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Computational Linguistics

Computational Linguistics (also called Natural Language Processing, abbreviated as NLP) is a field of vital importance in the information age. With growing amounts of speech and text data, the demand keeps increasing for automated tools to understand human language and NLP specialists to develop and operate these tools.

In industry, Computational Linguistics techniques are being widely used in search engines, digital libraries, speech recognition systems, and data mining toolkits. The leading data analysis companies like SAS and SPSS all have added text analysis components to their products. Many open-source NLP toolkits have also been available. Companies with large amount of text data need NLP specialists to develop in-house tools or use off-the-shelf tools to analyze their corpora.

Computational Linguistics also plays a critical role in the latest data-driven scholarship in computational social sciences and digital humanities. Humanist scholars and social scientists are increasingly using large corpora to make robust inferences in their research. Scientific literature, government documents, and user-generated content in social media are just a few examples of commonly used corpora. NLP tools are used by students and scholars in sociology, journalism, and communication fields to slice and dice large document collections, identify the main themes and opinions of different parties.  The tools and techniques described above are also widely used in national defense and security agencies, as well as law enforcement agencies at the local, national, and international levels.

The knowledge of such tools and their development and use is becoming more critical to employees in these fields, which is another reason SU is a strong candidate for a computational linguistics program.