Language and Computation

Subject UNIB20005 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

On-campus only

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Thirty hours of lectures and twenty hours of workshops (ten 2-hour workshops).
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: 12.5 points of 100-level study in logic, mathematics, informatics, linguistics or equivalent discipline that involves abstract formal reasoning.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Assoc Prof Steven Bird


Melbourne School of Engineering Office
Building 173, Grattan Street
The University of Melbourne
VIC 3010 Australia
General telephone enquiries
+ 61 3 8344 6703
+ 61 3 8344 6507
+ 61 3 9349 2182
+ 61 3 8344 7707
Subject Overview: This subject introduces students to formal and computational methods for analysing language. It covers fundamental concepts in the structure and interpretation of sentences, the philosophy of language, applications of information theory, and the limits of machine intelligence. Workshops and group projects will give students practical experience in solving empirical problems involving ambiguous sentences and massive quantities of text, and with writing simple programs in a high-level programming language.

On completion of this subject, students should:

  • be able to think critically and to organise information in clear and precise ways;
  • have highly-developed skills in formal reasoning;
  • be proficient in multi-disciplinary techniques for analyzing language;
  • have developed experience and skills in working in a group; and
  • be able to synthesise information and communicate results effectively.
Assessment: Homework tasks equivalent to 1000 words 15% (completed throughout the semester); two group work project tasks, one completed mid-semester and one completed at the end of semester 20%; a written test 10% (mid-semester); workshop practicipation 5%; and a written exam 50% (examination period.)
Prescribed Texts: Natural Language Processing in Python (S Bird, E Klein, E Loper, 2009.)
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

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