Colloquium Events

Colloquium: Quantum-like Contextuality and Ambiguity in Natural Language

1 June 2021. Tuesday. 3 PM. London Time. On Zoom.

Title Quantum-like Contextuality and Ambiguity in Natural Language

Speaker Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh, Department of Computer Science, University College London

Abstract Language is contextual as meanings of words are dependent on their contexts. Contextuality is,  concomitantly, a well-defined concept in quantum mechanics where it is considered a major resource for quantum computations. We investigate whether natural language exhibits any of the quantum mechanics’ contextual features. We show that meaning combinations in ambiguous phrases can be modelled in the Sheaf Theoretic framework for quantum contextuality, where they can become possibilistically contextual. Using the framework of Contextuality-by-Default (CbD),  we explore the probabilistic variants of these and show that CbD-contextuality is also possible. 
{Joint work with Daphne Wang (UCL), Victor Cervantes (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Samson Abramsky (Oxford)}

Bio I am a Reader in the PPLV group of UCL CS since Aug 2019.  Just before, from 2013,  I was based in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, Queen Mary University of London. Prior to this, I benefited from an EPSRC Post Doctoral fellowship, an EPSRC Career Acceleration fellowship and a Wolfson College Research fellowship while at University of Oxford.  I also held two Royal Academy of Engineering Industrial Scheme Fellowships 2017-2020. I mainly work on developing logical and mathematical models of natural language and vector/tensor space semantics for them and applying the results to academic and industrial datasets.

Zoom Link

Meeting ID: 668 413 8396

Passcode: mdx