Natural Language Understanding

Spring Semester 2019

This course presents an introduction to general topics and techniques used in natural language processing today, primarily focusing on statistical approaches. The course provides an overview of the primary areas of research in language processing as well as a detailed exploration of the models and techniques used both in research and in commercial natural language systems.

The objective of the course is to learn the basic concepts in the statistical processing of natural languages. The course will be project-oriented so that the students can also gain hands-on experience with state-of-the-art tools and techniques.

Course Catalogue Info


18/03/2019 Project 1 is online.
17/02/2019 The webpage for this year's course is online.
17/02/2019 Lectures start on Monday - February 18th!

Course Overview

1 18.02.2019 Introduction, Organizational Info lecture01 No Exercise
2 25.02.2019 Part-of-Speech, Named-Entity Recognition, IE lecture02 exercise01
3 04.03.2019 Language Models lecture03 assignment02 prog_assignment02 tutorial_notes02 solution02 sol_prog_assignment02
4 11.03.2019 Lexical Semantics, Word Embeddings lecture04 assignment03 tutorial_notes03 solution03
5 18.03.2019 Sentiment Analysis/Embeddings lecture05 project01 exercise04
6 25.03.2019 Machine Translation lecture06 assignment05 tutorial_notes05 prog_assignment05 solution05 prog_assignment_solution05
7 01.04.2019 Grammars and Parsing, Part I lecture07 exercise06 assignment06 solution06
8 08.04.2019 Sechselauten No Lecture No Exercise
9 15.04.2019 Grammars and Parsing, Part II lecture08 exercise07 assignment07 solution07
10 22.04.2019 Easter Holidays No Lecture No Exercise
11 29.04.2019 No Lecture exercise08 assignment08 solution08
12 06.05.2019 Text Summarization project02 exercise09
13 13.05.2019 Conversational Agents, Part I
14 20.05.2019 Conversational Agents, Part II lecture11
15 27.05.2019 Question Answering lecture12 assignment10 solution10


Monday 10 - 12 h CAB G 11

Exercises (starting february 25)

Monday 13 - 14 h HG E 5


Each exercise session will provide you with a a pen-and-paper problem and discussion of the solution in the session. These problems help solidify theory presented in the lecture and identify areas of lack of understanding.


Based on the topics covered, you will be given two projects to be developed during the semester. For each of the projects, students must work in small groups of 3-4 students.

Project 1 description is available here
Project 2 description is available here

Written Exam

The mode of examination is written, 120 minutes length. The language of examination is English. No written aids are allowed for the exam. A sample exam can be found: here.


Your final grade will be determined by the written final exam (70%) and the semester projects (30%).

Recordings of the Lectures

Will be linked here when available


You can ask questions on piazza. Please post questions there, so others can see them and share in the discussion.

If you have questions which are not of general interest, please don't hesitate to contact us directly.

Lecturer Dr. Massimiliano Ciaramita
Lecturer Prof. Thomas Hofmann
Head Assistant Paulina Grnarova
Assistants Florian Schmidt, Gary Becigneul, Leonard Adolphs, Jakob Jakob, Zhang Yeyao, Benjamin Gallusser, Ondrej Skopek


Speech and Language Processing - An Introduction to Natural Language Processing, Computational Linguistics, and Speech Recognition (Second Edition), by Daniel Jurafsky and James H. Martin