FormalCog: Formal Semantics and Analysis of Cognitive Architectures

The aim of this project is to develop a formal basis for analysis of a cognitive modeling architecture and its sound implementation as a proof-of-concept.

Computational cognitive modeling explores human cognition by building models that are executable by computers. Such computational models can serve as process-based theories that support classic behavioral studies to better understand human cognition.

Currently, computational cognitive modeling architectures as well as the implementations of cognitive models are typically ad-hoc constructs. They lack a formalization from the computer science point of view. This impedes analysis of the underlying languages and the programmed models. It makes it hard to compare different implementation variants of the languages. It makes it hard to verify properties of the models. These issues call for a formal semantics of cognitive modeling languages together with proper analysis techniques.

The main objective of this project is to connect the psychological methods from computational cognitive modeling with results from computer science to eliminate ad-hoc cognitive modeling. We will develop a formal operational semantics for a popular cognitive modeling language and build an analysis framework upon it. 

In short, the possibility of analyzing models on a sound semantical basis will enable the formally founded validation of cognitive models. Last but not least, our endeavor will foster the interplay between Computational Psychology and Computer Science.