Matthew Turner

I'm currently a graduate student in the Cognitive and Information Sciences at UC Merced.

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The Latest

October 7, 2016

Notes on Corpus Building

I'm building a corpus of political discourse that will first include the 2012 and 2016 debates and associated news coverage accessed from the TV News Archive. These are some notes on tools I can and likely will use to do that and ideas for a prototype web app, or "corpus plus".

The Rest

September 27, 2016

Emergent symbolism in connectionist systems

An essay on some on ideas on how symbolic processinng could be an emergent property of connectionist models. Based on a prompt by Professor Chris Kello.

September 20, 2016

Parallel Distributed Processing: Selected History up to Deep Learning

A very brief history of Parallel Distributed Processing that mostly focuses on what came after: neural networks, machine learning, machine intelligence, TensorFlow, and deep learning. Presented in COGS 201 led by Professor Chris Kello.

September 13, 2016

The Chomsky Hierarchy, Linguistics, and Computational Theories of Mind

Highlights key points of the history of Chomsky's contributions to linguistics and computer science centered on the Chomsky Hierarchy. Based on a prompt by Professor Chris Kello.

September 7, 2016

Tononi's integrated information theory (IIT) and Searle's Chinese Room

Searle argued that only machines could be conscious, by which he meant that there is no mental stuff that is conscious. How might consciousness be measured? Tononi and co-workers provide a potential means to measure consciousness in natural or engineered systems. Based on a prompt by Professor Chris Kello.

December 11, 2014

George Wald: A Generation in Search of a Future

Some time ago I copied a vinyl record of a speech given by Nobel laureate George Wald in protest of the Vietnam war and the weaponization of academic achievements. He describes his observations of a pervasive feeling of loss and hopelessness among his students, pointing out that "a lecture is more of a conversation" than most people realize. This is a radio show I made to explore the key points from the speech. There are two other related posts preceding this one on my old blog at

February - September 2011

No Bridge Too Far: Thoughts on the world from as many angles as possible

Some ranty, incoherently angry (hangry?) blog posts I wrote as my time at Rice University as a grad student in applied physics was coming to an end. I had been participating in some protest events in Houston, presenting my work to investors from the CIA, and struggling to understand how to balance my love for my country and patriotism with the feeling that we as a country don't always do the right thing.

Last Updated October 7, 2016