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'Complexics-3' Seminar


Seminars for transdisciplinarity

The third seminar of the series Complexics, Complexics-3, was on Wednesday, 11th June 2014, at 18:00, in Sala de professors [Professors' room] of the Faculty of Philology, UB (Aribau, 2). This session was the following: 

El llenguatge natural com a cruïlla científica [Natural language as scientific crossroads]  (video)
  By Gemma Bel Enguix
  PhD in Linguistics by URV
  Marie Curie researcher at Aix Marseille University.

Gemma Bel Enguix, PhD in Linguistics by URV,  has had postdoctoral contracts with Milano-Bicocca and Georgetown Universities and she has worked as a Ramón y Cajal researcher at the URV. She is currently a Marie Curie researcher at the Aix Marseille University

Her research takes place in a common field among linguistics, biology and computer science, especially looking the application of bio-inspired models for the study of natural language. In recent years, this line has been reinforced by the consideration of natural language as a complex adaptive system. Gemma Bel Enguix has also edited books about the interaction among biology, computation and computer studies, such as:
  • Bel-Enguix, G., Dahl, V. & Jiménez-López, M.D., Eds. (2011), Biology, Computation and Linguistics: New Interdisciplinary paradigms. IOS Press. 
  • Bel-Enguix, G. & Jiménez-López, M.D., Eds. (2010), Language as a Complex System. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
 She has also published other articles about natural language, such as the following:
  • Bel-Enguix, G., Jiménez-López, M.D.. & Martín-Vide, C., Eds. (2008), New Developments in Formal Languages and Applications. Series Studies in Computational Intelligence, vol. 113, Berlin, Springer.
She has published many journal articles, usually related to mathematical aspects of language:
  • Barahona, P., Bel-Enguix, G., Dahl, V., Jiménez-López, M.D., Krippahl, L. (2013), Generation of Classification Trees from Variable Weighted Features, Natural Computing, March 2013 
  • Ferrer-i-Cancho, R., Forns, N., Hernández-Fernández, A., Bel-Enguix, G., Baixeries, J. (2012), The Challenges of Statistical Patterns of Language: The Case of Menzerath’s Law in Genomes, Complexity 18 (3): 11-17.

The seminar will explain how the study of natural language requires the collaboration of different sciences. Linguistics, as an area that deals with specifically natural language is, by definition, an interdisciplinary science. It will also be explained the two facts that have contributed fundamentally to the proliferation of critical interdisciplinary studies: on the one hand, the development of disciplines that have a clear transversal, such as computer and on the other, the understanding that many beings, which can be natural or artificial, may share characteristics that indicate a joint study.

Within this framework, natural language is an example of a polyhedral element that can not be addressed without coordinated participation of many fields of knowledge. These features have a direct impact on the way we conceive the study and scope, they open up new perspectives, and require a reformulation of the trends that had been so prominent today. Therefore, this seminar is set mainly in the new vision of the dichotomy synchrony / diachrony, the role of computer science beyond its role as a tool and the impact of bio-inspired models on theoretical linguistics.