Distributed Recursive Structure Processing

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 3 (NIPS 1990)

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Geraldine Legendre, Yoshiro Miyata, Paul Smolensky


Harmonic grammar (Legendre, et al., 1990) is a connectionist theory of lin(cid:173) guistic well-formed ness based on the assumption that the well-formedness of a sentence can be measured by the harmony (negative energy) of the corresponding connectionist state. Assuming a lower-level connectionist network that obeys a few general connectionist principles but is otherwise unspecified, we construct a higher-level network with an equivalent har(cid:173) mony function that captures the most linguistically relevant global aspects of the lower level network. In this paper, we extend the tensor product representation (Smolensky 1990) to fully recursive representations of re(cid:173) cursively structured objects like sentences in the lower-level network. We show theoretically and with an example the power of the new technique for parallel distributed structure processing.