Reference Grounding Task

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A Reference Grounding Task is a coreference clustering task that is a multiclass classification task (that requires the classification of a referencer to a canonical referencer with the same referent).




  • (Wikipedia, 2009) ⇒
    • The Symbol Grounding Problem is related to the problem of how words (symbols) get their meanings, and hence to the problem of what meaning itself really is. The problem of meaning is in turn related to the problem of consciousness, or how it is that mental states are meaningful. According to a widely held theory of cognition, “computationalism," cognition (i.e., thinking) is just a form of computation. But computation in turn is just formal symbol manipulation: symbols are manipulated according to rules that are based on the symbols' shapes, not their meanings. How are those symbols (e.g., the words in our heads) connected to the things they refer to? It cannot be through the mediation of an external interpreter's head, because that would lead to an infinite regress, just as my looking up the meanings of words in a (unilingual) dictionary of a language that I do not understand would lead to an infinite regress. The symbols in an autonomous hybrid symbolic+sensorimotor system -- a Turing-scale robot consisting of both a symbol system and a sensorimotor system that reliably connects its internal symbols to the external objects they refer to, so it can interact with them Turing-indistinguishably from the way a person does -- would be grounded. But whether its symbols would have meaning rather than just grounding is something that even the robotic Turing Test -- hence cognitive science itself -- cannot determine, or explain.
  • (WordNet, 2009) ⇒
    • S: (v) answer, resolve (understand the meaning of) "The question concerning the meaning of life cannot be answered"
    • S: (v) resolve (make clearly visible) "can this image be resolved?"




  • (Taddeo & Floridi, 2005) ⇒ Mariarosaria Taddeo, and Luciano Floridi (2005). “The symbol grounding problem: A critical review of fifteen years of research. Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence, 17(4), 419-445. Online version


  • (Webber et al., 1992) ⇒ Bonnie L. Webber, Norman I. Badler, F. Breckenridge Baldwin, Welton Becket, Barbara Di Eugenio, Christopher W. Geib, Moon Ryul Jung, Libby Levison, Michael B. Moore, and Michael White. (1992). “Doing What You're Told: Following Task Instructions in Changing, but Hospitable Environments." Technical Report, University of Pennsylvania
    • QUOTE: Because multi-clause instruction steps may evoke more than one situational context [56], part of an agent's cognitive task in understanding an instruction step is to determine that situation in which he is meant to find a referent for each of its referring expressions. This is the process of grounding referring expressions. ... When given this instruction (or similar ones such as "Open the box and hand me the yellow block", which one of the authors (Webber) has publically tested on several individuals), agents appear to develop an expectation that after they perform the action, they will be in a context in which it makes sense to try to ground the expression and determine its referent.

      The second instruction (". ..and wash out the coffee urn") is different: if the agent sees a coffee urn in the current context, prior to acting, he will happily ground the referring expression "the coffee urn" against that object. If he doesn't see a coffee urn prior to acting, he develops the same expectation as in the first example, that when he gets into the kitchen, he will be able to ground the expression then. The fact that agents will look around when they get to the kitchen if a coffee urn isn't immediately visible, opening cabinets until they find one, shows the strength of this expectation and the behavior it leads to.

      This decision as to the context to use in grounding a referring expression is based on distinguishing the information (and assumptions) used to resolve a referring expression from that used to ground it. Reference resolution precedes reference grounding (cf. Figure 2) and involves using information from the interpretation of the current utterance (i.e., the explicit description), information from the previous discourse (i.e., the existence of a salient discourse entity with that description in the agent's discourse model) [26, 54, 551, and hypotheses about the intended relationship between actions.


  • (Clark & Brennan, 1991) ⇒ Herberth H. Clark, and Susan E. Brennan. (1991). “Grouding in Communication.” In: L.B. Resnick, J.M. Levine, & S.D. Teasley (Eds.). Perspectives on socially shared cognition . Washington: APA Books.
    • QUOTE: Grounding is essential to communication. Once we have formulated a message, we must do more than just send it off. We need to assure ourselves that it has been understood as we intended it to be. Otherwise, we have little assurance that the discourse we are taking partin will proceed in an orderly way. For whatever we say, our goal is to reach the grounding criterion: that we and our addressees mutuallybelieve that they have understood what we meant well enought for current purposes. This is the process that we have called grounding.



  • (Pylyshin, 1984) ⇒ Z. W. Pylyshyn. (1984). “Computation and Cognition.” Cambridge MA: MIT/Bradford


  • (Clark & Marshall, 1981) ⇒ Herberth H. Clark & C. R. Marshall. (1981). “Definite Reference and Mutual Knowledge.” In: Aravind K. Joshi, B. L. Webber, & I. A. Sag (Eds.). “Elements of discourse understanding.” Cambridge University Press.



  • (Fodor, 1975) ⇒ J. A. Fodor. (1975). “The Language of Thought.” Thomas Y. Crowell


  • (Lewis, 1969) ⇒ D. K. Lewis. (1969). “Convention: A philosophical study.” Harvard University Press.


  • (Searle, 1969) ⇒ John R. Searle. (1969). “Speech Acts.” Cambridge University Press.


  • (Russell, 1917) ⇒ Bertrand Russell. (1917). “Knowledge by Acquaintance and Knowledge by Description.” In: Mysticism and Logic.



  • (Frege, 1892) ⇒ Gottlob Frege. (1892). “On Sense and Reference.” In: Zeitschrift für Philosophie und philosophische Kritik, C: 25-50.