University of Rochester

News & Events



JamesFest—Friday, December 10
James F. Allen has retired as of July 1 of this year, after more than 43 years at the University of Rochester's Department of Computer Science. To celebrate James' career, the department is hosting a set of accessible, enjoyable talks on Artificial intelligence, highlighting the higher-level aspects of machine cognition, in keeping with the tenor of James' many years of groundbreaking research on collaborative agents that reason and plan while interacting through language.

The talks are all open to the public, with free registration up to a capacity limit, either in-person or via Zoom, and we very much hope you will register (see below) and attend them.

JamesFest’s four distinguished speakers are the following:

  • Paul Cohen, Professor and Director of MOMACS (Modeling and Managing Complicated Systems), University of Pittsburgh
  • Phil Cohen, Chief Scientist at Openstream, Inc., and remaining as Adjunct Professor of Data Science and AI, Monash University
  • Henry Kautz, Division Director for Informations and Intelligent Systems at NSF, and Professor of Computer Science at the University of Rochester and founding director of the Goergen Institute for Data Science
  • Diane Litman, Professor of Computer Science, a Senior Scientist with the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC), and Faculty of the Intelligent Systems Program (ISP), all at the University of Pittsburgh

Registration is required prior to the event for both in-person and remote attendance. If possible, please register online by Wednesday, 1 December 2021.


CLS member Nadine Grimm has a new book out: A grammar of Gyeli
This grammar offers a grammatical description of the Ngòló variety of Gyeli, an endangered Bantu (A80) language spoken by 4,000-5,000 "Pygmy" hunter-gatherers in southern Cameroon. It is couched in a form-to-function approach and covers all levels of language, ranging from Gyeli phonology to its information structure and complex clauses. In 2019, the grammar received the Pāṇini Award by the Association for Linguistic Typology.


Call for Working Papers
We are soliciting contributions for Volume 9 of University of Rochester Working Papers in the Language Sciences (URWPLS). URWPLS is published by MIT Working Papers in Linguistics. For previous volumes, please see:

Papers in URWPLS are normally 10-20 pages and may be on any topic and in any field of interest to the language sciences community. Publication in working papers is ideal for preliminary work and does not normally preclude publishing a revised version in a journal or other peer-reviewed venue.

Student contributions are welcome but require a faculty sponsor (not necessarily a co-author). A faculty member can sponsor a student by writing a brief email to that speaks to the quality of a specific student contribution.

Contributions should be received by September 1 (aiming for publication in late Fall 2021) and should be sent to

Please don’t hesitate to contact for for further information.


Deep artificial neural networks reveal a distributed cortical network encoding propositional sentence-level meaning
CLS members Scott Grimm and Rajeev Raizada have are co-authors on a new paper in the Journal of Neuroscience. The paper provides evidence that "sentence-level information [about meaning] is encoded throughout a cortical network, rather than in a single region”. See also More than words: Using AI to map how the brain understands sentences.