Language and Computation

Subject UNIB20005 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

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:

120 hours





Recommended Background Knowledge:

12.5 points of level-1 study in logic, mathematics, informatics, linguistics or equivalent discipline that involves abstract formal reasoning.

Non Allowed Subjects:


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


Professor Steven Bird


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:

  • Analyse the structure and content of natural language texts using a combination of formal techniques from linguistics, philosophy and computer science.

Hurdle Requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 75% of workshops, and to achieve at least 25/50 for both the continuous assessment and the final exam.

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
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • Be able to think critically and to organise information in clear and precise ways
  • Have improved skills in formal reasoning
  • Be proficient in cross-disciplinary techniques
  • Have developed experience and skills in working in a groupbe able to synthesise informaiton and communicate results effectively
Related Breadth Track(s): Logic, meaning and computation

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