Everything You Always Wanted to Know About NLP but Were Afraid to Ask

09:00 AM - 09:55 AM on July 17, 2016, Room CR7

Steven Butler and Max Schwartz

Audience level:


Natural language processing can be a daunting field to dive into for a beginner. The need for a working knowledge of machine learning, statistics, linguistic theory, and data management techniques can seem like a high bar to meet for a person who just wants to write a Twitter bot, so our aim is to give a crash-course in the basic ideas and tools people might need to get started building something cool. We will cover core concepts in linguistics and explain how Python can be used to analyze, interpret, and even mimic natural language.


This talk will provide an overview of the theory and tools needed to get started for Python programmers with little-to-no experience with natural language programming, and will be co-presented by Steven Butler and Max Schwartz. Topics discussed will include n-gram language models, part-of-speech tagging, syntactic parsing, morphological segmentation, and other tasks related to text-based natural language processing. Linguistic topics will include core areas of linguistic theory like syntax, semantics, and morphology. Tools and resources demonstrated will include Python’s Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK), WordNet, and several general-purpose language corpora.

Participants will be encouraged to explore example code during the presentation. Our goal is to provide a foundation in NLP on a conceptual level, with the goal that participants will have enough information to begin implementing these ideas in their own projects.