Mike Gasser :
I'm an associate professor in Computer Science, Linguistics, and Cognitive Science. I'm interested in how people learn and use language. I study language learning and processing by building computer models; that is, I write computer programs that are meant to simulate some aspect of human linguistic behavior. For me computers are a tool for understanding how the human mind works. I've always been fascinated by language for its own sake, but I also think, as many others do, that one of the keys to human cognition and to understanding what differentiates us from other animals is language. Within language I work in various areas, in particular, how the sounds of language and the structure and meanings of words are learned. Recently, along with several others at IU, including Fred Cummins, I have begun thinking about how people might learn and handle the rhythms of language. This has also led me to consider musical rhythm, which, as we'll see in this course, is simpler in some ways. This research interest coincides with my enjoyment of highly rhythmic music, and we will listen to and discuss informally a number of examples of such music in the class.