LINGUIST List 29.774
Fri Feb 16 2018
Support: Computational Linguistics: PhD, Utrecht University
Editor for this issue: Clare Harshey <clarelinguistlist.org>
Maaike Schoorlemmer <m.schoorlemmer
Computational Linguistics: PhD, Utrecht University,
Netherlands E-mail this
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Department: LLC/UiL OTS
Institution/Organization: Utrecht University
Duties: Research,Project Work
Specialty Areas: Computational Linguistics
The Utrecht Institute of Linguistics (UiL OTS) invites
applications for a PhD position in computational semantics in the research program
‘Forests and Trees: the Formal Semantics of Collective Categorization’, a five-year
research program funded by an ERC Advanced Grant from, led by PI Yoad Winter. The
project aims to investigate the mechanisms underlying our linguistic ability to
conceptualize collections, as exemplified by the sentence “the Rockies are near”
which categorizes a collection of mountains by estimating distance from the nearest
mountain in the Rockies. Collective categorization forms an important probe into the
connections between grammar and the mind, and is crucial for artificial
intelligence. For instance, a command to a domestic robot such as “take those books
out of their packages and arrange them alphabetically on the shelf” requires the
robot to act on individual books while understanding internal relations within the
collection. Spatial collective categorization is also important for natural language
interfaces of Geographic Information Systems.
The research program takes an
interdisciplinary approach and makes use of insights from linguistics and
psychology, and methods from computational linguistics/natural language processing.
The program consists of three work packages: in psycholinguistics, formal semantics
and computational linguistics. This opening concerns a PhD position in the
computational work package, to be carried out with the collaboration of Tejaswini
Deoskar (ILLC/UvA and UU) and Joost Zwarts (UU).
This project makes use of
large language corpora and modern machine learning methods in order to analyse
spatially-based concepts expressed in language (“the Rockies are far”, “the books
are inside the box”, “the soldiers are surrounded”). The project’s methodology
involves an interaction between data-driven machine learning and semantic parsing,
as well as principles in formal semantics for analysing spatially-based collective
categorization. The PhD candidate will have the opportunity to study the above topic
based on their own expertise and research ideas, while keeping to the broad goals of
the project. The project offers collaboration with a broader team of NLP researchers
(Khalil Sima’an, Jelle Zuidema, James Hampton).
should hold, or be about to complete, an excellent Master's degree in computational
linguistics, computational psycholinguistics, artificial intelligence, computer
science, or a related field. Candidates should have a strong background in
artificial intelligence, machine-learning and computer science as well as an
interest in formal semantics. Candidates with an interdisciplinary background are
particularly encouraged to apply. Good programming skills, proficiency in spoken and
written English, as well as a keen interest in problem solving and research are
Tasks for the PhD candidate include:
- completion and
defence of a PhD thesis within four years.
- regular presentation of
intermediate research results at workshops and conferences.
- publication of at
least two peer-reviewed articles in established international journals or conference
- help with organizational tasks connected to the project, such as
the organization of conferences and workshops.
- participation in all training
programmes and expert meetings scheduled for the project.
- participation in
selected training programmes scheduled for the Research Institute, Graduate School
and the National Research School.
For further details about the program, the
research environment and conditions as well as the requirements on candidates and
applications please check the application website.
Web Address for Applications: https://www.uu.nl/en/organisation/working-at-utrecht-university/jobs
Page Updated: 16-Feb-2018