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Stuart M. Shieber

Stuart M. Shieber is Harvard College Professor and James O. Welch, Jr. and Virginia B. Welch Professor of Computer Science, Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences, at Harvard University.

Titles by This Author

Parsing and Type Inference for Natural and Computer Languages

Constraint-based theories of grammar and grammar formalisms are becoming an increasingly widespread area of research in computational linguistics. Constraint-Based Grammar Formalisms provides the first rigorous mathematical and computational basis for this important area. It introduces new applications to both natural and computer languages and brings together Stuart Shieber's many contributions that have been at the core of developments ranging from the discovery of improved explanations of linguistic phenomena such as binding and coordination to the detailed mathematical analysis of constraint-solving and parsing in a variety of grammar formalisms.

This thorough examination of the theoretical and computational foundations of constraint-based grammars and applications to natural-language analysis is unique in several respects. Shieber's theoretical framework may be applied to a whole class of formalisms with properties that make it possible to define a general parsing algorithm for all members of the class, with results that provide essential guidance to the implementer of constraint-based language processing systems. Shieber also brings out new connections between grammatical categories and data types, and between constraint-based natural-language analysis and type inference in computer languages. These connections should be of increasing interest both to computational and theoretical linguists and to computer scientists.

Titles by This Editor

Verbal Behavior as the Hallmark of Intelligence

The Turing Test is part of the vocabulary of popular culture -- it has appeared in works ranging from the Broadway play "Breaking the Code" to the comic strip "Robotman." The writings collected by Stuart Shieber for this book examine the profound philosophical issues surrounding the Turing Test as a criterion for intelligence. Alan Turing's idea, originally expressed in a 1950 paper titled "Computing Machinery and Intelligence" and published in the journal Mind, proposed an "indistinguishability test" that compared artifact and person. Following Descartes's dictum that it is the ability to speak that distinguishes human from beast, Turing proposed to test whether machine and person were indistinguishable in regard to verbal ability. He was not, as is often assumed, answering the question "Can machines think?" but proposing a more concrete way to ask it. Turing's proposed thought experiment encapsulates the issues that the writings in The Turing Test define and discuss.The first section of the book contains writings by philosophical precursors, including Descartes, who first proposed the idea of indistinguishablity tests. The second section contains all of Turing's writings on the Turing Test, including not only the Mind paper but also less familiar ephemeral material. The final section opens with responses to Turing's paper published in Mind soon after it first appeared. The bulk of this section, however, consists of papers from a broad spectrum of scholars in the field that directly address the issue of the Turing Test as a test for intelligence. Contributors include John R. Searle, Ned Block, Daniel C. Dennett, and Noam Chomsky (in a previously unpublished paper). Each chapter is introduced by background material that can also be read as a self-contained essay on the Turing Test.