Three PhD positions/studentships to study compositionality in
distributional semantics are available in the Language, Interaction
and Computation track of the 3-year PhD program offered by the Center
for Mind/Brain Sciences at the University of Trento (Italy)

The PhD program (start date: November 2012) is taught in English by an
international faculty. The Language, Interaction & Computation track
is organized by the CIMeC-CLIC laboratory, an interdisciplinary group
of researchers studying language and conceptualization using both
computational and cognitive methods (

The studentships are funded by a 5-year European Research Council
Starting Grant awarded to the COMPOSES (COMPositional Operations in
SEmantic SPACE) project (, that aims at
modeling composition in distributional semantics. The project is
expected to have strong impact on both theoretical and computational
semantics, as well as their cognitive underpinnings.

* Desired Profiles *

Given the interdisciplinary nature of the project, we seek brilliant
students with any of the following backgrounds:

– Machine learning (areas of special interest: regression,
regularization methods, hierarchical regression, autoencoders,
curriculum learning, scaling machine learning to large multivariate
and multi-level problems, dealing with very sparse data);

– Psycholinguistics, experimental linguistics or cognitive science
(areas of special interest: systematic judgment elicitation methods
such as Likert scales or magnitude estimation, crowdsourcing,
semantic processing);

– Formal and/or computational semantics (areas of special interest:
Montague Grammar and its derivatives, distributional semantics)

Advanced programming and mathematical skills are required of
candidates from machine learning. For linguists and cognitive
scientists, programming skills and knowledge of statistics are a big

If you think that your background is relevant to the research program
outlined on the project website ( and you
have good programming and quantitative skills, please do get in touch
even if you do not fit any of the profiles above.

All prospective students are expected to have an interest in working
in an interdisciplinary environment.

* The Research Environment *

The CLIC lab ( is a unit of the University of
Trento’s Center for Mind/Brain Sciences (CIMeC,, an English-speaking, interdisciplinary center
for research on brain and cognition whose staff includes
neuroscientists, psychologists, (computational) linguists, computer
scientists and physicists.

CLIC consists of researchers from the Departments of Computer Science
(DISI) and Cognitive Science (DISCoF) carrying out research on a range
of topics including concept acquisition, corpus-based computational
semantics, combining NLP and computer vision, combining brain and
corpus data to study cognition, formal semantics and theoretical
linguistics. Modeling composition in distributional semantics is
increasingly a focus point of CLIC, and activity in this area is
growing considerably thanks to COMPOSES funds.

CLIC is part of the larger network of research labs focusing on
Natural Language Processing and related domains in the Trento region,
that is quickly becoming one of the areas with the highest
concentration of researchers in NLP and related fields anywhere in

The CLIC/CIMeC laboratories are located in beautiful Rovereto, a
lively town in the middle of the Alps, famous for its contemporary art
museum, the quality of its wine, and the range of outdoors sport and
relax opportunities it offers:

* Application Information *

The official call of the Doctoral School in Cognitive and Brain
Sciences will be announced shortly, and application details will be
available on the page:

We strongly encourage a preliminary expression of interest in the
project. Please contact Marco Baroni (,
attaching a CV in pdf or txt format, or a link to an online CV. For
information about the application process, please contact the school
administrator (