We are proud to announce our new Computational Analysis of Language certificate, made possible by the work of faculty member Andrea Sims and staff member Julia McGory. This 12 credit-hour certificate is offered to undergraduates, and is designed for those interested in a career involving language technologies, where demand is ever growing in tandem with the increasing relevance of language technologies to our lives. Whether one realizes it or not, computational linguistics underlies the algorithms for the search engines like Google and the machine translation services such as Google Translate.
Computational linguistics lies at the intersection of linguistics, computer science, and statistics, and the certificate will cover the relevant basics of all three domains. Students with a background in one of these will find that this certificate offers them a great opportunity to broaden their knowledge to the other areas: students in linguistics can gain programming skills, and computer scientists will be able to build the theoretical background necessary to enter computational linguistics. Training in computational linguistics will enhance the marketability of future professionals in related areas, and some areas that may seem at first quite afield. For example, an undergraduate pre-med degree and a master's in computational linguistics grants one access to the growing job market in bioinformatics.
The certificate offers two tracks: the less technical Track A, where computer programming work is optional, and the more computationally focused Track B. Track A will prepare students for entry level positions in language technologies work, for example as a computational linguistics specialist on a team of engineers. Track B, meanwhile, aims to ensure graduates have a base in the programming necessary for computational linguistics tasks, while also providing computer science students the training in relevant linguistics and statistics concepts necessary for entry to MS or PhD programs in language technologies or computational linguistics.
Both tracks have only one prerequisite, an introductory course in linguistics (LING 2000(H)) or English linguistics (ENGLISH 3271), and comprise four core courses: a topical course for theoretical basis in an area of linguistics of the student's choosing, a methodological course for computational analysis, an elective, and a track-specific core course. While the core course of Track B is the algorithm-focused LING 5801 (Computational Linguistics I), Track A's core course LING 3802 (Languages and Computers) covers the theory and practice of human language technology, as well as the profound influence it has had on our society. Students in either track may choose to look further into the relationship of language technology by taking our department's new course LING 3803: Ethics of Language Technology, which tackles the implications of a world where computer algorithms are already making decisions which affect our daily lives, and how to define, detect and quantify biases that may arise in the process, so as to remedy them.
The department is honored to be able to honor students training in this lucrative and important field.