Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Joys of Christmas Catching-up

Organizing meetings about the things you enjoy discussing is fun. Hearing the talks, putting up programs, coffee break discussions, are all extremely enjoyable. But to be a grown-up academic you also have to do the very boring stuff. Papers need to go to formal journals, and need to be checked and properly formatted and you must remember to chase-up your  reviewers and all the annoying boring stuff also must be done.

Especially if, like me you don't have students and young ones who might (with a bit of luck) get a kick out of doing it. Especially if you don't have a research grant that pays for some of expenses, things tends to get lost, webpages disappear, papers that you're sure had appeared, cannot be found, etc...

And Christmas is the time to do it, of course. But there aren't enough hours or days in the Christmas break, so you end up feeling that you didn't enjoy the season and you didn't do whatever you needed to do. Oh well. The best we can do is the best we can do.

I promise to try to update my personal webpages soon, but for the time being here, while I'm frantically trying to write the preface for IMLA 2011, here's a webpage  to work for IMLA (Intuitionistic Modal Logic and Applications- the future) to complete, with a bit of luck, in the next Christmas break.

Given the nice discussion initiated by Urs Schreiber in Google+ on Modalities and Modal Type Theory and Intuitionistic Modal Logic  as well as the request to present in BACAT my thoughts on the same, I now have too many ideas and leads that I should like to summarize, (or at least get a grip on) and add to the darned preface.

Here are my slides complaining about the dismal state of Constructive Modal Type Theory in 2013 and in 2014. And some blog posts (K for Kripke, IMLA 2013, IMLA 2011IMLA 2008IMLA 2005IMLA 2002, IMLA 1999, Why Constructive Modal Logics? ) on why I still think this is important.

Happy New Year everyone!

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


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Publishing Models

The world of scientific publishing is in turmoil. I don't know how the ACL manages to get all their papers online for free for everyone, but
I want to have the same happening in the other areas that I work.

Meanwhile I have to choose better the places where I will send my work.
In the small sample above, Springer got another 200 dollars and I haven't been able, yet, to share the USB memory sticks with my colleagues at Nuance.
(thinking about how to do it, though...)
I never been very strategic with where to send papers, a silly mistake to make all these years, time to put it right, I guess.
(Here's a blog post about it, don't agree with all he says, but some definitely makes sense, )

hmm, forgot to mention that I only went to two of these conferences:
the one in Nepal my collaborator Gerard de Melo (from Tsinghua University) presented the paper
Sense-Specific Implicative Commitments. and the PROPOR one, my collaborator Alexandre Rademaker
(from FGV and IBM/Research Rio) presented the paper
NomLex-PT: A Lexicon of Portuguese Nominalizations.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Happy Ada Lovelace Day 2014!

This year for Ada Lovelace Day an algebraic logician Helena Rasiowa, famous for the Rasiowa-Sikorski Lemma in Set Theory. I have wanted for a long time to buy her book with Sikorski "The Mathematics of Metamathematics, but I also would've liked to have An Algebraic Approach to Non-Classical Logics.

Anyways one can always read Melving Fitting's  tribute to her.

Monday, October 13, 2014

World domination Brain-style

As I was discussing in "A modest proposal for Portuguese"  we have so far two open-source lexical resources for Portuguese (OpenWordNet-PT and NomLex-PT) but I can see many different applications for these and many interesting ways of building from these in to new resources and systems.

Despite the lack of official funding our group  (Alexandre RademakerGerard de Melo, Livy Real, Claudia Freitas, Dario Oliveira, Suemi Higuchi, Fabricio Chalub) is growing and we even managed to finally get a paper in one of the most important conferences in Computational Linguistics in Brazil, PROPOR 2014 edition. This was about the use of corpora to improve NomLex-PT, the slides (presented by Alexandre) are here.

This last September, apart from our Workshop on Logics and Ontologies for Natural Languages, we've managed to have at least  three informal working meetings (one in the Livraria Argumento, one in FGV, after my talk and one in PUC with Dario, who's usually in Sao Paulo).

