Linguistics 545
Computation and Linguistic Analysis
Spring 2010

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 these 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.

Some details

Meeting time: MW 1:00-2:15pm
Classroom: Lindley Hall (LH) 030
Course website:
Credits: 3
Course prerequisites: None (open to all upper class and graduate students)

Instructor: Markus Dickinson
Office: Memorial Hall (MM) 317
Phone: (812) 856-2535
E-mail: (remove famous musician name)
Office hours: (at least for the first week)

T 12:00-1:00pm
F 11:00am-12:00pm
  or by appointment


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;


Month Date Topic Reading Assignments
Jan. 11 Intro to class (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 1  
  13 Regular expressions & Automata (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 2  
  18 No class, MLK Day    
  20 Regular expressions & Automata    
  25 Morphology (.ppt) ch. 3  
  27 Finite-State Transducers (FSTs)   HW1 due
Feb. 1 Composition (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) Roark&Sproat, ch. 2  
  3 N-grams (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 4 HW2 due
  8 Part-of-speech (POS) tagging (.ppt) ch. 5, 6.1-6.4  
  10 Basics of set theory (.pdf, 2x3.pdf)    
  15 Context-Free Grammars (CFGs) (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 12 HW3 due
  17 CFGs & Parsing (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 13  
  22 CFGs & Parsing    
  24 More on chart parsing   HW4 due
Mar. 1 Unification-based parsing (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 15  
  3 Unification-based parsing    
  8 Grammar complexity (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 16 HW5 due
  10 Definite clause grammars    
  22 Partial parsing sec. 13.5  
24 Dependency parsing    
  29 Probabilistic parsing (.ppt) ch. 14 HW6 due
  31 Semantics (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 17  
Apr. 5 Semantics    
  7 Semantic analysis ch. 18 HW7 due
  12 Semantic analysis    
  14 Lexical semantics (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 19  
  19 Word Sense Disambiguation ch. 20  
  21 Word Sense Disambiguation   HW8 due
  26 Project Presentations    
  28 Project Presentations    
May 3 (M) Written projects due, 5pm    


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