Cognitive Systems Laboratory
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Welcome to the Cognitive Systems Laboratory

Computers have come to play a central role in many fields, one of the most important being the study of intelligent behavior. This includes work on learning and adaptation, in which experience leads to improved performance on some task. In the last decade, advances in the computational study of this process have led to powerful insights about the nature of learning in both humans and machines. The resulting computational techniques have led to an increasing number of applications within both commerce and government.

However, one can apply the computational metaphor in different ways, and computational learning has become an important topic within many paradigms, including artificial intelligence, pattern recognition, control theory, cognitive psychology, and statistics. Such convergence of interests is encouraging, but few researchers in this active area communicate across disciplinary boundaries, and even fewer are skilled in the language and techniques of more than one approach. This leads to duplication of effort, repetition of conceptual errors, and missed insights that could come from interdisciplinary collaboration.

The Cognitive Systems Laboratory carries out a number of activities designed to bridge the gap that separates these paradigms. For example, we have active research efforts in a number of areas, most of them involving collaboration with people elsewhere at Stanford or other organizations. We also organize a weekly seminar on computational learning and adaptation, which attracts scientists from a number of Stanford departments and local research centers. Talks address topics that hold general interest to learning researchers, presented in language accessible to people with different backgrounds. We also distribute the Machine Learning List, which sends out announcements in the area to hundreds of recipients.

This Web site contains more information about the Cognitive Systems Laboratory and its activities. I hope you find its contents interesting and useful, but I would also welcome suggestions for improving it.

Pat Langley, Head
Cognitive Systems Laboratory
Center for the Study of Language & Information
Stanford University