 Besides the FGV talk, I spoke both at PUC-Rio and at COPPE about our generic plan of world domination Brain-style... Jokes apart, I tried to describe how we can work in several fronts (building lexical resources, using these resources for information extraction, ontology building, reasoning with logic from text  and question answering,  amongst others..) in an informal, but tightly integrated collaboration.

I think it's working. This year we had some eight papers in total. Two at the Global WordNet Association meeting proceedings: one a progress report on OpenWordNet-PT, the other a description of how we created NomLex-PT from a translation of the original NomLex enriched with electronic dictionaries and manually verified. Then  one poster at LREC, explaining how we grew NomLex-PT  and then integrated it with OpenWorNet-PT. Then the PROPOR paper above which extends NomLex-PT with corpora information from the AC/DC collection. And two extra posters for the workshop TorPorEsp, one of the Verb Lexicon  of OpenWordNet-PT and one completing our stock of Portuguese nominalizations, this time using the Spanish lexicon AnCora-Nom.

Need to add to this list the paper on the application of the work on Portuguese lexical resources to our historical corpus, the Dictionary of Historic Brazilian Biographies, Fun Information Extraction from a Historical Dictionary and the work in English on the Implicative Lexicon (ImpLex) at CICling, Sense-Specific Implicative Commitments.

Finally there is the paper with Vivek Nigam on using term rewriting in Maude to reason with natural language representations, "Towards a Rewriting Framework for Textual Entailment". I gave a very short talk about it in Brasilia, at LSFA 2014, and a more leisurely on at COPPE, where after lunch Celina, Simone, Petrucio and I went to see this beautiful colonial church.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

MAA Profile

Yep, there are days that you feel that the work you do gets no recognition, no one pays any attention, and when they do, is simply to say it's rubbish.. So you might as well collect some pick-me-up posts, here and there, to remind yourself that each day is a different day.

This is one of these "pick-me-up posts": a while back the Mathematical Association of America (MAA)  asked me for a working profile, while I was still at PARC. Don't remember when this was done, but the picture is from 2004, the year Paola graduated. Given the way things disappear from the web, it seems sensible to take a picture and keep it for myself.

Natural Language and Computer Science (NLCS2) in Vienna

Some complain of too many tourists, too many "mozarts", too much gilding in Vienna. Personally I had a great time and enjoyed it very much.

It is true that it was difficult to see the talks you wanted in the Vienna Summer of Logic, as there were so many. It's true that in July the place is full of tourists and the many guys dressed as Mozart are a bit off putting, but we did have a great Workshop on Natural Language and Computer Science.

First it was fun that the phd student assigned by the central organization, Carol Blasio, to help out with machines, water, air conditioning, etc, happened to be a friend from Brazil. This was a good omen.

Then our workshop (organized by Larry Moss, Christian Retore' and myself) was full,  a few people decided not to come in, because there was no place to sit, or even stand. The discussions were good: I hate workshops where there are no questions and no dispute. The point of academic meetings is disagreeing, politely, so that everyone can improve their arguments. If there are no disagreements, then the organizers stood too much in their comfort zone and this was definitely not the case in our workshop.

We merged our workshop Second Workshop on Natural Language and Computer Science, which had many submissions, with the workshop on Natural Language Services for Reasoners.
This caused some problems with the program, as some people didn't realize that we had a full day of talks, assuming instead that there was a huge break, when the talks part of  NLSR were happening.
Even now, when trying to find a program of the workshop that shows what actually happened I have difficulties. Never mind, all's well that ends well.

I decided to write this post only now, as I was waiting for the technical report with the papers to be ready. Of course the technical report from the University of Coimbra (lovely place!) has been ready for a few weeks now, but other things intervened. Anyways before it gets too late I would like to thank Pedro Quaresma for producing the Technical Report and  my managers at Nuance for allowing me to organize meetings like this. (Shame we could not get all the papers that were presented into the volume ...)

This gives me an excuse to write another blog post with the program and some more comments later on.

