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The National University of Singapore: Natural Language Processing: Foundations

Learn the foundations of how computers understand processing and produce human languages – Natural Language Processing (NLP), a science at the intersection of computer science, artificial intelligence and linguistics.

4 weeks
4–6 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

About this course

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Every day, our computers and phones correct our spelling, curate our social media, or translate news articles for us. But have you ever wondered how these applications work on a basic level? It turns out that these are often really difficult tasks. The branch of computer science working on solutions is called Natural Language Processing – or NLP for short. At the end of this four-week course, you will be equipped with a solid understanding of how to work with text – that is, with written language. You’ll have the foundation to go forth and explore both traditional, time-tested approaches as well as the exciting, modern advanced approaches using deep learning. Putting all of this together, you’ll extend your reach in NLP through two assignments: to create your own text classification application and a generative, text suggestion system, like autocomplete, two very practical NLP applications that all of us use everyday.

The instructor team has over 30 years of experience with natural language processing. Min has led research on NLP at NUS for over 20 years and has a well-known track record of publishing research work in NLP, digital libraries and information retrieval. He has also been part of the executive board of the ACL, the premier organization supporting NLP research worldwide. Chris has published multiple papers in the area of social media and text analysis. At NUS, he now teaches natural language processing, text and data mining, and database systems to graduate and undergraduate students. Both Chris and Min have won awards for teaching at NUS and have received strong student feedback in their teaching of the NLP course at NUS.

At a glance

  • Institution: NUS
  • Subject: Computer Science
  • Level: Introductory
  • Prerequisites:
    • Probability and Statistics, Introductory Level
    • Python Programming, Intermediate Level
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English

What you'll learn

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  • Understand why Natural Language Processing is so challenging for computers
  • Learn how to process natural language into representations suitable for computers.
  • Master language models, which assign probabilities to word sequences.
  • Build text classification programs through two different classification paradigms
  • Week 1: What is NLP?
    What exactly is NLP, and why is it so important? What makes NLP so hard?

  • Week 2: Words
    Introduction to natural language representation as words, through the tools of regular expressions and minimum edit distance.

  • Week 3: Language Models
    Introduction to language models, which help to compute the similarities between natural language strings and predict their completions.

  • Week 4: Text Classification
    Discuss how to design text classification features and how to use them in logistic regression and naïve Bayes classification methods.

Learner testimonials

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These testimonials are for the related CS4248 Natural Language Processing course from which this course is adapted from at NUS:

“I really appreciated the assignment and project–based aspect of the module, because that allowed me to focus on the learning aspect of the content rather than the relentless pursuit of grade optimization deadline after deadline. This module has been a very enjoyable one and a great learning journey.”

“I can systematically learn the knowledge of NLP from this course. This course provides enough materials and practices. Besides, it also teaches us how to explore this area by ourselves after the lecture.”

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners residing in one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

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