Have you ever used the voice to text feature of your smartphone to compose a text message rather than type it? If so, you have experienced the benefits of computational linguistics. This field incorporates computer science with linguistic research on how human language works. There are countless applications from dictation software to IBM’s Watson, who competed on, and won a game of Jeopardy! against two human opponents.
A degree in computational linguistics can open the door to jobs at companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft. Because of the highly technical nature of the field, those who wish to study computational linguistics generally come from backgrounds in computer science, discrete mathematics, and mathematical linguistics. TheBestSchools.org has compiled a list of The 20 Best Computational Linguistics Graduate Programs to highlight this exciting interface of computer science, mathematics, and linguistics.
Computational linguistics graduate programs often include study in subjects such as:
- computational semantics
- models in cognitive science
- natural language processing systems and applications
- linguistic phonetics and phonology
- corpus linguistics
- machine learning
- applied text analysis
- grounded models of meaning
- data-intensive computing for text analysis
- information retrieval
One particularly interesting area of study is the overlap between computational linguistics and natural language processing systems (NLP). This specialty attempts to give computers the ability to understand, analyze, and derive meaning from human language in an intelligent and useful way. This research has many practical applications in QA or Question Answering. NLP was at the core of the research that led to the creation of Watson and what allowed the computer to be successful on Jeopardy! (For more on Watson check out Jeopardy! as a Modern Turing Test: Did Watson Really Win?.).
The work of computational linguistics is not limited to success on TV quiz shows. Computers can now perform research and craft scholarly papers that even the specialized eyes of peer reviewers find hard to distinguish from the work of trained human experts in their field. Dr. Robert J. Marks II examines if a journal will accept a paper written by a computer in Artificial Unintelligence: will journals accept papers written by… a computer?.
Want to be a part of this exciting field? Do you have an interest in computer programming and human cognition? If so, a career in computational linguistics may be right for you. Thankfully, TheBestSchools.org has already taken the first step toward an engaging future for you by ranking The 20 Best Computational Linguistics Graduate Programs.