Institute for Logic, Language and Computation

News and Events

News and Events:
ILLC News and Events

These pages provide information about recent developments at or relevant to the ILLC (last update: 26 November 2015). Please let us know if you have material that you would like to be added to the news pages, by using the online submission form. For minor updates to existing entries you can also email the news administrators directly. English submissions strongly preferred.

Items which are new or have been updated within the last week are marked "(New)" or "(Updated)".

Headlines ILLC News

Headlines ILLC Events this week

General events may be found in the Upcoming Events section.


  • (New) PhD candidate in Machine Learning for Natural Language Inference / Semantic Parsing

    The Institute for Logic, Language & Computation (ILLC) at the University of Amsterdam is looking for a PhD candidate in the machine learning for semantic reasoning and semantic parsing, as part of Ivan Titov's NWO VIDI Project.

    Application deadline: 22 December 2015. For more information, see

  • ERC Starting Grants awarded to Floris Roelofsen and Ivan Titov

    The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded a Starting Grant to six researchers from the University of Amsterdam (UvA), including our own Dr Floris Roelofsen (for the project "QuModQu Quantification and Modality in the Realm of Questions") and Dr Ivan Titov (for the project "BROADSEM: Induction of Broad-Coverage Semantic Parsers"). Our PhD student Ivano Ciardelli has made important contributions to the QuModQu research proposal and will play a prominent role in the project as a postdoctoral researcher.

    A Starting Grant is a personal grant of about 1.5 million euros and provides research support to talented researchers for a period of five years.

    For more information, see

  • Remko Scha (1945-2015)

    The ILLC is deeply saddened to announce that on 9 November 2015 Remko Scha passed away. Remko was a professor of computational linguistics at the University of Amsterdam, and from the early nineties until his retirement in 2010 he was one of the leading researchers at the ILLC. During his distinguished career as computational linguist, Remko made significant contributions to the semantics of plurals, to the formal theory of discourse, to Data-Oriented Parsing, and various other areas. The Dutch computational linguistics community has lost one of its founders and the international community an influential researcher.

    Remko was born in Eindhoven in 1945 and graduated in physics in 1970 at the Technological University in the same city. His first job at Philips Natlab in 1970 brought him in contact with natural language processing in the context of the pioneering question-answering system PHLIQA. His PhD thesis on natural language questions and answers (University of Groningen, 1983) as well as his early paper on plurals in natural language are still necessary references for any work on the subject. They contain ideas and observations that are not yet properly absorbed in ongoing discussions. For example, few people can do the full range of readings observed for definite plurals. Many, in their attempts of dealing with cumulative readings introduced in Remko’s paper, break either the normal syntactic structure of the sentence or the principle of compositionality. And the deepest problem is perhaps how to deal with the unavoidable explosion of readings in a classical account of this kind.

    Remko's work on discourse semantics, then at BBN Laboratories in Cambridge Massachusetts, was an equally important contribution in which he developed a computational approach to discourse parsing within the Dynamic Discourse Model (with Livia Polanyi). In 1988 Remko accepted a full professorship in computational linguistics at the University of Amsterdam. There he developed, together with his students and colleagues, Data-Oriented Parsing as a major paradigm in natural language processing and machine translation. In the Data-Oriented Parsing framework, sentence processing does not operate with grammatical rules but with a corpus of previous language experiences. New sentences are processed by combining sub-analyses from previously analyzed sentences in the most probable way. This DOP approach was especially successful in dealing with the longstanding problems of ambiguity and robustness of language processing. The model was used in various concrete applications, leading to an impressively large number of funded projects, both in the Netherlands and abroad. DOP was also taken up by linguists and cognitive scientists, and Data-Oriented Parsing models were developed for LFG- and HPSG-annotated corpora. Looking back, it can be said that Data Oriented Parsing was at the forefront of the statistical revolution that has profoundly changed the field of computational linguistics.