Friday, October 3, 2014

FashionMall Semantics in Vienna

Luiz Carlos and I discussed a very intuitive semantics for Full Intuitionistic Linear Logic on our way back from Ilha Grande, last year. Then I sent an abstract of this intuitive semantics to the Logic Colloquium in Vienna, thinking that Luiz Carlos would give the talk. After all, the idea was his of explaining the "multiplicative or" of Linear Logic, called "par", in terms of buying protocols from a big department store. Since he couldn't make it (too many trips to Sweden) I ended up giving the talk. The slides are here.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Logics and Ontologies for Natural Language 2014

Last Monday was our workshop LogOnto2014, associated with FOIS 2014. It really worked well, as they say here, "Bombou mesmo". One of the best attended workshops (there were five workshops) and great discussions. Nicholas Asher, one of the keynote speakers of the conference FOIS, stayed for most of the workshop and made things lively. Laure Vieu, the FOIS 2014 general chair had to give a talk for her collaborator,  Alexandra Arapinis, as the AirFrance workers' strike made Alexandra one day late for the conference. I opened the workshop explaining that what we originally meant as a small gathering of our very disperse group, had snowballed into a fairly sizeable workshop. But I had no clue on how big it had really become. Very nice!

The building of the FGV in downtown Rio was also very nice, well-worth getting there early to see the "cidade" waking up.   My opening slides are here. Alexandre will upload all slides and papers in due course on the program page.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Formal Ontology Meets Industry

The acronym doesn't work too well in Portuguese: FOMI is how we say "hunger", in Rio.  And the word has all kinds of bad connotations, none of the good ones that it  can have in English. The meeting was small, but fun, and the conversation during, and after the talk, was lively.

I confess that presenting our small paper wasn't half as bad as I had imagined. Different communities, different styles. Here are my slides.

The last talk of the FOIS conference was very much connected, or so I thought. Interesting work from New Zealand, "Crowdsourcing Ontology Content and Curation: The Massive Ontology Interface,  Samuel Sarjant, Catherine Legg, Matt Stannett and Duncan Willcock", need to open USB drive and read it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Edwardian Proofs in Salvador

In Salvador I talk to Samuel (or perhaps more precisely he talks to me) about lots of things: set theory, the axiom of choice, topological spaces, topological systems and weakenings, nearly countable cardinals and how to show inequalities between them, dialectica categories of different shapes...

This time I gave a Dept Seminar on the Curry-Howard Correspondence and why I think more than simply computer scientists, mathematicians also should be interested in Edwardian proofs and Curry-Howard.

The slides are here, as the talk was a repeat from the one in Boulder, but I will confess that I am not happy with this talk, yet. Alas, I don't know how to make it better, yet.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Modest Proposal for Portuguese NLP (Four Years Later...)

Four years ago, in September 2010 I gave a three lectures course at EMAp, FGV, Rio de Janeiro, on what I thought one needed to do for a quick ramp up of Portuguese NLP. I had read (diagonally, of course) about many initiatives, I  tried to summarize trends and competencies. And I described the work I had done in the previous nine years at Xerox PARC on a similar project, for English and what it would take to reproduce it in Portuguese, with access to the English code base.

The slides were very preliminary, here are the first ones.

I had a great time, imagining what we could do, if we had lots of people and lots of money. It is always a good thing to give yourself free rein to imagine good outcomes. I should do more of it. Of course nothing good came out of it, in the appropriate timeframe, so I put the proposals in the backburner and got very cross with the verdict that the project was not realistic, that it was too ambitious...

Well, four years later, with no money and only the people that I managed to convince to work for fun, quite a few of the milestones envisaged are in place. This makes me proud.

The slides of a presentation at FGV after four years are here. I also tried to give a more comprehensive picture in a talk in the Dept of Informatica of PUC-Rio, slides here. This work is great fun and there are plenty of things to do, so I hope to get another post going soon with some of the further developments I would like to see.

Textual Entailment Proving LSFA 2014

The "ipe amarelo" was really in bloom in Brasilia for LSFA 2014. Had a great time with friends, old and recent ones.

Talk was too long, my bad. Slides here and the preliminary version of the paper is here.

