Understanding Language By Machines: five years of research funded by NWO-Spinoza-Vossen (plus renewed website)


After five years of my Spinoza projectUnderstanding-Language-By-Machines, I am very pleased to inform you that today the first of 6 PhD’s is going to defend his thesis, entitled: “The meaning of word-sense-disambiguation research”, by Marten Postma. A fascinating report that reflects on more than 15 years of research to understand the meaning of language. As Marten clearly explained: it has still not been solved but we are starting to understand the problem and new ways of solving it. I am also proud that he will continue working as a PostDoc at my CLTL-labon the new NWO-project “Framing Situations in the Dutch Language


I am also very proud to present the renewed website http://understandinglanguagebymachines.org.

It explains three key notions of our research: identity, reference and perspective of language understanding.

What are the things in the world, what words and expressions in our language can refer to these and from what perspective do we choose to make reference in particular way? What makes this challenging is the massive ambiguity and variation in language which not even big data models can handle.

Four different projects have addressed these problems in the last five years:

Recently, a fifth project started in which all aspects come together in the physical embodiment of a robot called Leolani. Understanding the world and being able to talk about it with humans is a real challenge for robots:

Check our websites to find out about the next PhD’s in this year and our new research results: