South by semantics workshop

Spring 2024 Schedule

Feb 6

WAG 316

3:30-5pm

Matthew Mandelkern

Diamonds are a disjunction's best friend

I introduce a number of new puzzles about the relation between disjunction and possibility. I argue that these puzzles are best solved with a theory on which 'p or q' means (p∨q)∧<>p∧<>q, where <> is a possibility modal underspecified for modal flavor. I show that the resulting theory also yields an elegant account of free choice inferences.

Feb 29

GDC 6.302

2:30-4pm

Entity Tracking in Language Models 

Keeping track of how states of entities change as a text or dialog unfolds is a key prerequisite to discourse understanding. We propose a behavioral task testing to what extent a language model can infer the final state of an entity given a natural language description of the initial state and a series of state-changing operations, following a set of desiderata we lay out for measuring nontrivial entity tracking capacity. Our evaluations of several language models reveal that only (1) in-context learning with models trained on large amounts of code, or (2) finetuning a model directly on the entity tracking task lead to nontrivial entity tracking behavior. This suggests that language models can learn to track entities but pretraining on text corpora alone does not make this capacity surface. In light of these results, I will end with brief discussions of ongoing work investigating the role of code training further, as well as testing for latent representations of entity states.

April 3

GDC 6.302

2:30-4pm

April 9

WAG 316

April 18

GDC 6.302

2:30-4pm