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IRCS will be closing on June 30, 2016, as the SAS and SEAS leadership realigns initiatives with the strategic plans of the two schools.

IRCS was founded just over 25 years ago in 1990, strengthening a tradition of cross-disciplinary collaboration in Cognitive Science at Penn that dates back to the early 1960s and building on a formal program in Cognitive Science that was initiated in 1978 with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The inaugural IRCS co-directors were Aravind Joshi and Lila Gleitman, with subsequent leadership provided by Mark Liberman, Michael Kearns, and John Trueswell. From 1991-2001, IRCS was supported by a National Science Foundation grant under its Science and Technology Centers program; since then it has been supported by funds from the School of Arts and Sciences, from the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and from the Vice-Provost for Research.

Throughout its history, IRCS has sought to foster the development of a science of the human mind through interactions across the disciplines of Linguistics, Mathematical Logic, Philosopy, Psychology, Computer Science, and Neuroscience. It has done so through a weekly colloquium series, focused workshops and working groups, the annual Pinkel Lecture in Cognitive Science, a summer undergraduate institute, graduate training programs, the undergraduate major in Cognitive Science, summer short courses, outreach through research in educational practice, and a variety of less formal activities aimed at promoting collegiality and collaboration.

Although IRCS will be closing, planning is underway for new initiatives both in SAS and SEAS. These will lead to a new home for the Cognitive Science major, which will continue into the post-IRCS era. In additon, the new initiatives may provide continued support for some of IRCS's other goals. In SAS, there is the possibility of a new center to support the SAS strategic plan’s emphasis on “mapping the mind.” Similarly, SEAS is interested in human language technology under its "data science and computation” initiative, and will continue to strengthen ties with SAS in this area. Because planning for new initiatives is still in progress, we have made arrangements for Jessica Marcus to remain in her current position as a transitional measure. Jessica will continue at least through the end of the upcoming fall semester, and provide administrative support for the Cognitive Science major as well as other ongoing activities.