[JOB] PhD student position on PDTB-style discourse parsing, Universitaet Potsdam, Germany

Job opening: PhD student position on PDTB-style discourse parsing, Universitaet Potsdam, Germany

The Applied Computational Linguistics group (Discourse Research Lab, Prof. Stede) invites applications for a PhD student position on PDTB-style discourse parsing.  In contrast to previous efforts using relatively shallow features, this project emphasizes the role of deeper knowledge on the syntax, semantics, and pragmatics of connectives for improved discourse parsing. The primary target language is German. The project (“Anaphoricity in Connectives”) is funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the duration is 3 years. Payment for this position is in line with the German TVL-13 payscale (65%).


Applicants should hold a Master’s degree in Computational Linguistics, Computer Science or Linguistics. The project involves both computational implementation and linguistic investigation, especially into the syntactic and semantic behaviour of discourse connectives. Thus, solid knowledge on the relevant computational techniques is required, and a background in models of discourse structure is very helpful. Knowledge of German is a plus.


Situated in the vicinity of Berlin and its research potential, the University of Potsdam is a medium-sized institution that educates some 20.000 students. The Department of Linguistics is one of the largest in Germany and offers a vibrant research environment. In Computational Linguistics, we also collaborate closely with the Dept. of Computer Science, especially by offering a joint MSc degree program in Cognitive Systems. The Applied Computational Linguistics group was founded in 2001 and has done research in a variety of discourse-related fields, both theory- and application-oriented. For details, see http://angcl.ling.uni-potsdam.de/. Regarding discourse parsing, the group has experience in PDTB-style parsing for English (CONNLL 2016 shared task). In addition, there has been a lot of work on diverse tasks of discourse annotation and parsing (including RST-oriented parsing) for German. A current focus area is argumentation mining, which is also closely related to discourse parsing.


The project is designed to lead to a PhD thesis on connective-informed discourse parsing. Applications can be sent immediately, the position is open until filled, ideally within the next three months. If you prefer a starting date somewhat later this year, please contact us. Applications including a letter of motivation (1 page) explaining why you are interested and how your profile fits the project; CV; and the names and e-mail addresses of two referees should be sent as a PDF file to Manfred Stede (stede AT uni-potsdam DOT de).

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