I also gave a more leisurely presentation of this at COPPE in Rio. The slides are here. It was lovely to see old friends in the audience and to discuss with them this side of my work.

Now I wonder if we can do something much better for the ENTCS proceedings, but the deadline is quite soon and after this time in Brazil, I'm very tired and in need of a rest...

Women in Computing...

I am not big in outreach. I do care passionately for some causes (women in STEM, especially in logic is one of them) and I would love to be able to do more. But with lots of research going on, in different areas, and my pathological inability to organize myself, I find it hard and end up doing very little. Mostly only when people invite me, like for the conference Infinite Possibilities, which was really great.

So I was chuffed to be invited to be part of a roundtable on Women in Computing. Renata Wasserman invited me to the roundtable about Women in Computing that she organized as part of the celebration of 40 years of the Bacharelado em Ciencia da Computacao da USP.

I had some slides from Orna Kupferman that I knew I wanted to use, as  her "scissors diagram" is a powerful communication device. Then I asked my friends about stats from Brazil. Celina Figueiredo, Heloisa and Claudia Bauzer Medeiros, as well as Simone Martins, all had good slides and information. My own version was not as good as I wanted it to be, as I put it together in a great hurry. But altogether it was great fun meeting the "girls" and talking there. Here is a picture in the Happy Hour after the roundtable.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Digital Humanities? Sure, why not?

So we finally have a first paper written, submitted and accepted about work on the DHBB -- the Brazilian Dictionary of Historical Biographies.

This is going to be presented in Guaruja', pretty soon, in the Workshop on Digital Humanities. This was really fun work to do, analyzing the results of text processing with FreeLing
and thinking of ways of improving the information extraction that we could do. I prefer my original title for the work, but reviewers didn't like it, so it's now
As is to be expected named entities and their recognition play a main role in this project, as do time expressions recognition and multiword expressions. All interesting stuff.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Maude and Isabelle...

Together with Vivek Nigam I am working on proving textual entailment using the traditional rewriting system Maude.

This is an attempt to redo, with open source software, some of the work done in PARC using the Bridge system. What interests me most is the logic we (the PARC Natural Language Theory and Technology team) devised for this task, because the representations in this logic took several years for linguists to agree on. So Vivek and I are taking the short cut of 'assuming' a perfect NLP system. (even explaining what a perfect NLP system means is already kind of long and full of design choices.)

We have a short note, explaining the project, that is to appear in LFSA 2014 in Brasilia. The note builds up from papers describing TIL (Textual Inference Logic) such as A Basic Logic for Textual Inference, Textual Inference Logic: Take Two and Contexts for Quantification.
The note is called  Towards a Rewriting Framework for Textual Entailment.

What about Isabelle? Well, I've been trying to ask people if we could do a parallel implementation in Isabelle and I hope I have convinced Sara Kalvala to do it with me, yepiie!

( I am a member of the group a researchers at the Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI) the  Language and Natural Reasoning group, the picture is one of the workshops organized by the group, CSLI Workshop on Natural Logic, Proof Theory, and Computational Semantics, 2011)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

BACAT? yes!

My friend Vlad Patryshev organizes the Bay Area Categories And Types  meetup.  

This is a splendid idea, I think. It means people who like the idea of Category Theory and Type Theory can meet and discuss issues, without the pressure of publication and/or competition for spots. I'd love to go more often. I have so far given two talks at BACAT, as we call it.

The first was about partial compilers and dialectica spaces, work of  Mihai Budiu, Joel Galenson and Gordon Plotkin, available from Gordon's webpage.  My slides are here Partial Compilers and Dialectica Spaces. (at the talk I discovered that Mihai is actually the husband of an old friend from PARC days...)
The second talk was on even older work with Gavin Bierman, Nick Benton and Martin Hyland, that we never published properly, only in conferences like TLCA and CSL. This is on deriving a term calculus or a type theory for Intuitionistic Linear Logic, together with its categorical models. I find that the best version is still the technical report (Term Assignment for Intuitionistic Linear Logic) from Cambridge. My recent and over-simplified slides are here Linear Type Theory Revisited.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Whitehead's Lost Letter

