[Corpora-List] 3 PhD Studentships: "Multiple Choice Test Item Generation" at the University of Wolverhampton

Evans, Richard J R.J.Evans at wlv.ac.uk
Wed Mar 14 22:25:00 CET 2007

With apologies for cross-postings.

(10,000 first year, 11,000 second year, 12,000 third year)

Closing date: 2nd April 2007

The Research Group in Computational Linguistics, University of Wolverhampton invites applications for three-year-funded PhD studentships in Computational Linguistics. Three positions will be available. Successful candidates are expected to carry out work on multiple-choice test item generation, with their research covering, but not limited to, one or more of the following areas:

(1) syntactic processing for real-world NLP applications (with particular reference to multiple choice time item generation);
(2) development of a multiple choice test item generation system for Spanish;
(3) proposal of high quality distractors for multiple-choice test items in the biomedical domain.

Students involved in area (1) should direct their activities toward the accurate syntactic-semantic analysis of complex sentences, proposing a treatment which takes issues such as co-ordination and punctuation into account. This research will be applied to a real-world NLP application such as information extraction in the domain of biomedicine. Area (2) will address the implementation and tuning of a Spanish-language system that will be drawn from the existing system for English. A good command of the Spanish language will be vital for this task together with excellent programming skills and the ability to develop and harness lexical and ontological resources in this context. The integration of additional NLP techniques for Spanish such as named entity recognition or temporal processing will also be addressed in this area. Research in area (3) may involve the development of new processing units for entailment recognition and temporal processing. These units will be used to derive causal relationships in biomedical texts in order to enhance the quality of automatically proposed distractors closely related to the focus of the test items. The student's activities may also include automatic recognition of textual entailment as well as approaches to the identification of morphological and lexical similarity.

In their studies, the students will have access to and will benefit from all the resources developed in an existing related project. This includes the opportunity to conduct user-evaluation, which will be very beneficial in the development of the system modules. In return, part of the PhD work will be integrated in the system to be developed during the project. Further information on related research can be found in the papers:

Mitkov, R. and Ha, L. A. (2003): Computer-Aided Generation of Multiple-Choice Tests. In Proceedings of the HLT-NAACL 2003 Workshop on Building Educational Applications Using Natural Language Processing, Edmonton, Canada, May, pp. 17 22 ( http://clg.wlv.ac.uk/papers/ruslan-NAACL-03.pdf )

Mitkov, R., Ha, L. A., and Karamanis, N. (2006) A computer-aided environment for generating multiple-choice test items. Natural Language Engineering, Volume 12, Issue 02, June 2006, pp 177-194. doi: 10.1017/S1351324906004177, Published online by Cambridge University Press 22 May 2006. ( http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayIssue?jid=NLE&volumeId=12&issueId=02 )

We are looking for candidates with a good honours degree in Linguistics, Computational Linguistics, Computer Science or Information Sciences, with programming skills and some experience in Natural Language Processing.

Required skills:
- degree in Linguistics, Computational Linguistics, Computer Science or Information Sciences
- experience with at least one of the following: Java, Perl, C, C++, .NET
knowledge of linguistics with a particular emphasis on syntax and the relationship between syntax and semantics.
- experience in Natural Language Processing including real-world applications such as information extraction or question answering
- good command of the English language (Areas (1) and (3) or Spanish (2))

Desirable skills:
- Master's degree in Linguistics, Computational Linguistics, Computer Science, or Information Sciences
- experience in syntactic parsing, syntactic theory, corpus linguistics, and or information extraction
- some familiarity with programming languages such as Perl, C, or Java.

Applications should be sent to

Mr. Richard Evans
Research Institute of Information and Language Processing
University of Wolverhampton
Stafford St.
United Kingdom
E-mail: R.J.Evans at wlv.ac.uk

and must include:
- completed application form available from
- CV
- names, emails, and telephone numbers of three referees
- copy of university degree (in English)
- copy of transcript listing all university marks (in English)
- evidence of postgraduate qualification if applicable
- a covering letter in which candidates explain why they have applied for the studentship, give details of their research
interests/experience, background, programming skills and an outline of any experience in Natural Language Processing or Linguistics.
- a PhD plan (about 1000 words) which proposes research questions relating to the generation of multiple choice test items to to be addressed, the academic or intellectual context in which the proposed work is located and the methodology likely to be employed. A brief action plan should also be provided. The field of this PhD MUST be applicable to the automatic generation of multiple choice test items.

Applications should be made by email. The closing date for applications is 2nd April 2007. Short-listed applicants will be contacted and notified of the specific date of interviews to be held in April (email and telephone). Successful candidates will have to register no later than June.

The studentship includes a maintenance grant of 10,000 GBP for the first year, 11,000 GBP for the second year and 12,000 GBP for the third year and also covers the tuition fees for 3 years.

The successful candidate will be working in a vibrant research
environment, engaging in active research. This studentship is funded by an externally funded project, CAID, so it is expected that the appointed student will contribute to this project as well. In return, the student will have access and will benefit from the resources developed in the project.

The RESEARCH GROUP IN COMPUTATIONAL LINGUISTICS at the University of Wolverhampton ( http://clg.wlv.ac.uk )

Established by Prof. Mitkov in 1997, the Research Group in Computational Linguistics is a highly successful one, delivering cutting-edge research in a number of NLP areas such as anaphora resolution, automatic summarisation, question answering, lexical knowledge acquisition, text categorisation, named entity recognition, information extraction, corpus construction and annotation, automatic terminology processing, multilingual processing, and multiple-choice question generation. To a large extent, this research has been undertaken in projects funded by
major UK funding bodies and commercial partners.

For further information/queries, please contact:
Mr. Richard Evans
Phone: +44 1902 322 623
Email: R.J.Evans at wlv.ac.uk

Richard Evans
Computational Linguistics Research Group
Research Institute of Information and Language Processing
University of Wolverhampton
United Kingdom
R.J.Evans at wlv.ac.uk
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