Bourses: University of Edinburgh PhD STUDENTSHIP

alexis nasr alexis.nasr at
Mon Jun 11 16:30:22 UTC 2001

Division of Informatics and Human Communication Research Centre,
University of Edinburgh

PhD STUDENTSHIP for February 1st 2002.

Application deadline: July 15th 2001.
Applications received after this deadline may be considered, but this
cannot be guaranteed.

The Institute of Communicating and Collaborative Systems (ICCS) within the
Division of Informatics and the Human Communication Research Centre (HCRC)
invites applications for a three-year EPSRC studentship award to
commence in February 2002. The successful applicant will work on a
project entitled "Robust Pragmatics for Narrative Text".  A summary of
the aims of this project are as follows:



The proposed project is concerned with the design, implementation and
evaluation of a system that analyses the discourse structure of
narrative text and the temporal order of its events.

BROAD COVERAGE: Existing approaches recognise discourse
structure only when signalled by discourse connectives.  We'll
broaden coverage to cases where such cues are absent
by developing a probabilistic model of discourse
structure from large language corpora.

ROBUSTNESS: Computing rhetorical relations is a knowledge intensive
task driven primarily by pragmatic information. Our aim is to use
data-intensive methodologies to automatically approximate this
information from large language corpora, and therefore to produce a
fully automatic system.

ENGINEERING: Existing language technology, with a few notable
exceptions, tends to take either a symbolic or a probabilistic
approach to semantics.  We aim to interface a probabilistic component
with a symbolic one, proposing a novel approach to the demanding task
of semantic interpretation which is both robust and linguistically


Applicants should have a good honours degree or equivalent in Computer
Science, Computational Linguistics or Linguistics.  Applicants with
strong programming skills (e.g., Perl, C++, Java) and expertise in any
of the following will be preferred:

o   Statistical modelling
o   Semantic theories of tense and aspect
o   Theories of discourse structure
o   Pragmatics (in particular, speech act theory and implicatures)

The EPSRC baseline rate of maintenance is currently approx. 7,500
pounds, and the studentship will also pay the three years' tuition
fees at home/EU rates.

ICCS and HCRC have close research links with a number of other
academic institutions (e.g., Universitat Saarlandes, DFKI, Stanford
University) and companies from which the student will benefit.  For
more information about ICCS and HCRC, see the following home pages:

Information about students, the PhD Programme, and how to apply for a
PhD can be found by following the various links from the following URL:

Please note that applicants must fill in the faculty's postgraduate
application form, which is available online from the above URL.

If we already have your application on file for consideration for a
PhD commencing October 2001, you do not need to apply again.

Deadline for applications: July 15th 2001
Applications received after this deadline may be considered, but this
cannot be guaranteed.

For additional advice and information on how to apply for this PhD
studentship, please contact:

   Admissions Chair
   The Graduate School
   Division of Informatics
   The University of Edinburgh
   2, Buccleuch Place,
   Edinburgh, EH3 5AZ,
   Scotland, UK

   Email: phd-admissions at
   Tel:   +44 131 650 5156
   Fax:   +44 131 667 7209

PLEASE MARK "Robust Pragmatics for Narrative Text" ON THE APPLICATION.

For additional information on the project "Robust Pragmatics for
Narrative Text", please contact:

   Alex Lascarides
   Division of Informatics
   The University of Edinburgh
   2 Buccleuch Place
   EH8 9LW

   Email: alex at
   Tel:   +44 131 650 4428
   Fax:   +44 131 650 6626
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