This summer school centers on agent-based models of creativity, focusing on the domains of language and music. Musical creativity underlies musical composition, Jazz improvisation, musical performance, and active listening. Language creativity occurs whenever speakers go beyond canned phrases to express new meaning in novel ways and whenever hearers need to flexibly apply their linguistic knowledge and extend the conventions of their language to make sense of an utterance. The historical evolution of human languages shows us the cumulative effect of the many creative innovations that speakers and hearers have introduced and shared. Music and language rely on similar cognitive skills: auditory perception and very precise motor control, fast syntactic parsing and production, semantic processing, and interaction in dialog or collective performance. There is a consensus that music and language originated together in our human species and that they use similar neuronal structures.

Agent-based models are a powerful way to scientifically understand the computational basis of the enormously complex processes required for music and language. Moreover, once we have agent-based models, we can study systematically and precisely what kind of phenomena emerge at a collective level. For example, agent-based models allow us to ‘bring back to life’ older stages of a language and investigate what mechanisms and factors explain attested historical linguistic developments.

The school is intended for postdocs, lecturers and predocs with a background in computer science (artificial intelligence) or computational linguistics (corpus linguistics or natural language processing) and a strong interest in music and the origins of language. There will be background lectures that introduce concepts from biology, anthropology, psychology, music theory and linguistics that are helpful to understand the nature of creativity, the role and intimate relations between language and music, and the mechanisms underlying cultural evolution. It contains technical lectures on the fundamental computational components required for language processing and technical ateliers to learn how to set up evolutionary linguistics experiments. Participants have the opportunity to present their latest research in a poster session. The school also features artistic ateliers in which participants create new creative works and engage in performance.

The Cortona Summerschool promises to be an incredibly exciting event, taking place in the setting of the medieval town of Cortona (halfway between Rome and Firenze) in a monastery and Palazzone overlooking the hills and valleys of Tuscany.

Enquiries: cortona2013@ai.vub.ac.be
Cost: Includes registration, full board and accomodation (740 eu in shared room and 920 eu in single room)
Registration closes: 1 september. Decision for registration are made on a first come first served basis so please register as soon as possible. 

Two additional scholarships are available donated by ALDEBARAN.  Application for these scholarships closes 15 august. 

Previous schools. This summer school continues the tradition set by earlier schools on Embodied Language Games and Construction Grammar in Cortona (2009) and on Erice (2007). To get an idea of the setting and organization of the summer school, you can have a look at the pictures of the last edition here.

Organisation.  The school is organised by the Evolutionary Linguistics Association located at the AI Laboratory of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The school director is prof. Luc STEELS and Ellen Geerts is the administrative manager.