LINGUIST List 6.711

Sun 21 May 1995

FYI: MSc in Textual Computing, Short Term Research Fellowships

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  1. Yorick Wilks, MSc in Textual Computing
  2. Yorick Wilks, Short term research fellowships at Sheffield

Message 1: MSc in Textual Computing

Date: Mon, 15 May 95 15:19:49 BSMSc in Textual Computing
From: Yorick Wilks <>
Subject: MSc in Textual Computing



 Departments of Computer Science and Information Studies

 in collaboration with
 Institute for Language, Speech and Hearing (ILASH)

 United Kingdom

The aims of the course

This one-year MSc programme will provide a sound professional
education in new areas of information technology connected to the
computer processing of written and spoken language and the retrieval
of written information from textual databases. The wide range of
elective courses in the programme means that is it equally appropriate
for graduates with a strong computing background who wish to increase
their knowledge of textual and language-processing techniques and for
graduates in other disciplines who wish to develop their computing
skills in the database area.

The objectives of the course

The programme will provide graduates with a strong academic and
practical grounding in the processing of computerised textual
information. It will hence prepare graduates with the basic skills
they need in today s world of language and information in the media,
electronic publishing, political, economic and scientific information
handling, computer aids to translation, composition, language
learning, legal retrieval and information handling, health and other
counselling systems and business, inter alia. The value-added
components of the MSc will be knowledge of specific text- and
language-processing capabilities for students with a first degree in
computer science and novel computational approaches for those already
familiar with textual information systems.

The programme will also provide an excellent introduction to the
substantial research opportunities that exist in textual and language
computing in the collaborating departments of Information Studies and
Computer Science, with the possibility of subsequent doctoral-level
study in these areas.

The Academic Profile

The Department has a substantial research base in these areas, which
has now resulted in University funding for ILASH: the Institute for
Language Speech and Hearing, with which the MSc is associated. ILASH
has its own machine, premises, support staff and academic staff
attached to it from nine departments. Sheffield is a node on the
EU-funded ELSNET (European Network in Language and Speech) network and
participates in many Europe-wide programmes that give opportunities to
link to work across the Community. We are co-ordinating the 11-
laboratory Human Capital and Mobility (HCM) EU network SPHERE:
'Representations in Speech and Hearing'. We also participate in
EUERASMUS programmes in speech and language where students can
complete their dissertations abroad.


The course steaching will draw on staff in the departments of Computer
Science and Information Studies in the University. The following is a
list of current academic staff connected with the course, together
with their research interests:

Dr. D. Ellis: human factors in the design of computerised information
retrieval systems, patterns and characteristics of information use by
researchers, approaches to information retrieval research, information
retrieval applications of hypertext.

N. J. Ford:
Artificial intelligence and expert systems, the psychology of human
information processing, computer assisted learning.

S. Fowell: information modelling and database systems design,
knowledge based systems and knowledge acquisition methods, information
acquisition strategies and performance modelling of preferential
choice, information skills development and the pedagogic issues
surrounding the use of IT. in teaching and learning.

Dr. R. Gaizauskas: Logical models of natural language texts,
information extraction from corpora.

A. Griffiths: applications of database management systems, designing
large hypermedia systems, Geographical Information Systems.

Dr. M. Hepple: Computational linguistics, grammatical formalisms,
parsing, categorial grammar.

Professor M. Holcombe: Formal models of natural language, formal
models of user modelling.

M. Lloyd-Williams: analysis and design of information systems using
both hard and soft approaches, information systems evaluation, and the
strategic use of information systems. Databases and database design,
particularly the use of object-oriented databases. Knowledge-based
systems and the use of artificial intelligence within the systems
development process. Information management within the health care

Professor M. Lynch: novel methods of representing both textual and
chemical structure information for manipulation, retrieval and
knowledge extraction; chemical patents information systems.

Dr. J. McGregor: User modelling, parsing, prolog, tutoring systems.

Dr. P. McKevitt: Pragmatics, intentions, natural language dialogue,
revision in dialogue, user-computer interfaces, hyper/multimedia, user
modelling, integration of speech, language and vision processing.

R. Minors: Modelling arguments in discourse, illogic of argumentation,
belief modelling.

Dr. A. Sharkey: Connectionist models of language processing, parsing,

Professor N. Sharkey: Connectionist natural language processing.

A. Simons: Machine translation, syntactic, chart and object-orientated parsing.

Professor Y. Wilks: Artificial intelligence, natural language
understanding, belief pragmatics, lexical semantic computation,
grammar induction and parsing, information extraction from corpora.

Professor P. Willett: use of automatic classification techniques for
document retrieval and drug design, application of parallel processing
techniques to information retrieval, best match search algorithms, 3-D
chemical structure searching, protein engineering, natural language

Entrance Requirements

Applicants will normally be expected to have, or be expected to obtain
before joining the programme, a good honours degree in any discipline,
subject to the applicants being able to provide evidence of at least
some competence in computing. The flexible nature of the programme
means that it will be equally appropriate to those with a strong
technical background in computing eg. from an undergraduate
computer-science degree. and to those who have grown familiar with
business-computing packages or done an introductory programming course
during their first degree.

