PhD candidate | Philosophy

“I find language to be an interesting topic to study because on the one hand, it is incredibly familiar to us, while on the other hand, there are many things about language and language learning that are quite mysterious,” says Peter, a PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy and Computational Neuroscience Research Group. His research focuses on how people use and understand natural language.Peter Blouw

“My doctoral thesis develops a computational model of question answering that accounts for the linguistic behaviour of people who are asked to answer questions about the contents of simple story or short paragraph. If the model is able to produce answers to these questions that are comparable to those that a human would provide, then model can arguably shed light on what linguistic understanding amounts to.”

A standout moment thus far in Peter’s PhD has been attending the annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society for the first time. The conference was held in Berlin, and a large group of UWaterloo graduate students were able to attend. “For me, it was good introduction to the broader academic world, and it was really interesting to meet and talk to people who are working on similar research problems.”

“I still have some time before graduating, so I have not made any concrete plans yet. However, I’m quite interested in pursuing work related to my research in the technology industry. My work could potentially open the door to new or improved methods for the development of natural language processing technologies.”