Bill Thompson

Postal address:

Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Artificial Intelligence Lab
Pleinlaan 2
Building G, 10th floor
1050 Brussels

Room: 10G 725

I'm a postdoctoral researcher in the AI lab working on the ERC funded ABACUS project led by Prof. Bart de Boer. We're trying to grasp the computational and cognitive foundations of combinatorial structure in speech. 

More generally, I'm interested in the computational principles of human cognition and culture, and how these can explain extraordinary human behviours like langauge. My research draws on methods from machine learning, Bayesian statistics, evolutionary theory, linguistics, and experimental psychology. 

I am particularly interested in cultural transmission: the process of knowledge transfer between learners who learn from eachothers' behaviours. I use probabilistic models of cognition to study how these processes result in shared systems of structured conventional behaviour among populations. My working hypothesis is that cultural evolution has dramatically shaped the human mind to be good at learning from other human minds, and that this is the basis of human intelligence and uniqueness.