Serendipity on the web or simply ADD of older people? I was trying to do something completely unrelated when I fell upon this very interesting link in the Library of the Congress (of 2011)
Symposium on Alfred North Whitehead Correspondence.
Now I feel like writing to the Library to get the transcript of the letter online. After all they say "The six-page letter was handwritten in 1936 by Whitehead to his former student and personal assistant, Henry S. Leonard. In the letter, Whitehead responds to and comments on an essay written by Leonard regarding the conflict between speculative philosophy and logical positivism. Whitehead comments on the relationship between philosophy and science, and also reveals his attitudes toward, and appraisals of, his collaborator Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein and the father of logical positivism, Rudolf Carnap."
Maybe the letter is online somewhere? Wish I knew.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The pleasure of open source tools

Joel showed me this great website
It is quite incredible what it can do in terms of calculating bi-grams, 3-grams etc for you.

I also was told by my friend Hema about the voices in the NeoSpeech Lab

NeoSpeech Text-to-Speech voices | Interactive TTS Demo | TTS SDK

Besides being amazingly realistic they can be used as a proof reading tool for your paper,
if you have the patience to paste it into their  sample box, paragraph by paragraph...

There is also the XLE  online that the Norwegians made available here INESS :: XLE-Web.

But my favourites are  the OpenMultiLingual WordNet Multilingual Wordnet 1.0

and the Portuguese corpus Corpus do Português. Go NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities)!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Chocolate Boxes

Looking  at noun-noun compounds in the representation language associated to TIL (Textual Inference Logic, described in Contexts for Quantification)  and trying to decide which modifications one should make to the Abstract Knowledge Representation(AKR) treatment, if any.

1. AKR takes the view that given a noun-noun compound (like 'chocolate box') there is a relation between the two nouns, which we don't know what it is, (only using language), so we leave it unspecified.

2. So  whether we want to talk about :
{a Brad Pitt movie}
{a Tarantino movie}
{a James Bond movie}
{a tv program}
{a tv show}
{a birth certificate}
{a chocolate box}

We want to say that the representation of the noun-noun compound should be something like:
role(nn_element, HEAD, MOD)
instantiable(HEAD, cxt)
instantiable(MOD, cxt)
where MOD is the modifier noun.

3. Certain noun-noun compounds are lexicalized by WordNet such as {birth_certificate} or {tv_show}, so they correspond to a single concept as far as WordNet is concerned.
Clearly the line between noun-noun compounds that should be lexicalized in any generic ontology and the ones that should not is a very fluid one. Many people complain that WordNet does not have all the nn-compounds it should and the literature on nn-compounds (but more generally in multi-word expressions) is huge.

4. AKR embraces ambiguity, so it says that sometimes a lexicalization is a good idea and sometimes it isn't. ( the chocolate box above is not merely a box containing chocolates, it is also a box made of chocolate...) Hence AKR produces two solutions for compounds that are lexicalized like {a birth certificate}

a birth certificate
% Choices:
[choice([A1,A2], 1)
Conceptual Structure:
Contextual Structure:

The representation  above has two solutions: we have one concept in the solution that says that {birth_certificate} is a single entity,  and two concepts in the more generic interpretation of birth certificate that says that there is a noun "birth" and a noun "certificate" and we don't know what exactly is the relationship between the two.

5.  It's clear that if I say  {a Tarantino movie} I want to have two concepts, one concept for `Tarantino' which someone else should be able to say is a movie director and two, a movie that  hopefully is vaguely associated with Tarantino. and again hopefully someone else will  decide which one is the relationship between the two concepts.

When nn-compounds are lexicalized (like birth-certificate or tv-show) then maybe there is only a single concept, but it seems that there should be a range, some expressions really a single concept, others very weak relation between the nouns and others between the extremes.

