Workshop “Language preservation and agent-based computer simulations”

March 25 @ 14:00 - 17:00
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How can AI techniques be used to help language preservation and documentation efforts? In this half-day virtual event, language researchers from the VUB AI lab will provide an introduction to how agent-based computer simulations can support field linguists and development organizations. Agent-based models can be used to simulate the factors that endanger languages, and evaluate possible measures that can be taken before implementing policies in real life.

This online event has taken place on Thursday 25 March 2021. The slides of the workshop can be downloaded here.



    • Theory about agent-based models
      • Introduction by prof. Bart de Boer
      • Explanation of what agent-based models are and how they can be used
      • Introduction to the software that can be used to implement these models.
    • Four case studies to showcase agent-based modeling for language documentation and preservation
      • Katie Mudd will discuss her research about the persistence of Kata Kolok, a sign language which emerged six generations ago in the north of Bali, demonstrating how to study the factors that contribute to language persistence in a completed agent-based model.
      • Three interactive case studies from participants (e.g. steps to prevent language extinction of Hadza in Tanzania). With the participants who have proposed the case studies, we will map the potential factors contributing to and against language preservation and draft the structure of an agent-based model, with the goal of giving other participants an idea of how the initial stages of model implementation can be carried out.


Questions? Contact the organizers!

Katie Mudd:

Peter Dekker:



The research which led to this event has been funded by the Onderzoeksprogramma Artificiële Intelligentie (AI) Vlaanderen programme, by a FWO PhD Fellowship fundamental research (11A2821N) and by the FWO-NWO grant “The emergence of phonology within six generations”.

AI Research Flanders

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March 25
14:00 - 17:00