Course Structure

The course will be divided into three major topics (generation, grounding, and question answering), each consisting of 8-9 lectures. Each lecture will cover one aspect of the major topic. Your main responsibility is a final project (and assignment related to it), preparing a class presentation (once or twice through the course of the semester), and submitting a reading response before each class.

Before the end of the first week, please fill out this survey.

Course Interface

  • The course will be on Zoom, which you can access through the canvas.
  • Assignments related to the final project will be submitted through canvas.
  • We will use OpenReview for paper discussion and reading response.

Grading Policy

Reading response (prior to each class): 25%
Class presentation: 25%
Class participation: 10%
Final Project: 40%

Late Day Policy

You can have a total of four late days per semester. Each late day is a 24 hour extension, and if it’s a group project it’ll consume a late day for all members in the group. Late day cannot be used for sending slides for class presentation.


There won’t be a single textbook. The course will be project based, and cover reading and critiquing the current literature in computational linguistics and machine learning. Here are links to optional textbooks, that could be useful.

Class Presentations

Each class will have one presentation, covering roughly two papers on the same topic. Two students will work together for the presentation. The papers are pre-chosen by the instructor (list here), but you can discuss with the instructor to add or change the papers to be discussed (please leave comments directly on the spreadsheet).

You should prepare the slides, presenting the material clearly, putting the work in the context of recent literature, and learn the details such that you can answer the questions from the class. Each team should email the slides to TA and the instructor 4 days prior to the presentation (by the end of day Thursday for Tuesday lecture, by the end of day Monday for Thursday lecture). The instructor / TA will provide feedback.

You will present 1-2 times throughout the course of the semester, and it will be assigned based on the survey at the beginning of the semester. If you present more than once, the higher score from the presentation will count into the final score. The presentation and discussion will cover the lecture, so prepare for about 50 minutes of material.

Reading Response

You are required to post a reading response by 6PM the day before the class. You can pick one of the two papers to be presented for each class. Some guidelines on how to access research papers critically (assuming you are a reviewer): EMNLP review guidelines, NeurIPS review guidelines, more advice.

Your reading response should include a short summary of the paper, and your opinion of the paper, such as:

  • Do you like the paper? Do you find it interesting? Why or why not?
  • Is the conclusion from the paper supported by its experiments?
  • How does this paper fit into related work?
  • Is the writing and structure of the paper clear?
  • How can you improve the paper? Any missing experiments or ablations studies?
  • What could be good directions for future work?
  • Any parts that’s unclear about the paper?

Final Project

Your final project can be of two flavors:

  • Analysis / Literature Survey: This involves writing a detailed review on the particular subject / topic. This should cover existing methods in depth. For example, you can run existing models for a concrete problem (many papers are open sourced), analyze their output, and draw conclusions. This will be an individual project or at most two people.
  • Research project: You will design, implement and evaluate a model for text processing. This can be related to your own research project. This can be a larger group.
The topics of projects are open-ended but should be related to one of three major topics covered in the course. Here are some examples (1, 2) for inspiration and understanding the scope of the project.
  • Project proposal (1-2 page) is due on September 24th by midnight.
  • Progress report (1 page) is due on November 1st by midnight.
  • Final project presentation will happen on December 1st / 3rd. Each team will prepare a short presentation.
  • Final project report (6-10 pages) is due on December 9th by midnight.
The final project report should be written in the format of the *ACL/EMNLP short paper. The template can be found here.

Logistics for Final Project

Based on the initial survey, the instructor will facilitate the group assignment for the final project. The final project should be related to one of three large topics discussed in this class, i.egeneration, grounding and question answering.

For all assignments regarding the final project, one person from the group will submit the document to canvas.

Academic Integrity

Please read the departmental guidelines. While it is encouraged to discuss with classmates, all reading responses and presentation material, and final project should be your own. When you use someone else's material (i.e., figures, open sourced codes), you should cite them properly and make it very clear which parts are your work.

Notice about students with disabilities

The university is committed to creating an accessible and inclusive learning environment consistent with university policy and federal and state law. Please let me know if you experience any barriers to learning so I can work with you to ensure you have equal opportunity to participate fully in this course. If you are a student with a disability, or think you may have a disability, and need accommodations please contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD). Please refer to SSD’s website for contact and more information: If you are already registered with SSD, please deliver your Accommodation Letter to me as early as possible in the semester so we can discuss your approved accommodations and needs in this course.

Notice about absences

The only absences that will be considered excused are for religious holidays or extenuating circumstances due to an emergency. If you plan to miss class due to observance of a religious holiday, please let us know at least two weeks in advance. You will not be penalized for this absence, although you will still be responsible for any work you will miss on that day if applicable. Check with us for details or arrangements.

If you are absent or unable to participate on the day that your team meets, you are responsible for providing your team with the necessary information to compensate for your absence. It is crucial to keep in communication with your team members; you are responsible for letting both us and your team know if you cannot make it to a class. If you are going to miss the lecture, you should also inform the instructor.

Personal Pronouns

Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with differences of race, culture, religion, politics, sexual orientation, gender, gender variance, and nationalities. Class rosters are provided to the instructor with the student’s legal name, unless they have added a “preferred name” with the Gender and Sexuality Center ( I will gladly honor your request to address you by a name that is different from what appears on the official roster, and by the gender pronouns you use (she/he/they/ze, etc). Please advise me of any changes early in the semester so that I may make appropriate updates to my records. For instructions on how to add your pronouns to Canvas, visit

Sharing of Course Materials is Prohibited

No materials used in this class, including, but not limited to, lecture hand-outs, videos, assessments (quizzes, exams, papers, projects, homework assignments), in-class materials, review sheets, and additional problem sets, may be shared online or with anyone outside of the class unless you have my explicit, written permission. Unauthorized sharing of materials promotes cheating. It is a violation of the University’s Student Honor Code and an act of academic dishonesty. I am well aware of the sites used for sharing materials, and any materials found online that are associated with you, or any suspected unauthorized sharing of materials, will be reported to Student Conduct and Academic Integrity in the Office of the Dean of Students. These reports can result in sanctions, including failure in the course.

Class Recordings

Class recordings are reserved only for students in this class for educational purposes and are protected under FERPA. The recordings should not be shared outside the class in any form. Violation of this restriction by a student could lead to Student Misconduct proceedings.