1. Overview During the last two weeks of June, the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM) organized the Summer Institute in Cognitive Sciences 2010 (UQÀM 2010, 21–30 June 2010). This year's topic was "the hardest problem in science" (Christiansen & Kirby 2003a) — the origins of language. Language origin refers to the phylogenetic process whereby Homo sapiens made the transition from a pre-linguistic communication system to a communication system with languages of the sort we use today (Wang 1978, Gong 2009). Questions concerning when, where, and how human language (henceforth, simply 'language') originated and evolved belong to the realm of evolutionary linguistics (Ke & Holland 2006, Hauser et al. 2007). This field has now become resurgent as a scientific and collaborative beacon for research (Oud-eyer 2006), as shown by many anthologies and reviews; see, among others, Har-nad et al.. More than 100 scholars and students from the Americas, Europe, and Asia gathered in Montreal for UQÀM 2010 to study and discuss the outline and recent research of evolutionary linguistics. On each day of the institute, there were five lectures plus one hosted discussion in English. In addition to these lectures and discussions, there were two poster sessions for participants to present their work. The 8 days of lectures collectively introduced a variety of theoretical topics, research methods, and latest findings pertinent to the study of language origins from a range of different fields which included anthropology, archaeology, pale-ontology, neuroscience, genetics, philosophy, psychology, zoology, computer science and linguistics. The lectures covered a wide range of fields, including the history of evolutionary linguistics, animal behaviors, embodiment of language, theories of language origin, computational simulations of language, and pers-pectives about language and its evolution from a number of disciplines. In section 2, we briefly review the opening presentation of this institute, and then follow this with a description of the plenary lectures in section 3.