Open positions

Postdoc in Computational Linguistics

The Department of Language Science and Technology at Saarland University (Saarbrücken, Germany) is pleased to invite applications for a

Postdoc (E13 100%) in Computational Linguistics

Start date: September 2019 (or later)
Duration: Three years, can be extended
Application deadline: 15 August 2019 or until filled

The position is part of the research group on Computational Linguistics (Prof. Dr. Alexander Koller). It is flexible with respect to topic, and very suitable for a young researcher who would like to develop their own research agenda. Topics of interest to our research group include:

  • semantic and syntactic parsing
  • dialogue
  • natural language generation
  • semantics-based question answering

Current projects with third-party funding concern semantic parsing with a combination of compositional and neural methods (we currently hold the state of the art across multiple graphbanks); the induction of world knowledge from corpora; and interactive natural language generation in Minecraft. A willingness and ability to contribute to these projects would be a plus.

The position comes with a teaching load of four hours per week in the BSc Computational Linguistics (German), the MSc Language Science and Technology (English), or the Erasmus Mundus MSc Language and Communication Technologies (English). The department attracts an excellent crowd of students; in the MSc programs, the majority is from abroad. Nonetheless, the ability to teach in German is a plus.

Requirements:

A successful candidate should hold, or be about to complete, a PhD in computational linguistics, computer science, or a related discipline, and should have demonstrated an expertise in a relevant area of research through high-quality publications. The applicant must be proficient in English (spoken and written).

The position could theoretically also be filled with a PhD student, who would then be paid according to the E13 75% salary scale. In this case, the requirement is an MSc in computational linguistics, computer science, or a related discipline. Relevant expertise in one of the areas listed above is desired. The applicant must be proficient in English (spoken and written).

About the department:

Saarland University is one of the leading centers for computational linguistics in Europe, and offers a dynamic and stimulating research environment. The Department of Language Science and Technology organizes about 100 research staff in ten research groups in the fields of computational linguistics, psycholinguistics, speech processing, and corpus linguistics. The department participates in the Collaborative Research Center 1102 "Information Density and Linguistic Encoding".

The department collaborates closely with top-ranked research institutions on the Saarland University campus, including the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), and the Computer Science Department at Saarland University. All of these institutions are part of the Saarland Informatics Campus, which brings together 800 researchers and 1900 students from 81 countries.

Our researchers and students come from all over the world, and our primary working language is English.

How to apply:

Please submit your application at http://apply.coli.uni-saarland.de/ak19b.

Include a single PDF file with the following information:

  1. a statement of research interests that motivates why you are applying for this position and what your research plans are;
  2. a full CV including your list of publications;
  3. scans of transcripts and academic degree certificates;
  4. the names, affiliations, and e-mail addresses of two people who can provide letters of reference for you.

Priority will be given to applications received by August 15, 2019. Saarland University is an equal opportunity employer. Applications of women are strongly encouraged; applications of disabled persons will be given preferential treatment to those of other candidates with equal qualifications.

If you have further questions, please email me (see my homepage for contact details). Applications should not be sent by email, but submitted through the online form.


PhD Student in Computational Linguistics (script knowledge)

The Collaborative Research Center "Information Density and Linguistic Encoding" (SFB 1102) at Saarland University (Saarbrücken, Germany) is pleased to invite applications for a

PhD Student (E13 75%)
Learning script knowledge from texts

Start date: September 2019 (or later)
Duration: Three years, can be extended
Application deadline: 15 August 2019 or until filled

The position is part of Project A3 (PIs: Stefan Thater, Alexander Koller, and Vera Demberg). The goal of this project is to learn formalized script knowledge -- a specific type of commonsense knowledge about prototypical sequences of events -- from data, and to use it to improve algorithms for natural language processing and our understanding of linguistic encoding choice and interpretation in human communication. In the first phase of the project, we used crowdsourcing techniques to learn script knowledge.

In the next phase, we will develop wide coverage methods that allows script representations to be learned directly from raw data. We will develop NLP systems which process arbitrary texts, detect the script events that they describe (even implicitly), measure their information density (conditioned on script knowledge), and draw script-based inferences from them.

In a second line of research, we will add a deeper level of knowledge to our script representations by connecting events to their preconditions and effects. This will allow us to model the (in)coherence of texts in terms of long-term effects of script events; we will measure the accuracy of these models in a novel story generation task.

Both of these lines of work will feed into empirical research in which we will measure what events experimental subjects infer from a story, and which events can be left out without making the story seem incoherent. We will build upon our wide-coverage models of script knowledge with preconditions and effects to develop quantitative cognitive models of linguistic encoding, extending the RSA model beyond toy domains for the first time.

Requirements

Candidates for this position should have completed, or be about to complete, an MSc degree in computational linguistics or computer science or a related discipline. A strong background in machine learning (including neural networks), excellent programming skills, and very good working knowledge of English are expected.

About the department

The project is part of the Collaborative Research Center 1102 at Saarland University, which includes 16 research projects in the areas of computational linguistics, psycholinguistics, and theoretical linguistics. The CRC's research projects jointly address the hypothesis that language variation and language use can be better understood in terms of a speaker's desire to rationally distribute information across the linguistic signal. More specifically, a wide range of linguistic, psycholinguistic and computational methods will be brought to bear in explaining the multitude of choices speakers make when they encode their messages - from the choice of words, structuring of syntactic elements, and arranging sentences in discourse.

Saarland University is one of the leading centers for computational linguistics in Europe, and offers a dynamic and stimulating research environment. The Department of Language Science and Technology organizes about 100 research staff in ten research groups in the fields of computational linguistics, psycholinguistics, speech processing, and corpus linguistics. The department collaborates closely with top-ranked research institutions on the Saarland University campus, including the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), and the Computer Science Department at Saarland University. All of these institutions are part of the Saarland Informatics Campus, which brings together 800 researchers and 1900 students from 81 countries.

Our researchers and students come from all over the world, and our primary working language is English.

How to apply

Please submit your application at http://apply.coli.uni-saarland.de/a3_2019.

Include a single PDF file with the following information:

  1. a statement of research interests that motivates why you are applying for this position and what your research plans are;
  2. a full CV including your list of publications;
  3. scans of transcripts and academic degree certificates;
  4. the names, affiliations, and e-mail addresses of two people who can provide letters of reference for you.

Priority will be given to applications received by August 15, 2019. Saarland University is an equal opportunity employer. Applications of women are strongly encouraged; applications of disabled persons will be given preferential treatment to those of other candidates with equal qualifications.

If you have further questions, please email me (see my homepage for contact details). Applications should not be sent by email, but submitted through the online form.