Graduate Programs: Symbolic Systems, Stanford

“The notions of symbol, meaning, representation, information, and action are at the heart of the study of symbolic systems. This common core of notions arises in a variety of fields including artificial intelligence, computer science, cognitive psychology, linguistics, philosophy, and symbolic logic.

As we have seen, the questions tackled by this new field are as old as thought itself. This century’s revolution stems from the advent of the computer and the associated ability to formulate these questions in mathematically rigorous new ways. This revolution has arisen simultaneously in several more traditional disciplines. As a result researchers in various fields who were pursuing similar goals discovered that by sharing their findings they could build cross-disciplinary theories that would shed light on their common questions.

But the crossing of disciplinary boundaries can be difficult. Contemporary researchers, trained in the context of traditional disciplines, frequently find it hard to assimilate needed concepts in another discipline. One of the beliefs of the creators of the Symbolic Systems Program is that it is the student of this new field, acquainted early on in his or her intellectual training with the philosophical and logical foundations, linguistic theories and techniques, facility and skill in the theory of computation and manipulation and use of computers, who will take the study of symbolic systems to new heights.

The Symbolic Systems Program offers students the opportunity to focus on these issues in their course of studies. Its majors are required to take courses in the Departments of Computer Science, Linguistics, Philosophy, and Psychology, as well as courses designed specifically for the program. Its goal is to prepare students with the vocabulary, theoretical background, and technical skills to understand and participate in contemporary interdisciplinary research into questions about language, information, and intelligence—both human and machine. The curriculum offers a combination of traditional humanistic approaches to these questions as well as a training and familiarity with exciting contemporary developments in the science and technology of computation.” https://symsys.stanford.edu/ssp_description

Master’s Requirements: https://symsys.stanford.edu/viewing/htmldocument/13915

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