computer science


Alistair Knott

Associate Professor

Room Owheo Building, Room 2.54
Phone +64 3 479 8299

My background is in Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence. I studied Psychology and Philosophy at Oxford University, and then did an MSc and PhD in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh, and a postdoc at Edinburgh in Computational Linguistics. I've been at Otago since 1998.

My research focusses on how the capacity for language is implemented in the human brain. I explore this question by building computational models of language and other cognitive processes: in the last few years, mostly neural network models. My main interest at present is in how language interfaces with the physical world: how are sensory and motor representations translated into linguistic representations? I have developed a proposal about how this happens, which was the subject of a recent book, and currently forms the basis for a Marsden Project.

There's more information about this and other projects on my research page.

Selected Publications

A Knott
Sensorimotor Cognition and Natural Language Syntax.
MIT Press 2012.

M Takac, L Benuskova and A Knott
Mapping sensorimotor sequences to word sequences: A connectionist model of language acquisition and sentence generation.
Cognition 125:288-308 (2012).

A Knott and P Vlugter
Multi-agent human-machine dialogue: issues in dialogue management and referring expression semantics.
Artificial Intelligence 172:69-102 (2008)

A Knott
A Data-Driven Methodology for Motivating a Set of Coherence Relations
PhD thesis, Department of Artificial Intelligence, University of Edinburgh (1996)

Picture of Alistair Knott