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 Atticus Geiger (Class of 2019) for winning a Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research for his Symbolic Systems Honors Thesis, Can Natural Language Inference Models Perform Natural Logic Reasoning? Atticus's Advisor was Chris Potts (Linguistics) and his Second Reader was Thomas Icard (Philosophy).

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Posted by Admin 4 weeks ago

Hope Schroeder (Class of 2019) is the most recent recipient of the K. Jon Barwise Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Symbolic Systems Program. The award was handed out at the Symbolic Systems Program's Diploma Ceremony on June 16, 2019. Congratulations, Hope!

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Posted by Admin 1 month ago

Eight current Symbolic Systems students have been appointed as undergraduate peer Advising Fellows for the Academic Year 2019-2020:

  • Roma Dziembaj, '19/Coterm MS&E (Decision Making and Rationality) - returning AF

  • Richard Akira Heru, '20/Coterm A&A (AI) [Winter and Spring]

  • Lisa Liao, '20 (HCI)

  • Angela Luo, '20 (HCI)

  • Darian ...

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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.  

Office hours have officially ended for the Academic Year 2018-'19. We will resume regular office hours the week of September 23, 2019 (the beginning of Autumn Quarter).

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Posted by Admin 4 years, 10 months ago
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