The newly established research group on
"Computational Models of Misunderstanding for Complex Instructional Text"
invites applications for two PhD positions or one postdoc and one PhD student. The posts are funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG---Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) through the DFG Emmy Noether Programme, which provides funding for independent junior research groups (similar to an ERC Starting Grant / NSF CAREER Award). The group will be headed by Michael Roth and located at the Institute for Natural Language Processing at the University of Stuttgart in Germany.
The project will be concerned with the systematic analysis and computational modelling of text passages that can lead to misunderstandings. A substantial amount of previous work has studied misunderstandings in dialogue, but suitable resources for written language are scarce because misunderstandings cannot be observed directly from a text. Since readers and writers typically do not interact, it is important for authors to ensure that texts leave no room for misinterpretation. Otherwise, for example, medical instructions may be followed incorrectly, and route directions may not guide navigators to their desired destination. The goal of this project is to create the resources and methods necessary to prevent such outcomes.
The announced positions will be part of a collaborative research effort, which includes local contributors as well as collaborations with external partners at the University of Edinburgh and Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. One of the available positions will focus on the linguistic analysis and modelling of potential sources of misunderstanding, as well as on extrinsic evaluations within semantic analysis tasks (e.g. semantic role labelling). The focus of the other position will be on developing neural end-to-end models and adaptations to downstream applications (e.g. machine translation). Both positions will be open from March 2019 and available for three years (with the possibility of extensions). The salary is according to salary group TV-L E13, 75% for PhD students (approx. 3,000 EUR gross per month) and up to 100% for postdocs (approx. 4,000 EUR).
Successful applicants will have a background in linguistics, machine learning, and/or
computational linguistics, with a particular interest in semantics and pragmatics. Programming
skills and the ability to work in a group are taken for granted. The candidate should be able to
work and communicate in English (no proficiency of German is required).
Applications should include a brief motivation letter including research interests, a CV, a list of publications (if applicable), and contact information of up to three references. Applications should be sent to Michael Roth by email (rothml AT ims DOT uni-stuttgart DOT de). Applications received by 1 December will receive full consideration, but the positions will remain open until filled.