    An enthusiastic and inspiring educator, Remko's legacy remains now at the ILLC as a flourishing and growing Language and Computation group working on a wide range of areas, many of which are within Remko’s original research agenda. Several of his former PhD students have become full professors themselves, including Rens Bod and Khalil Sima’an. Remko supervised and co-supervised over 28 PhD theses at the ILLC and elsewhere. During the few years after his retirement, Remko was ill and yet he continued pursuing his research interests at the ILLC with his usual enthusiasm. As emeritus professor he continued attending the seminars and invited talks, and met with the PhD students he co-supervised together with other faculty.

    Besides being a scholar, Remko was also a performing artist working on aleatoric music, algorithmic art, facial art and artificial body manipulation. In 1990, he founded the Institute of Artificial Art Amsterdam which became a breeding ground for algorithmic artists. Remko was active as a performer of installations, exhibitions, concerts, radio programmes and more. His concerts with The Machines, an automated guitar band where the strings of the guitars are played by electronically controlled fan motors, cables , drills and saws, were unforgettable. Remko effortlessly combined his artistic activities with his scientific and scholarly work, leading in 2003 to the Leonardo Award of Excellence for his article Electric Body Manipulation As Performance Art: A Historical Perspective (with Arthur Elsenaar).

    Remko was a most versatile researcher – he is vividly remembered and will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his partner Josien and his daughter Fatima.

ILLC Events this week

  • 26-28 November 2015, LogiCIC Workshop 2015 'Reasoning in social context'

    Location: Doelenzaal, University Library, Singel 425, Amsterdam

    Via this workshop, we are creating a forum to exchange ideas and explore new territory in which it is clear that logic can make a difference. We are particularly interested in the interplay between logic and the social sciences, i.e. both in studying complex social-epistemic scenarios as well as in the logical tools and techniques that can be used to model them. We approach the theme of this workhop from an interdisciplinary angle, and welcome any insights on to the topic coming from areas such as Logic, Game Theory, Belief Revision Theory, Formal Epistemology, Social Science, Cognitive Science and AI (multi-agent systems).

    For more information, see or contact p.rossel at

  • (Updated) 27 November 2015, Cool Logic, Omer Korat

    Speaker: Omer Korat (ILLC)
    Title: Challenges for a Theory of Plurality
    Date and time: Friday 27 November 2015, 17:30-18:30
    Location: Room F1.15, Science Park 107, Amsterdam

    Different predicates give rise to different entailment patterns, both distributive and collective. Some predicates are ambiguous between distributive and collective readings. To complicate things further, in some cases two arguments of a predicate may be interpreted distributively: such readings are affected not only by the predicate, but also by the argument.

    In this talk I present various entailment patterns which emerge as a result of properties of nominal expressions, and describe several attempts to derive these patterns in an algebraic (mereological) framework. Finally, I demonstrate where these analyses fail, and what may be a possible solution.

    For more information, see or contact coollogic.uva at

  • (New) 1 December 2015, Computational Linguistics Reading Group

    Date and time: Tuesday 1 December 2015, 16:00
    Location: Room F1.15, Science Park 107, Amsterdam

    Topic: Griffiths and Ghahramani (2015): Indian Buffet Process

    For more information and abstracts, see

  • (New) 2 December 2015, Algebra|Coalgebra Seminar, Johannes Marti and Riccardo Pinosio

    Speakers: Johannes Marti and Riccardo Pinosio
    Title: Duality for Non-monotonic Consequence Relations and Antimatroids
    Date and time: Wednesday 2 December 2015, 16:00-17:00
    Location: Room B0.204, Science Park 904, Amsterdam

    For more information, see

  • (New) 3 December 2015, Computational Linguistics Seminar, Grzegorz Chrupała

    Speaker: Grzegorz Chrupała (Tilburg)
    Date and time: Thursday 3 December 2015, 16:00
    Location: Room F1.15, Science Park 107, Amsterdam

    For more information and abstracts, see

  • (New) 3 December 2015, Computational Linguistics Seminar, Grzegorz Chrupala

    Speaker: Grzegorz Chrupala
    Title: Learning visually grounded linguistic representations
    Date and time: Thursday 3 December 2015, 16:00
    Location: ILLC Common Room, Science Park 107, Amsterdam

    For more information and abstracts, see or

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