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Flow Machines Workshop 2014: Creativity and Universality in Language

The Flow Machines team organizes a workshop about creativity and universality in language.

This workshop will gather prominent specialists in mathematical physics, linguistics and computer science. During 2.5 days we will seek for possible convergence between different viewpoints on the study of universal features in language.

WHEN: 18-20 June 2014

WHERECentral Tower, Last Floor, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, 4 place Jussieu 75252 - Paris 

WHAT:  How can we characterize originality and innovation in authors, composers, or performers ? How can we reveal universal features of language? The aim of this workshop is to address these questions by confronting different quantitative approaches to characterize originality and universality in language. Many methods have been developed recently with great success to address the traditional problems of authorship attribution and document classification. These results provide insights on how to quantify the unique features of authors, composers, and styles. Such features contrast, and are restricted by, universal signatures, such as scaling laws in word-frequency distribution, entropy measures, long-range correlations, among others. This interplay between innovation and universality is also an essential ingredient of methods for automatic text generation. On a social scale, innovations in language become relevant when they are imitated and spread to other speakers.  Modern digital databases provide new opportunities to characterize and model the creation and evolution of linguistic innovations on historical time scales, a particularly important instance of the general problem of spreading of innovations in complex social systems. This multidisciplinary workshop will combine scientists from different backgrounds interested in quantitative analysis of variations (synchronic and diachronic) in language. The aim is to obtain a deeper understanding of how originality emerges, can be quantified, and propagates.