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Natural Language Processing Fall 2019

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

  • Yilong (Jetic) Gu, jeticg, Office hour: Wednesdays 3:30-4:30pm. Location: ASB 9816.
  • Nishant Kambhatla, nkambhat, Office hour: Tuesdays, 9:30-10:30am. Location: ASB 9816.
  • Hassan Shavarani,, Office hour: Tuesdays, 12:00-01:00pm. Location: ASB 9808.

Asking for help

  • Ask for help on the discussion board
  • Instructor office hours: Thu 9:30-10:30am TASC1 9427
  • 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 BLU 9660
  • Thu 3:30-5:20 BLU 9660
  • Last day of classes: Dec 3, 2019



  • 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 17, 2019 (2%)
  • Four programming homeworks. Due dates: HW1 on Oct 1, 2019, HW2 on Oct 15, 2019, HW3 on Nov 7, 2019, HW4 on Nov 21, 2019 (10% each)
  • In class midterm: Oct 22, 2019 (25%)
  • Participation: Helping other students on the discussion board in a positive way (5%)
  • Final Project Proposal: Due on Nov 12, 2019 (5%)
  • Final Project: Due on Dec 9, 2019, 3pm (23%)
  • Final Project Poster Session:
    • Time: Dec 9, 2019, 3pm Poster session: Dec 8, 2019. 4pm-5:30pm (Session 1) and 5:30pm-7pm (Session 2).
    • Location: Fairmont Waterfront.
    • Poster session assignments: Session 1 and Session 2