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Paul Smolensky

Paul Smolensky is Professor of Cognitive Science at Johns Hopkins University. He was a leading member of the PDP connectionist research group, and is the recipient of the 2005 David E. Rumelhart Prize in Cognitive Science, which is awarded annually to an individual or collaborative team making a significant contribution to the formal analysis of human cognition.

Titles by This Author

From Neural Computation to Optimality-Theoretic Grammar Volume I: Cognitive Architecture
From Neural Computation to Optimality-Theoretic Grammar Volume II: Linguistic and Philosophical Implications

Despite their apparently divergent accounts of higher cognition, cognitive theories based on neural computation and those employing symbolic computation can in fact strengthen one another. To substantiate this controversial claim, this landmark work develops in depth a cognitive architecture based in neural computation but supporting formally explicit higher-level symbolic descriptions, including new grammar formalisms.

Highlighting the close relationship between linguistic explanation and learnability, Bruce Tesar and Paul Smolensky examine the implications of Optimality Theory (OT) for language learnability. They show how the core principles of OT lead to the learning principle of constraint demotion, the basis for a family of algorithms that infer constraint rankings from linguistic forms.