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CS 779: Statistical Natural Language Processing

Units: 3-0-0-0 (09)

Must: Introduction to Machine Learning (CS771) or equivalent course, Proficiency in Linear Algebra, Probability and Statistics, Proficiency in Python Programming
Desirable: Probabilistic Machine Learning (CS772), Topics in Probabilistic Modeling and Inference (CS775), Deep Learning for Computer Vision (CS776)


Level of the course

Ph.D., M.Tech, and 3rd, 4th year UG Students (7xx level)


Course Objectives:

Natural language (NL) refers to the language spoken/written by humans. NL is the primary mode of communication for humans. With the growth of the world wide web, data in the form of text has grown exponentially. It calls for the development of algorithms and techniques for processing natural language for the automation and development of intelligent machines. This course will primarily focus on understanding and developing linguistic techniques, statistical learning algorithms and models for processing language. We will have a statistical approach towards natural language processing, wherein we will learn how one could develop natural language understanding models from statistical regularities in large corpora of natural language texts while leveraging linguistics theories.


Course Contents
  1. Introduction to Natural Language (NL) : why is it hard to process NL, linguistics fundamentals, etc.
  2. Language Models: n-grams, smoothing, class-based, brown clustering
  3. Sequence Labeling: HMM, MaxEnt, CRFs, related applications of these models e.g. Part of Speech tagging, etc.
  4. Parsing: CFG, Lexicalized CFG, PCFGs, Dependency parsing
  5. Applications: Named Entity Recognition, Coreference Resolution, text classi cation, toolkits e.g.  Spacy, etc.
  6. Distributional Semantics: distributional hypothesis, vector space models, etc.
  7. Distributed Representations: Neural Networks (NN), Backpropagation, Softmax, Hierarchical Softmax
  8. Word Vectors: Feedforward NN, Word2Vec, GloVE, Contextualization (ELMo etc.), Subword information (FastText, etc.)
  9. Deep Models : RNNs, LSTMs, Attention, CNNs, applications in language, etc.
  10. Sequence to Sequence models : machine translation and other applications
  11. Transformers : BERT, transfer learning and applications



There are no specific references, this course gleans information from a variety of sources like books, research papers, other courses, etc. Relevant references would be suggested in the lectures. Some of the frequent references are as follows:

  1. Speech and Language Processing, Daniel Jurafsky, James H.Martin,
  2. Foundations of Statistical Natural Language Processing, CH Manning, H Schutze
  3. Introduction to Natural Language Processing, Jacob Eisenstein
  4. Natural Language Understanding, James Allen