The mode of delivery

One-year, full-time MSc. There is no intention at present to award a
diploma or a certificate for successful completion of part of the
programme, but we will be prepared to conform to University standards
in this respect.

The structure of the course

The programme consists of taught components for the first two
University semesters, followed by a project examined by dissertation.
The taught part of the programme will consist of core modules,
together with elective modules, the choice of which will be approved
by the students' tutors. All of the modules will be based on
material that is already included in the Departments' current MSc and
undergraduate programmes. A range of teaching methods will be
employed, including conventional lectures, small-group seminars, and a
large amount of group work

Semester 1 There will be four required half-modules during the first
semester, each worth 10 credits. These half-modules are as follows
(with the appropriate source and half-module in brackets: COM is
Computer Science and INF is Information Studies).

1. IT for Information Management (INF 301)
2. Information Storage and Retrieval (INF 306)
3. Natural Language Processing I (COM 333)
4. Language and Logic (COM 163, with Psychology)

Semester 2 There will be four half-modules during the second semester,
each worth 10 credits. Three of these half-modules will be required
and one will be an elective selected from a range of topics offered.

The required half-modules will be:
1. Information Storage and Retrieval Research (INF 309)
2. Natural Language Processing II (COM 334)
3. Research Methods And Dissertation Preparation

Both departments are currently developing one-semester, half-modules
that will prepare students for the successful execution of their
dissertation projects. Students will follow either the COM or the INF
Research Methods And Dissertation Preparation course, depending upon
their particular research interests.

Electives will be offered from year to year depending upon the
availability of staff and the trends in research and professional
practice. The advice and approval of the tutor must be sought before
deciding on the choice of elective. Those offered are expected to

1. Research Topics in Language, Speech and Hearing (DD2d)
2. Reasoning and AI (B12)
3. Database Design (INF 305)
4. Health Care Information: Systems and Services (INF 307)
5. Multimedia Information Systems (INF 308)

Dissertation The period from 20th June to 31st August will be devoted
to the preparation of a supervised dissertation. This will count as
two modules, i.e.40 credits, and must be submitted on or before 1st
September. The courses listed above are correct at the time of
writing but may be changed at any time.

Assessment of the course

Students will be required to pass continuous assessment and
examinations for all taught modules, and to produce an acceptable
dissertation. The student must pass each module to obtain the MSc,
but an unsuccessful dissertation can be resubmitted within one year of
the end of the programme. A distinction will be given to students
whose work achieves a grade-point average of 14 points.

Some of the half-modules above will also be offered at the
undergraduate level. The two departments currently have different
policies for the assessment of such mixed courses, but we shall
establish an agreed policy in the near future.


Sheffield is one of the friendliest cities in Britain and is
well-situated, having the best and closest surrounding countryside of
any major city. The Peak District National Park is only minutes away.
It is a good city for walkers, runners, and climbers. It has two
theatres, the Crucible and Lyceum. The Lyceum, a beautiful Victorian
theatre, has recently been renovated. Also, the city has three
mulitplex cinemas. There is a library theatre which shows more
artistic films. The city has a number of museums many of which
demonstrate Sheffield's industrial past, and there are a number of
Galleries in the City, including the Mapping Gallery and Ruskin. A
number of important 'stately homes' are close to Sheffield, such as
Chatsworth House and Hardwicke Hall. Sheffield is served
by a 'supertram' system: the line to the Meadowhall shopping and
leisure complex from the University is already open.

Sheffield has outstanding sporting facilities, many constructed for
the World Student Games in 1991. We have an Olympic standard swimming
pool and sports complex that is regularly used for international
competition. The Sheffield Arena, is becoming an increasingly
important venue for touring rock bands.


Please send enquiries and requests for application forms to:

 Ms. Vanessa Price
 M.Sc. Admissions
 Department of Computer Science
 Regent Court
 211 Portobello Street
 University of Sheffield
 GB- S1 4DP, Sheffield

 Fax: 44 1142 780972
 Phone: 44 1142 825590

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Message 2: Short term research fellowships at Sheffield

Date: Wed, 17 May 95 11:03:44 BSShort term research fellowships at Sheffield
From: Yorick Wilks <>
Subject: Short term research fellowships at Sheffield

University of Sheffield, UK
Department of Computer Science


This department intends to offer a number of short term research
fellowships over the summer to distinguished scholars with areas of
interest close to those of a member of one of our research groups. The
stipend would be about US$4000 (2500 pounds) including fares to
Sheffield etc. Those interested can consult the department's WWW

The department's four research groups are as follows:

 Formal Methods and Software Engineering

Telematics, Formal Specification, Verification and Testing, Object-Oriented
Languages and Design, Proof Theory.

 Parallel Processing

Parallel Database Machines, Parallel CASE Tools, Safety-Critical systems.

 Artificial Intelligence and Neural Networks

Natural Language Processing (including corpus and lexically based methods,
information extraction and pragmatics), Neural Networks, Computer Graphics,
Intelligent Tutoring Systems, Robotics, Computer Argumentation.

 Speech and Hearing

Auditory Scene Analysis, Models of Auditory Perception, Automatic Speech

More details can also be obtained from world-wide-web address

Enquires and applications should be made through a member of the department
known to the applicant or to the Director of Research:
Professor Yorick Wilks, email
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