ICREA, Institute for Evolutionary Biology (UPF-CSIC), Barcelona
Sony Computer Science Laboratory Paris
Luc Steels studied linguistics at the University of Antwerp (Belgium) and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA). His main research field is Artificial Intelligence covering a wide range of intelligent abilities, including vision, robotic behavior, conceptual representations and language. In 1983 he became a professor of computer science at the University of Brussels (VUB) and in 1996 he founded the Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris and became its first director. Currently he is ICREA research professor at the Institute for Evolutionary Biology (CSIC,UPF). Steels has participated in dozens of large-scale European projects and more than 30 PhD theses have been granted under his direction. He has produced over 200 articles and edited 15 books directly related to his research. During the past decade he has focused on theories for the origins and evolution of language using computer simulations and robotic experiments to discover and test them.
VUB AI-Lab, University of Brussels
Katrien Beuls is currently pursuing a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Brussels (Belgium). She has a background in cognitive linguistics (University of Leuven, Belgium) and speech and language processing (University of Edinburgh, Scotland). Before joining the AI Lab in Brussels, Katrien worked as an intern at the Austrian Acoustic Research Institute (2008) and the Information Retrieval Facility in Vienna (2009), where she conducted research for her MSc dissertation on Text categorization for Intellectual Property. Katrien is particularly interested in modeling the emergence of agreement systems. Apart from that, she is building a prototype for tutoring games, in which a human user learns a language system from a software agent, inspired by the methodology of evolutionary language games. She received a four year PhD grant from the Flemish Institute for Innovation and Technology (IWT).
Systems Technology Laboratory, Sony Corporation, Tokyo
Michael Spranger received a Diploma from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Germany) in 2008 and a PhD from the Vrije Universiteit in Brussels in 2011 (both in Computer Science). Michael has two particular interests which can be summarized as language and robots. He is a roboticist by training with extensive experience in research and construction of autonomous systems. During his diploma (masters) which dealt with perceptual systems for robotic language evolution experiments, he fell in love with the study of language and has since worked on different domains from action language and posture verbs to time, tense, determination and spatial language. In his PhD he focussed on evolutionary explanations for spatial language.
Remi van Trijp is head of the Language Research unit at the Sony Computer Science Laboratory Paris. His work is widely acclaimed for coupling innovative techniques from agent-based computational modeling to empirical observations on intricate real-life phenomena, such as the evolution of the German determiner system or the Spanish personal pronouns. As one of the chief developers of Fluid Construction Grammar, van Trijp has also played a key role in the implementation of sophisticated language technologies that break with the modularity of traditional NLP systems. Van Trijp has published numerous articles on language evolution and robust language processing, and has participated in several European projects such as ECAgents, ALEAR and ESSENCE. Van Trijp holds a PhD in computational linguistics from the University of Antwerp and is one of the founding members of the Evolutionary Linguistics Association.
Pieter Wellens is a researcher in artificial intelligence and linguistics at the AI-Lab of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). He has recently finished his PhD in which he investigated, through computational multi-agent simulations, the many flexible and adaptive ways in which we use language. At the VUB he also holds several teaching responsibilities for courses in artificial intelligence, logic and software engineering. He is one of the core developers of the multi-agent language game framework Babel 2 which is extensively used by researchers at the VUB AI-Lab and Sony CSL Paris. Pieter Wellens graduated from the University of Antwerp with a M.Sc. in Computer Science and a Bachelor in Philosophy.