Lynn Stein, Professor of Computer and Cognitive Science
and the Director of the Computers and Cognition Laboratory

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

Challenging the Computational Metaphor: Implications for How We Think

Tuesday, April 24, 4:00 PM

Packard Lab 416

Reception prior to talk at 3:30 in Packard Lobby

Abstract: Von Neumann serial computation has been our field's central metaphor. It has even influenced how we think brains work.  But the sequentialist metaphor isn't right for brains.  It isn't even right for what computers do. Instead, computation arises over a community of interacting entities.

When we shift our fundamental metaphor, it changes the way we think about computation.  It changes what we teach our students.  And it changes the ways in which we think about thinking itself.

Bio: Lynn Andrea Stein is Professor of Computer and Cognitive Science and the Director of the Computers and Cognition Laboratory at the newly established Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts. Prior to becoming one of Olin's first faculty members, Stein spent a decade on the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was a member of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Laboratory for Computer Science.

Stein's research focuses on the role that interaction plays in both computational and cognitive processes; her projects include the construction of an artificial humanoid and an intelligent room, philosophical and pragmatic work from knowledge representation to the semantics of cognition, and most recently co-authorship of foundational documents for the semantic web. Her contributions include logical theories of inheritance and temporal reasoning, the semantics of sharing in object-oriented programming languages, "imagination" and other architectures for cognitive robotics, and the Cog and Haystack systems and DAML-O/OWL web language. She is a recognized leader in computer science and engineering education, where her work includes the development of an innovative introductory CS curriculum (radically rethinking CS 101) and the founding of Olin College.

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