Since the winter semester 2009/2010 the Institute for Natural Language Processing offers the possibility to study the Bachelor program "Maschinelle Sprachverarbeitung" (MSV). This program of study imparts the basics of this subject within 6 semesters, including a first professional qualification with the title "Bachelor of Science". Topics of this program of study are natural languages like German and English and the computational processing of these natural languages. Thus, this program of study is located at the interface between human and computational engineering. Automatic processing of natural languages plays a central role in our modern information society, because using speech is the most natural and most widely used form of communication. However, a powerful automatic speech processing algorithm does not only need adequate formalisms and methods from computer science. It is also necessary to further develop our scientific understanding of the human speech processing to develop precise models which then can be tested using computers.
In the Bachelor program "Maschinelle Sprachverarbeitung" the required expert knowledge is taught in an interdisciplinary approach including Computer Science, Mathematics and Linguistics. It is very important to understand how the different parts of Linguistics and Computer Science complete one another in this program of study. The Bachelor MSV differs from similar programs that are more linguistically oriented in that here the linguistic as well as the computational aspects do really have the same weight during the study.
In its more theoretical conception this program of study concentrates on formal models of the very complex processes during the production and perception of verbal expressions. Here the basics of speech processing stand in the foreground, e.g. Lodics and Statistics, experimental Phonetics, Parsing, development of grammars, Semantics and formal knowledge representation.
In its more practical conception this program of study displays the basics for the solution of speech processing tasks. This topics includes automatic speech recognition and speech synthesis of spoken language, information extraction from texts, search engines, automatic translation systems as well as a general facilitation of the communication between humans and engines. The future aim is to enable the computer to understand and to produce speech comparable to human interactors.
This program of study needs students with talent or interests in two different areas: on the one hand, prospective students should be interested in questions concerning speech and communication in general, and on the other hand, they should have no fear to use computers for structural analyses and implementation of speech phenomena. in the elective parts of the program each student can make own specializations, for instance in the direction of Linguistics, Computer Science, or more in an application-oriented way. Knowledge of a programming language is not required - it can and will be learned during the first two semesters.
A possibility for further qualification offers our Master program "Computational Linguistics", which exists since the winter semester 2011/12.