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Prof. A.P.J. van den Bosch (1969) has been appointed professor by special appointment of Language and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Humanities. The special chair was established by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). Van den Bosch will combine his chair at the UvA with his directorship of the KNAW Meertens Institute.

In his research, Van den Bosch develops machine learning and language technology. Most of his work lies at the intersection of these two areas: computers that understand and generate natural language.

As professor by special appointment at the UvA, Van den Bosch will work on two opposite lines of research: AI for language, and language for AI.

  1. AI for language: Artificial intelligence techniques can be used to model natural language phenomena; this has been the basis of computational linguistics since the 1960s. The chair focuses specifically on the question of how AI methods can be used to model language variation. Language variation models help us to understand and predict variation, and to verify linguistic theories about this variation. The emphasis will be on syntactic variation in the Dutch language, based on the data collections of the Meertens Institute (e.g. the SAND) as well as new material, such as social media data.
  2. Language for AI: In linguistics, AI often lacks the subtlety of language variation: dialect speakers are not recognised by speech recognition tools trained using standard language; automatically generated translations reflect the inherent bias in the language data with which they have been developed; and computer system users’ statements often have emotional connotations and context that are missed by the superficial methods of natural language processing still used in the current generation of chat bots. The chair focuses on the development of linguistically smart AI.
Antal van den Bosch (photo: Dirk Gillissen)

About Van den Bosch

Van den Bosch has been director of the KNAW Meertens Institute since 2017. He was also Professor of Language and Speech Technology at Radboud University until 2019. Van den Bosch has previously served as professor and scientific director of the Centre for Language Studies at Radboud University and professor of Language and Artificial Intelligence at Tilburg University.

Van den Bosch is a visiting professor at the University of Antwerp, a member of the KNAW, and a fellow of the European Association for Artificial Intelligence. He is also the principal investigator of CLARIAH, the Common Lab Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities, which focuses on building a common digital infrastructure for the humanities.