Computational Linguistics & Phonetics Computational Linguistics & Phonetics Fachrichtung 4.7 Universität des Saarlandes
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1 Postdoctoral position in Automatic Discourse Processing

Saarland University, Saarbruecken, Germany

Deadline for Applications: 24 Dec 2014

The DFG-funded CRC Information Density and Linguistic Encoding (SFB 1102) is pleased to invite applications for a post-doctoral position within the project "Cognitive Modelling of Information Density for Discourse Relations", start date as soon as possible. Applications will be considered as soon as they come in, applications before Oct 13th will be given full consideration.

Postdoctoral researcher: computational linguist or computer scientist

The focus of the work programme of the postdoctoral researcher is on automatic discourse relation identification, from a cognitive perspective. The goal is to build a model of human discourse relation expectations and inference, based on an incremental discourse parser which can generate surprisal estimates over discourse relations at any point in the text. That is, the project is taking an information-theoretic perspective on human language processing, asking how much information is conveyed by each word in a text with respect to the discourse relations present in a text.

Responsibilities include using machine learning methods for obtaining accurate estimates of the discourse relations which may be expected given contextual cues, and implementing the incremental discourse relation surprisal model. Depending on interests, the postdoctoral researcher on this project may also get involved in experimental studies related to linguistic cues that are important for human discourse relation inference, as well as studies that try to establish the psycholinguistic reality of discourse relations, and estimate cognitively meaningful similarities between the different discourse relations.

Requirements: The candidate should have a doctoral degree (by the starting date of the position) in computational linguistics, computer science or a related discipline, and should have extensive experience in using machine learning for NLP problems. An interest in taking a psycholinguistic perspective is desired. The applicant must have good spoken and written proficiency in English.

For further information on the project, see

Saarland University is a leading centre for language research and offers a dynamic and stimulating environment. The new Collaborative Research Center “Information Density and Linguistic Encoding”, which the open positions are part of, supports a broad range of experimental, corpus-based, and cognitive modelling research activities, with over 40 staff. Saarland University also has large established groups working on computational linguistics and psycholinguistics (, as well as the Cluster of Excellence "Multi-modal Computing and Interaction" (, which was formed in partnership with top-ranked research institutions located on the Saarland University campus: Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), and the Computer Science Department at Saarland University. Researchers come from all over the world, and the primary research language is English.
The Department is committed to excellence in teaching, offering an international MSc program in "Language Science and Technology" (taught in English), and well as a BSc in "Computational Linguistics".

The appointments will be made on the German TV-L E13 scale (100% position for postdoctoral researcher; see also Support for travel to conferences is also available. Priority will be given to applications received by December 24, 2014. Any inquiries concerning the post should be directed to the e-mail address below.
Complete applications including: (1) a statement of research interests motivating why you are applying for this position, (2) a full CV with publications, (3) scans of transcripts and academic degree certificates, and (4) the names and e-mail addresses of three referees, should be e-mailed as a single PDF to:

Dr. Vera Demberg
Tel. +49 (0)681 302-70024