6. This is   more complicated for "media genres", as sometimes one of the nouns stands in for the compound: thus {a documentary movie} maybe  should be equivalent to {a documentary}, and if documentary is a genre that applies to other media (e.g. a radio documentary), how should the mapping be that makes documentary the same as documentary movie, but independent enough to produce a sensible mapping for {radio documentary}?

 It seems to me that, in principle the semantic mapping should produce for  any nn-compound a pair of concepts: the concepts associated to the  HEAD noun,  and MOD(ifier) noun and an {underspecified relation between these} concepts, that gets resolved. Either:

A. It  transforms the two concepts into a single one (if the concept is lexicalized), e.g  {a tv show} should produce simply the ontological concept  TVShow and not an ambiguity between the generic relation  between nouns
(role(nn_element,show-7,TV-4)) and the lexicalized concept

B. Or it produces the right relationship in the ontology between the concepts  if such exists

C. Or it produces a clear relation (Rel X) between the conepts, so that we know that we need to try to find out what this relation is.

This is to be contrasted to a noun phrase like an adjective-noun compound such a {a French actress} or {a hungry boy} that should always produce only one concept (the one for the HEAD noun) while the concept for the modifier, well, it just modifies the head.

Thus  the mapping to the ontology for a phrase like {a French actress} should always go to a concept
for actress, suitably modified by whatever meaning we think the adjective brings in.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Perils of Propaganda

The pictures don't do justice to Boulder's Flatirons. They're extremely impressive "live".

My Invited talk at  the North-American Meeting of the Association for Symbolic Logic in Boulder, CO wasn't recorded (no talks were recorded, mathematicians are usually low-tech).

So the propaganda will look even more 'jarring', perhaps in the slides.

But since I did work very hard, trying to convey what I think young logicians ought to know about mathematics in the 20th century, here (Edwardian Proofs as Futuristic Programs for Personal Assistants, Boulder, CO)  are the slides, warts and all.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Implicative Lexicon? Yes!

Gerard de Melo and I had a paper/poster in CICLing 2014, in Kathmandu, called 
This is about coding up some easy inferences in the lexicon, as in: if you say `Comcast admitted that the bill was incorrect', you necessarily commit yourself to the fact that `The bill was incorrect'.

Glad to see that some of the work is converging...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tasks of Proof Theory?

According to Buss in the Handbook of Proof Theory, the principal tasks of Proof Theory can be summarized as follows.
  • First, to formulate systems of logic and sets of axioms which are appropriate for formalizing mathematical proofs and to characterize what results of mathematics follow from certain axioms; or, in other words, to investigate the proof-theoretic strength of particular formal systems. 
  •  Second, to study the structure of formal proofs; for instance, to find normal forms for proofs and to establish syntactic facts about proofs. This is the study of proofs as objects of independent interest. 
  • Third, to study what kind of additional information can be extracted from proofs beyond the truth of the theorem being proved. In certain cases, proofs may contain computational or constructive information. 
  • Fourth, to study how best to construct formal proofs; e.g., what kinds of proofs can be efficiently generated by computers?
    Isn't this too restrictive? 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lead and Crime

(I have been looking for pictures of contradictions, so here is a nice one, as it's very ordinary.)

I've read this amazing article by Kevin Drum on how

America's Real Criminal Element

was lead a while back and this outlandish hypothesis has stayed with me ever since. It is surprising, the math appears solid, Drum seems to have done his homework properly.

Since a friend of a friend was discussing crime in Facebook, I pointed him to the article. He produced two skeptical links on the same subject. One by a blogger in the Discovery Magazine site and the other some off the cuff comments by Pinker. While the skeptical arguments are sensible, I think they're besides the point. As I said to Alberto, what I find most fascinating about the article is not exactly the correlation between lead levels and crime, but the following description from Drum:

Experts often suggest that crime resembles an epidemic. But what kind? Karl Smith, a professor of public economics and government at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, has a good rule of thumb for categorizing epidemics: If it spreads along lines of communication, he says, the cause is information. Think Bieber Fever. If it travels along major transportation routes, the cause is microbial. Think influenza. If it spreads out like a fan, the cause is an insect. Think malaria. But if it's everywhere, all at once—as both the rise of crime in the '60s and '70s and the fall of crime in the '90s seemed to be—the cause is a molecule.

