Opening Remarks

Dec 14, 2019



The ability to integrate semantic information across narratives is fundamental to language understanding in both biological and artificial cognitive systems. In recent years, enormous strides have been made in NLP and Machine Learning to develop architectures and techniques that effectively capture these effects. The field has moved away from traditional bag-of-words approaches that ignore temporal ordering, and instead embraced RNNs, Temporal CNNs and Transformers, which incorporate contextual information at varying timescales. While these architectures have lead to state-of-the-art performance on many difficult language understanding tasks, it is unclear what representations these networks learn and how exactly they incorporate context. Interpreting these networks, systematically analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of different elements, such as gating or attention, and reflecting on the capacity of the networks across various timescales are open and important questions. On the biological side, recent work in neuroscience suggests that areas in the brain are organized into a temporal hierarchy in which different areas are not only sensitive to specific semantic information but also to the composition of information at different timescales. Computational neuroscience has moved in the direction of leveraging deep learning to gain insights about the brain. By answering questions on the underlying mechanisms and representational interpretability of these artificial networks, we can also expand our understanding of temporal hierarchies, memory, and capacity effects in the brain. In this workshop we aim to bring together researchers from machine learning, NLP, and neuroscience to explore and discuss how computational models should effectively capture the multi-timescale, context-dependent effects that seem essential for processes such as language understanding.



About NIPS 2019

Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS) is a multi-track machine learning and computational neuroscience conference that includes invited talks, demonstrations, symposia and oral and poster presentations of refereed papers. Following the conference, there are workshops which provide a less formal setting.

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