News and Events: New Appointments

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Two new PhD students introduce themselves: Reut Tsarfaty and Fenrong Liu

Two new PhD students join the ILLC: Reut Tsarfaty and Fenrong Liu. They have written brief introductions of himself, which you can read below.

Reut Tsarfaty

Reut Tsarfaty
Room: P3.24
Phone: 525 5453

I was born in London UK to Israeli parents and grew up in Rishon Le-zion, Israel. At the age of 18 I was recruited to the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and served as an officer instructing combat units' soldiers in infantry professions. After completion of my army service I traveled in South America for 9 months.

Shortly after my return I embarked on my B.Sc. studies in `Information Systems Engineering' at the computer science department of the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.

During and after my undergraduate studies I was employed by Intel corporation as an `Information Systems developer' and later as a `Software engineer'.

On September 2003 I joined the `Master of Logic' program of the ILLC to further pursue Logic and Computation, with specific inclination towards Natural Language Processing (NLP).

My current research interests are theoretical and computational linguistics. I am interested in morphology, syntax, semantics and the interfaces between them. Currently I am concerned with the morphology-syntax and morphology-semantics interrelations in Semitic languages and in Modern Hebrew in particular.

In my master's thesis I am concerned with "An investigation of Aspect Semantics in Modern Hebrew", supervised by Prof. Michiel van Lambalgen. I start my PhD project on "Morphological and Syntactic Ambiguity Resolution for Modern Hebrew" under the supervision of Prof. Remko Scha and Dr. Khalil Simaan, supported by the NWO Mozaiek program.

Fenrong Liu

Fenrong Liu
Room: P3.21
Phone: 525 6054

Dear colleagues,

My name is Fenrong Liu, from China, and I have just begun my Ph.D studies at the ILLC. My interest has been in logic since my first university studies. What attracts me is how you can understand reasoning and other everyday activities with mathematical patterns. And what I liked about the Netherlands is how Dutch logicians study reasoning combined with social knowledge, games, and changes in the world. In conversation, people must know enough about each other to communicate, and Dutch systems of 'update logic' describe that. This intrigued me because it fits so much of the Chinese culture I grew up with.

Lots of things appeal to me. The dynamic approach reminds me of the "I Ching" (Book of Changes). Logical puzzles about knowledge are like the famous story of Chuangtse and Hueitse on a bridge discussing the happiness of fish. But most of all, I want to understand social behaviour by logical methods. A classical book from which my father read to me as a child is Sun Tzu's Art of War. It shows how acting with knowledge of oneself and others leads to success in war, and to better social life. Here is a quotation which fits the Amsterdam game project very well:

"Knowing the other and knowing oneself, In one hundred battles no danger. Not knowing the other and knowing oneself, One victory for one loss. Not knowing the other and not knowing oneself, In every battle certain defeat."

What can I contribute? In Beijing, I studied nonmonotonic logic in Artificial Intelligence, the reasoning that people use to solve practical problems in daily life. This is unlike mathematical puzzles where an update with new information never contradicts the old.

Nonmonotonic logics describe how to change one's mind and discard conjectures that turn out to clash with new information. In my recent Master of Logic thesis with the title 'Dynamic Variations: Update and Revision for Diverse Agents', I extended the logical systems for information update and belief revision, with a special focus on diversity of agents in games. I have just started a new project 'Logic, Games, and Social Behaviour' under supervision of Professor Johan van Benthem. I want to develop a new system for game analysis combining my Chinese experience with the new logics I learnt in Amsterdam, to understand intelligent and civilized social behaviour.

Last but not least, my office is P3.11 for the moment, but I will move to P.3.21 afterwards. Just drop in if you have some advice to give me, questions to discuss with me, joys to share with me. Given your participation, my life here at the ILLC promises to be a fantastic experience.

Please note that this newsitem has been archived, and may contain outdated information or links.