Geometry and Meaning - Companion website

Author : Dominic Widdows | Publisher : CSLI Publications | Purchase here : University of Chicago Press

From the earliest applications in astronomy, music, and biology, to the design of today's user interfaces and search engines, geometric insights have provided powerful tools and accurate scientific predictions. In Geometry and Meaning, these threads are gathered together and told as a single evolving story. Mathematical models from ancient times to the present are described for the general reader, together with the stories behind their discovery, and their applications in the new and vibrant field of natural language processing.

As well as a historical survey, Geometry and Meaning presents startling new research to the scientific public for the first time. Computers can now learn about the meaning of a word just by reading every day documents, even recognizing ambiguity and idiom. The logic used to explore the meanings of an ambiguous word depends on whether the underlying spatial model is continuous or discrete, and this relates the design of search engines to one of today's great scientific mysteries - the relationship between classical physics and quantum mechanics. In a surprising conclusion, Aristotle, long thought of as a great scientist and philosopher but a poor mathematician, shines through as the unlikely hero of modern geometry.


Here are links to the reviews that Geometry and Meaning has received. Please contact the author if you are aware of others.

Sample Chapter

Chapter 5, Word Vectors and Search Engines, was used for the 2003 Computational Word Learning course at Stanford. You can download this as a sample chapter.


The links below contain the introductory section to each chapter, and a summary of the contents of each section. Some of these summaries are still under development.

Foreword, by Pentti Kanerva

Introduction and Timeline

Chapter 1. Geometry, Numbers and Sets

Chapter 2. The Graph Model: Networks of Concepts

Chapter 3. The Vertical Direction: Concept Hierarchies

Chapter 4. Measuring Similarity and Distance

Chapter 5. Word-Vectors and Search Engines

Chapter 6. Exploring Vector Spaces in One and More Languages

Chapter 7. Logic with Vectors: Ambiguous Words and Quantum States

Chapter 8. Concept Lattices: Binding Everything Loosely Together

Epilogue. Conclusions and Curtain Call

Acknowledgments and Thanks

Typesetting and Programming


Last modified: Sun Sep 18 21:47:06 EDT 2005
Dominic Widdows, Geometry and Meaning : Dominic Widdows, Geometry and Meaning : Apologies for this repetition, "widdows geometry and meaning" is the query suggested at the end of the book, I had better make sure it works, and this query is bringing up a lot of library catalogue listings now! : Dominic Widdows, Geometry and Meaning : Dominic Widdows, Geometry and Meaning