Photo of Giovanni Cassani
  • Netherlands

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

No projects available, but willing to write projects on my topics of interests.


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

I'm interested in computational modeling of language learning, in particular about non-arbitrary form-meaning mappings and their possible role in language learning, language processing and language eveolution. My research agenda revolves around investigating whether non-arbitrary mappings between how words sound and what they mean influence the way children learn language, the way people process and comprehend it, and the way languages evolved as communication systems to be easy to learn and convenient to process.

I'm also interested in using sequence modeling techniques to investigate data science questions in different domains, including but not limited to user intent prediction, educational paths, employment trajectories, and learning tasks.


The master course in Natural Language Processingfor the DSS master focuses on core NLP problems and tools and how they are used to develop end-to-end applications such as language generation, text classification and machine translation are reviewed. Students learn to design an NLP tool to address a specific problem (choose the data, pre-process it, extract the relevant information, evaluate the system and improve on it). This course assumes a non-technical audience.

The bachelor course in Computational Linguisticsfor the CSAIprogram (3rd y) covers similar topics but focuses more on the algorithms and the solutions developed in the last decades, to provide students with the ability to implement these solutions. The relation between computational linguistics, cognitive science and AI is also investigated. The focus is more the applied and a rather technical audience is assumed.

I also teach the R practical sessions for theStatistics for CSAI II(CSAI bachelor, 2nd y)


Slides and materials for all courses are available upon request.

Education/Academic qualification

Linguistics and theory of literature, PhD, University of Antwerp

1 Nov 201428 Feb 2019

Other, Master’s Degree, University of Trento

Sep 201224 Sep 2014

Linguistics and theory of literature, Bachelor’s Degree, University of Trento

16 Sep 200918 Jul 2012

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Research Output

  • 5 Conference contribution
  • 4 Article
  • 1 Doctoral Thesis

Children probably store short rather than frequent or predictable chunks: quantitative evidence from a corpus study

Grimm, R., Cassani, G., Gillis, S. & Daelemans, W., 30 Jan 2019, In : Frontiers in Psychology. 10, p. 1-19 19 p., 80.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access
  • On the semantics of nonwords and their lexical categories

    Cassani, G., Chuang, Y-Y. & Baayen, R. H., 2019, In : Journal of Experimental Psychology-Learning Memory and Cognition.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    Open Access
  • Lexical category acquisition is facilitated by uncertainty in distributional co-occurrences

    Cassani, G., Grimm, R., Daelemans, W. & Gillis, S., 2018, In : PLoS ONE. 13, 12, p. 1-36 36 p., e0209449.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    Open Access
  • Distributional learning and lexical category acquisition: what makes words easy to categorize?

    Cassani, G., Grimm, R., Gillis, S. & Daelemans, W., Jul 2017, Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Cognitive Science Society, p. 216-221 6 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

  • Activities

    • 2 Invited talk
    • 2 Oral presentation

    Rethinking the arbitrariness of the sign

    Giovanni Cassani (Speaker)
    8 Jan 2020

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talkScientific

    On the semantics of non-words and their lexical categories

    Giovanni Cassani (Speaker), Yu-Ying Chuang (Speaker), R. Harald Baayen (Speaker)
    Sep 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentationScientific

    Multimodal Distributional Semantics Models and conceptual representations in sensory deprived subjects

    Giovanni Cassani (Speaker), Alessandro Lopopolo (Speaker)
    Dec 2015

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentationScientific


    Prizes / Recognition