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Cognitive Studies

The Computer Science Department plays a major role in the University's Cognitive Studies Program. The year-long Cognitive Studies Proseminar (COGST 773/4; CS 773/4) traditionally begins with an introduction to the computational aspects of cognitive science. In Fall 1997, five CS faculty and researchers (Claire Cardie, Joseph Halpern, Lillian Lee, Mandar Mitra, Bart Selman) provided lectures to introduce the theoretical and methodological issues that underlie computer science and that link computer science with linguistics, philosophy, and psychology.

Halpern is co-director of the program, along with Barbara Lust from Human Development. Ramin Zabih was on the Cognitive Studies Undergraduate Committee and was replaced by Selman in March; Cardie runs the NSF-sponsored Graduate Research Training Program in Cognitive Science. Each year, this program supports approximately 5 PhD students who plan to pursue interdisciplinary research problems that connect CS with other disciplines in Cognitive Studies.

Graduate student interest in the field remains strong. Kiri Wagstaff presented a paper in the 1997-1998 Proseminar, (six undergraduate CS majors also attended the Proseminar and wrote a final paper.) Two CS PhD students (David Pierce and Nicholas Howe) had abstracts selected for presentation at the Annual Cognitive Studies Graduate Student Research Forum held on November 1, 1997. In addition Rick Aaron was the organizer of the First Annual Northeast Cognitive Science Society Graduate Conference, held at Cornell in May.