker" 404 cartoon seems apt.
If you haven't heard about it Linguistic Issues in Language Technology (LiLT) is an open-access journal that focuses on the relationships between linguistic insights and language technology.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Math Quotes to remember

I wish I had thought this one:
I do mathematics to see the invisible. 

To exist (in mathematics), said Henri Poincaré, is to be free from contradiction.
(Gower's in 2000 The Importance of Mathematics)

  Atiyah apparently said: "Algebra is the offer made by the devil to the mathematician. The devil says: I will give you this powerful machine, it will answer any question you like. All you need to do is give me your soul: give up geometry and you will have this marvelous machine."
  Weyl said: "In these days the angel of topology and the devil of abstract algebra fight for the soul of each individual mathematical domain." (source Don Piponi in G+)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

K for Kripke

I met Saul Kripke only once, when we were invited speakers at  the first Unilog in 2005. Jean-Yves Beziau organized for Mike Dunn and myself to go to the airport with Kripke. In the check-in desk in Geneva, Kripke was the first person I have ever heard of to truly answer the question: Have you been given anything here?  To which he replied that he had been given two books in his honor. Of course this stopped all the check-ins in the airport, as someone was sent down to retrieve his suitacase from the rolling conveyor so that authorities could check that there were indeed two books in his honor and nothing else...

But I digress. There is a very interesting and long discussion going on in Google+ about "necessity and possibility".  I plan to spend some of the weekend reading it properly.

But the reason for this post is that yesterday we had BACAT and I talked about constructive modal logics, once again. I  tried to discuss three old papers:

On an Intuitionistic Modal Logic (with Bierman, Studia Logica 2000)
Computational Types from a LogicalPerspective (with Benton, Bierman, JFP 1998)
Basic Constructive Modal Logic. (with Ritter, Logic without Frontiers: Festschrift for Walter Carnielli, 2011)
 The conversation was good, we talked a little about applications to security and to FRP (Functional Reactive Programming) which I need to know more about. 

A quote from Russell, that starts the excellent history of Modal Logic, written by Rob Goldblatt,
Mathematical Modal Logic: a view of its evaluation.

...there is no one fundamental logical notion of necessity, nor consequently of possibility. If this  conclusion is valid, the subject of modality ought to be banished from logic, since propositions are simply true or false...

Slides from the talk are here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

DannyFest 2008

Today I was reminded that we (Cleo and I) have not, yet, lived up to our promise of editing a special volume for Danny.

We had the Festschrift DannyFest at PARC in 2008 The videos of the talks are in the blog there, as are the pictures in flckr. But there is no volume, yet. And we should try to make good on that.

As soon as I manage to get IMLA 2011 done, this will be the new project.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Wow!!! Google Translate is using our work!

So cool. I was reading this paper about how to create a logical ontology associated to a lexical ontology
and what did I discover? That our work on a Portuguese WordNet is used by Google Translate!
Check it out Inside Google Translate – Google Translate and you'll see the