A molecule? That sounds crazy. What molecule could be responsible for a steep and sudden decline in violent crime?

Whether the molecule of lead is really responsible or not for crime rates is much less important than whether the spread of stuff can be classified as Smith does above. It even makes feel like getting to grips with the probability theory necessary to have an educated opinion. oh well, another thing for the to-do pile. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Wow! the book is out!

Just got email from Christi, the nice Springer person, saying the book is OUT!!!

The link for the book

Advances in Natural Deduction

A Celebration of Dag Prawitz's Work (Series Trends in Logic, Vol. 39, Edited by Pereira, Luiz Carlos, Haeusler, Edward Hermann, de Paiva, Valeria) is functional.
The price is absurd, as usual and regrettable.
But at least our small  tribute to the great logician and philosopher Dag Prawitz is on print.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Global WordNet Conference 2014

 So I missed the chance of going to Tartu, Estonia for the Global WordNet conference, Jan 25-29, 2014. I'm told it was great!

But I did prepare slides, as sometimes it's useful to do so, before a meeting, to make sure that  all collaborators are on the same page. My slides weren't presented, Alexandre produced his own, but they represent my understanding of the work as of Jan 2014, so I reckon I should post them. If nothing else, later on I can see how wrong I was. Slides for Nominalizations and for Progress Report on OpenWN-PT.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Subtyping, oh subtyping, where art thou?...

I don't know how come I ended up skimming the following report Extending ML F with Higher-Order Types, as System F is nowadays very far from my worries.

 But I did. and this reminded me that I really should try to get my mind clear about what the issues are and how much progress has been made  in the subject of subtyping in System F since I did some very preliminary work on it in the context of the programming language Ponder, when working as an RA in Cambridge.

The report (Subtyping in Ponder) is available from the Computer Lab in Cambridge.

This reminds me, again, of how much I owe Michael Gordon.  And it feels good to be grateful. Btw I love Mike's favicon, will try to copy it sometime...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Angry that...

Angry that this paper The Dialectica Categories has been available from  for some 20 years and people insist on not reading it, even when they want to  discuss dialectica categories.

Why??!?? ...

is it because the book is AMS? because it's not in latex?

I know the writing is not sparkling, but come on people... if you want to talk about this stuff, you've got to read it!

Disagreement is fair; criticism is hard to deal with, but unavoidable. But ignoring it completely, this is simply NOT ON.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Workshops I am organizing this year

Workshop on Natural Language in Computer Science, Vienna Month of Logic, Austria, July 2014.

Workshop on Logics and Ontologies for Natural Language (LogOnto) 2014, associated to FOI2014, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil LogOnto 2014 - Workshop on Logics and Ontologies for Natural Language (LogOnto) - September 22, 2014

at least I'm getting my work to converge, I think..

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Me in YouTube?! oh my...

Larry Moss told me that my  'Introduction to Category Theory'  lectures (or Category Theory for Linguists)  are now on YouTube, uploaded by NASSLLI2012.
They're precisely at
I wish I had managed to do a better job of those....

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Is Category Theory Constructive?

When it rains in Rio, it rains...

Pretty picture of lightening in Rio, from the much abused Niteroi...

Unrelated to the rain, recently I have been sending friends the following article of Colin McLarty
after an original suggestion of Wes Phoa. Very interesting and very relevant, as I need to write a historical account of  Categorical Logic and don't know where to start.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

(Belated) Happy New Year!

We had a great time in Berlin, where the fireworks were spectacular. Very different from the ones in Rio in the beautiful picture, from Guido in Facebook.

In Rio they're big business organized by the City or the big hotels, who knows... while in Berlin, we saw families and groups of retirees putting out an incredible show that lasted more than 45 min with extremely impressive effects. But anyway the reason for the post is to add somewhere our new papers on OpenWordNet-PT for the Global WordNet Conference. One is progress report  and the other, the work with Livy Real on the integration of the nominalizations/deverbals into the OpenWN-PT.