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What is Symbolic Systems?

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The Symbolic Systems Program (SSP) at Stanford University focuses on computers and minds: artificial and natural systems that use symbols to communicate, and to represent information. SSP brings together students and faculty interested in different aspects of the human-computer relationship, including...

  • cognitive science: studying human intelligence, natural languages, and the brain as computational processes;
  • artificial intelligence: endowing computers with human-like behavior and understanding; and
  • human-computer interaction: designing computer software and interfaces that work well with human users.

Symbolic Systems' affiliated faculty come from several departments at Stanford, including Computer Science, Linguistics, Philosophy, Psychology, Communication, Statistics, and Education. Our students are exposed to the tools of these disciplines -- formal methods, philosophical analysis, computer programming, and empirical research -- with the aim of being able to apply the appropriate tool(s) to a chosen area of specialization. SSP alumni are found in various occupations, including software design and applications, teaching and research, law, medicine, and public service.


Students: Check out the Symbolic Systems Society. The Society is a student-led group for SymSys students and those interested in symbolic systems. The Society hosts many events for students, including symposia, coffee chats, special dinners, field trips, and student-alum and student-faculty dinners.

What's New in Symbolic Systems?

Congratulations to Daylon Tippett (Class of 2018) for winning a Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research for his Symbolic Systems Honors Thesis, Testing Theories of Forgetting: The Effect of Memory Suppression Strategies on Associative Memory. Daylon's Advisor was Anthony Wagner (Psychology) and his Second Reader was Jiefeng Jiang ...


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Posted by Admin 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Lucy Li (Class of 2018) and Stephanie Zhang (Class of 2018) are the most recent recipients of the K. Jon Barwise Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Symbolic Systems Program. The awards were handed out at the Symbolic Systems Program's Diploma Ceremony on June 17, 2018. Congratulations, Lucy and ...


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Posted by Admin 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Eight current Symbolic Systems students have been appointed as undergraduate peer Advising Fellows for the Academic Year 2018-2019:

  • Sandhini Agarwal ('19) Learning
  • Antonio Aguilar ('18), Human-Computer Interaction [Continuing AF, Autumn Quarter]
  • Roma Dziembaj ('19) Artificial Intelligence
  • Maame Akua Kome-Mensah ('19), Decision Making and Rationality
  • Darian Martos ('19), Artificial Intelligence
  • Santosh ...

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Posted by Admin 1 month, 1 week ago

Office hours are designated times when Stanford students are invited to consult with Symbolic Systems Advising Fellows and Program Administrators. AFs' and Director's/Associate Director's office hours are on hiatus for the summer and will resume in September 2018.  If you are viewing this in the newsroll, click ...


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Posted by Admin 3 years, 10 months ago
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