PhD position in Computational Linguistics and Machine Learning, Saarland University

* Computational Linguistics and Machine Learning
* Saarland University, Saarbruecken, Germany
Cluster of Excellence “Multimodal Computing and Interaction”
* Position open from 1 September 2011
(earlier or later start dates are negotiable)
* Application deadline: 15 April 2011


Applications are invited for a PhD position in Computational Linguistics and
Machine Learning. The research will be focused on statistical methods for
inducing structured semantic representation using labelled and unlabelled
data, and different types of prior linguistic knowledge. The goal of this
project is to develop a wide-coverage semantic parser useful for a variety
of natural language processing tasks including question answering,
information extraction and textual entailment. The methods used in this
project will be based on recent advances in non-parametric Bayesian models
for structured prediction and techniques for injecting prior knowledge in
models with latent variables. The prospective student will be co-supervised
by Dr. Caroline Sporleder (
and Dr. Ivan Titov (
Additional linguistic expertise will be provided by Dr. Alexis Palmer


Saarland University is a European leader in Computer Science research and
teaching, and is especially renowned for its research in Computational
Linguistics and Natural Language Processing. The groups of Caroline
Sporleder and Ivan Titov are a part of the interdisciplinary MMCI Cluster of
Excellence formed in partnership with top-ranked research institutions
located on the Saarland University campus: Max Planck Institute for Computer
Science, Max Planck Institute for Software Systems and German Research
Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). Researchers come from all over
the world and the research language is English.

The city of Saarbruecken is in the south-west of Germany, close to
France and Luxembourg. Thanks to its proximity to France and its many
students who come from all over the world, it is a very international
city with a lot of French savoir-vivre. Both Paris and Frankfurt can
be reached by train in under two hours. Luxembourg, and the beautiful
French cities of Strasbourg, Nancy, and Metz are also very close by
(1-2 hours by train). The region around Saarbruecken is renowned for
its nature and its mild climate, which makes it an important
wine-growing region. It also boasts several UNESCO World Heritage
Sites (the Voelklinger Huette Ironworks, the Roman-founded city of
Trier, the historic centre of Strasbourg, and the Old Quarters and
Fortifications of Luxembourg).


The ideal candidate for the PhD position should have a masters degree in
computer science or computational linguistics. Some background in machine
learning and computational linguistics is desirable. Minimally, the
candidate should have prior exposure to statistical natural language
processing or strong background in machine learning. The candidate should
also have strong interest in linguistically-motivated statistical models of
language. An excellent academic record, analytical skills and a clear
aptitude for autonomous, creative research will be priority selection

The candidates should have strong programming skills as well as excellent
verbal and written communication skills in English.

The salary and social benefits are according to Germany’s public sector TVL
E13 scale, approximately 40,000 Euro p.a. (before taxes), depending on
qualifications and professional experience. The candidate will have the
opportunity of pursuing a doctoral degree at Saarland University.


The applications should include:

* CV
* brief statement of research interests
* 2-3 references (with email and phone number)
* academic transcript
* list of publications (if any)
* a sample of strongest publications or course work (e.g., Master thesis,
term papers): 1 – 2 papers
Applications (preferably, in a single PDF file) and inquiries should be
directed by email to: Ivan Titov, titov(at)

The position is open until filled. Applications received before April 15
will receive full consideration. The starting date is September 1, 2011 (a
later or earlier starting date is negotiable).

Saarland University wishes to increase the proportion of women in research
and strongly encourages qualified female candidates to apply. Priority will
be given to handicapped candidates with equivalent qualifications.


Cluster of Excellence MMCI:
Saarland University:
The city of Saarbruecken:
The region: