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Natural Language Processing Fall 2018

Imagine a world where you can pick up a phone and talk in English, while at the other end of the line your words are spoken in Chinese. Imagine a computer animated representation of yourself speaking fluently what you have written in an email. Imagine automatically uncovering protein/drug interactions in petabytes of medical abstracts. Imagine feeding a computer an ancient script that no living person can read, then listening as the computer reads aloud in this dead language. Imagine a computer that can do better than humans at answering questions.

Natural Language Processing is the automatic analysis of human languages such as English, Korean, and thousands of others analyzed by computer algorithms. Unlike artificially created programming languages where the structure and meaning of programs is easy to encode, human languages provide an interesting challenge, both in terms of its analysis and the learning of language from observations.


Teaching Assistants

  • Ashkan Alinejad, aalineja
  • Nadia Ghobadipasha, nghobadi
  • Yilong (Jetic) Gu, jeticg
  • Nishant Kambhatla, nkambhat
  • Sayyedhassan Shavarani, sshavara

Asking for help

  • Ask for help on the discussion board
  • Instructor office hours: Thu 9:45-10:45 TASC1 9427
  • TA office hours: Mon 1pm-2pm (Ashkan), Wed 1pm-2pm (Nishant), Thu 1pm-2pm (Jetic). Location: ASB 9816
  • No emails to the TAs and strictly emails about personal matters to the instructor
  • Use only SFU email address and use cmpt413: or cmpt825: (for ugrad and grad respectively) as subject prefix

Time and place

  • Tue 4:30-5:20 WMC 3520
  • Thu 3:30-5:20 WMC 3520
  • Last day of classes: Dec 3, 2018



  • No required textbook. Online readings provided in Syllabus.


  • Submit homework source code and check your grades on Coursys
  • Programming setup homework: HW0 due on Sep 18, 2018 (2%)
  • Four programming homeworks. Due dates: HW1 on Oct 2, 2018, HW2 on Oct 16, 2018, HW3 on Nov 6, 2018, HW4 on Nov 20, 2018 (12% each)
  • In class midterm: Oct 30, 2018 (20%)
  • Final project: Due on Dec 10, 2018 2pm-5pm (30%)