Nov 7th 2016

Introduction to Natural Language Processing (Coursera)

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This course provides an introduction to the field of Natural Language Processing. It includes relevant background material in Linguistics, Mathematics, Probabilities, and Computer Science. Some of the topics covered in the class are Text Similarity, Part of Speech Tagging, Parsing, Semantics, Question Answering, Sentiment Analysis, and Text Summarization.

The course includes quizzes, programming assignments in Python, and a final exam.

Course Syllabus:


Week One: Introduction 1/2

In Week One, you will be watching an introductory lecture that covers the motivation for NLP, examples of difficult cases, as well as the first part of the Introduction to Linguistics needed for this class.

Graded: Quiz 1


Week Two: Introduction 2/2

Week Two will cover Parts of Speech, Morphology, Text Similarity, and Text Preprocessing. I will also introduce NACLO, the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (, a competition for high school students interested in NLP and Linguistics.

Graded: Quiz 2 (note that this quiz refers to some material taught in Week Three)


Week Three: NLP Tasks and Text Similarity

Week Three will cover Vector Semantics, Text Similarity, and Dimensionality Reduction. I will also go through a long list of sample NLP tasks (e.g., Information Extraction, Text Summarization, and Semantic Role Labeling) and introduce each of them briefly.

Graded: Quiz 3


Week Four: Syntax and Parsing, Part 1

Week Four will cover the basics of Syntax and Parsing, including CKY parsing and the Earley parser.

Graded: Quiz 4


Week Five: Syntax and Parsing, Part 2

Week Five will continue with topics related to parsing, including Statistical, Lexicalized, and Dependency Parsing as well as Noun Sequence Parsing, Prepositional Phrase Attachment, and Alternative Grammatical Formalisms.

Graded: Quiz 5

Graded: Dependency Parsing - you can start this assignment now


Week Six: Language Modeling

Week Six will cover Probabilities, Language Modeling, and Word Sense Disambiguation (WSD). The first two, along with some material coming up in Week Seven, will be the basis for Assignment 2. The WSD unit will be needed later for Assignment 3.

Graded: Quiz 6

Graded: Language Modeling and Part of Speech Tagging - you can start this assignment now


Week Seven: Part of Speech Tagging and Information Extraction

Week Seven includes the Noisy Channel Model, Hidden Markov Models, Part of Speech Tagging (all needed for the second programming assignment) and a short introduction to Information Extraction.

Graded: Quiz 7

Graded: Word Sense Disambiguation - you can start this assignment now


Week Eight: Question Answering

Week Eight covers different topics related to Question Answering, including Question Type Classification and Evaluation of Question Answering Systems.

Graded: Quiz 8


Week Nine: Text Summarization

Week Nine covers Text Summarization and related topics such as Sentence Compression.

Graded: Quiz 9


Week Ten: Collocations and Information Retrieval

Week Ten covers Information Retrieval (including Document Indexing, Ranking, Evaluation), Text Classification and Text Clustering, as well as a short lecture on Collocations.

Graded: Quiz 10


Week Eleven: Sentiment Analysis and Semantics

Week Eleven covers Semantics and related topics such as Sentiment Analysis, Semantic Parsing, and Knowledge Representation.


Week Twelve: Discourse, Machine Translation, and Generation (Includes Final Exam)

Week Twelve briefly covers Discourse Analysis, Dialogue, Machine Translation, and Text Generation.

Graded: Final Exam