LINGUIST List 29.2088

Tue May 15 2018

Support: Computational Linguistics: PhD, Utrecht University

Editor for this issue: Becca Morris <>

Date: 15-May-2018
From: Yoad Winter <>
Subject: Computational Linguistics: PhD, Utrecht University, Netherlands
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Department: Utrecht Institute of Linguistics (UiL OTS)
Level: PhD

Institution/Organization: Utrecht University

Specialty Areas: Computational Linguistics


PhD position in Data-Driven Computational Semantics and Geographic Information Systems (1.0 FTE)

The Utrecht Institute of Linguistics (UiL OTS) invites applications for a PhD position in data-driven computational semantics. The project will use large corpora and machine learning methods to acquire meanings of spatially-based concepts, which will be used as part of a natural language interface to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The project will enrich an initial model of spatial meanings (Kracht 2002, Mani & Pustejovsky 2012, Zwarts & Winter 2000) with a selected set of semantic, syntactic, and pragmatic parameters. To train this model, the project will acquire a large dataset of language use with spatial language, including ordinary texts and expert interactions with GIS. These data will be employed for training and evaluating the initial model. This novel combination of semantic representation, data-driven learning and evaluation against a real-life problem is expected to substantially advance the ability of users to interact with geographic databases.
The project will be supervised by Dr. Tejaswini Deoskar and Prof. Yoad Winter, in collaboration with Dr. Joost Zwarts and NLP researchers from the Language and Computation group at the ILLC, University of Amsterdam (Prof. Khalil Sima’an, Dr. Jelle Zuidema). The empirical study of elicited user data will be carried out in collaboration with Prof. James Hampton (Psychology, City, University of London). Work at the UiL OTS will be part of the ROCKY project, financed by an ERC Advanced grant to Prof. Yoad Winter.

Kracht, M., 2002. On the semantics of locatives. Linguistics and Philosophy, 25(2), pp.157-232.
Mani, I. and Pustejovsky, J., 2012. Interpreting motion: Grounded representations for spatial language. Oxford U.P.
Zwarts, J. and Winter, Y., 2000. Vector space semantics: A model-theoretic analysis of locative prepositions. Journal of logic, language and information, 9(2), pp.169-211.

- The successful applicant for this position should have a strong background in artificial intelligence, machine-learning and computer science as well as an interest in formal semantics.
- Applicants should ideally hold, or be about to complete, an excellent Master's degree in Computational Linguistics or a related domain (Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and/or Computer Science).
- Good programming skills, proficiency in spoken and written English, as well as a keen interest in problem solving and research are essential.

Application details and additional information:
Look up the job ad at:
For more information, please contact the Project Director (Yoad Winter) or the Research Coordinator at UiL OTS (Maaike Schoorlemmer) .

Apply online through the link provided below.

Interviews will be held during the week starting June 25, 2018.

Applications Deadline: 17-Jun-2018

Mailing Address for Applications:
        Attn: Maaike Schoorlemmer

Web Address for Applications:

Contact Information:
        Maaike Schoorlemmer
        Dept:Utrecht Institute of Linguistics (UiL OTS)

Page Updated: 15-May-2018