Linguistics 545
Computation and Linguistic Analysis
Spring 2008

Course goals

This course will introduce students to computational linguistics (CL) and natural language processing (NLP), a field combining insights from linguistics and computer science. The course is concerned with concepts, models, and algorithms to interpret, generate, and learn natural languages, as well as applications of NLP.

We will look at the different levels of linguistic analysis: morphology, morpho-syntax, syntax, and lexical semantics. In so doing, we will move from simple representations of language, such as finite-state techniques and n-gram analysis, to more advanced representations, such as those found in context-free and unification-based parsing. Emphasis will be placed on parsing techniques in this course.

Instructor: Markus Dickinson
Office: Memorial Hall (MM) 317)
Phone: (812) 856-2535
E-mail: md7 AT edu.indiana (flipped around)
Office hours:

M 11:00am-12:00pm
W 1:30-2:30pm
  or by appointment

Meeting time: TR 1:00-2:15pm
Classroom: Lindley Hall (LH) 030
Course website:

Credits: 3
Course prerequisites: None (open to all upper class and graduate students)


And if you want some background reading on ...

Course requirements:

Grading scale

(Scores in percentages)

A 93-100 B+ 87-89 C+ 77-79 D+ 67-69 F 0-59
A- 90-92 B 83-86 C 73-76 D 60-66    
    B- 80-82 C- 70-72        

Academic Misconduct:

Academic misconduct is not allowed in this course. The Indiana University Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct ( defines academic misconduct as ``any activity that tends to undermine the academic integrity of the institution . . . Academic misconduct may involve human, hard-copy, or electronic resources . . . Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to . . . cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, interference, violation of course rules, and facilitating academic misconduct'' (II. G.1-6).

Students with Disabilities:

Students who need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me to arrange an appointment as soon as possible to discuss the course format, to anticipate needs, and to explore potential accommodations.

I rely on Disability Services for Students for assistance in verifying the need for accommodations and developing accommodation strategies. Students who have not previously contacted Disability Services are encouraged to do so (812-855-7578;

Tentative Schedule:

Month Date Day Topic Reading Assignments
Jan. 8 T Intro to class (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 1  
  10 R Regular expressions & Automata (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 2  
  15 T Regular expressions & Automata    
  17 R Morphology (.ppt) ch. 3  
  22 T Finite-State Transducers (FSTs)   HW1 due
  24 R N-grams (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 6  
  29 T N-grams    
  31 R Part-of-speech (POS) tagging (.ppt) ch. 8 HW2 due
Feb. 5 T POS tagging app. D  
  7 R POS tagging    
  12 T Basics of set theory (.pdf, 2x3.pdf)   HW3 due
  14 R Grammar complexity (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 13  
  19 T Context-Free Grammars (CFGs) (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 9  
  21 R CFGs    
  26 T CFGs & Parsing (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 10 HW4 due
  28 R CFGs & Parsing    
Mar. 4 T More on chart parsing    
  6 R Definite clause grammars (.pdf, 2x3.pdf)   HW5 due
  18 T Dependency parsing (.pdf)    
  20 R Dependency parsing    
  25 T Unification-based parsing (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 11  
  27 R Unification-based parsing    
Apr. 1 T Unification-based parsing   HW6 due
  3 R No class    
  8 T Probabilistic parsing (.ppt) ch. 14  
  9 W (Optional) Practical session: 2:30-3:45pm, MM401    
  10 R Probabilistic parsing HW7 due
  15 T Partial parsing (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 10.5, Abney 1991  
  17 R Semantic parsing (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 15  
  18 F (Optional) Practical session: 12:30-1:45pm, MM401    
  22 T Project Presentations   HW8 due
  24 R Project Presentations    
May 1 R Written projects due   5pm

And here's a page of potentially useful links that we discussed in class.


This syllabus is subject to change. All important changes will be made in writing, with ample time for adjustment.