CS 6120/4120: Natural Language Processing

Time and Location: Mondays from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm in Behrakis Health Sciences Cntr 315

Instructor: Lu Wang, Office 258 WVH

Staff and Office Hours:

Discussion Forum: Piazza, sign up at piazza.com/northeastern/fall2017/cs6120

Important Announcement

[9/1/2017] We will have a quiz with 24 simple questions, 20 of them as True or False questions (relevant to probability, statistics, and linear algebra) in the first class (9/11/2017). This quiz will be graded, but will not be counted in your final score if you're enrolled in CS6120/CS4120. The purpose of this quiz is to indicate the expected background of students. 80% of the questions should be easy to answer. If you find yourself struggling with this quiz, it's possible that you need to catch up on the background or it may be preferable to take one or two preliminary courses. For students previously do not take any algorithm course (CS 5800 or CS 7800, see Prerequisites), an 80% or above is required to enroll in this course.

Course Description

This course aims to introduce fundamental tasks in natural language processing, and its recent advances based on machine learning algorithms (e.g., neural networks) and applications for interdisciplinary subjects (e.g., computational social science). The course materials are mostly delivered as lectures, and accompanied with reading materials. The students will be evaluated based on assignments, a research-driven course project, and an open-book final exam.

Textbooks and Reference


This course is designed for graduate students majoring in computer science, linguistics, and other related areas. Students who take this course are expected to be able to write code in some programming languages (e.g., Python, Java, or C/C++) proficiently, and finish courses in algorithms (CS 5800 or CS 7800), multivariable calculus, probability, and statistics. Linear algebra is optional, but highly recommended.


Each assignment or report, both electronic copy and hard copy, is due at the beginning of class on the corresponding due date. Blackboard is used for electronic submission. Hard copies are submitted in class. Assignment or report turned in late will be charged 20 points (out of 100 points) off for each late day (i.e. 24 hours). Each student has a budget of 5 days throughout the semester before a late penalty is applied. You may want to use it wisely, e.g. save for emergencies. Each 24 hours or part thereof that a submission is late uses up one full late day. Late days are not applicable to final presentation. Each group member is charged with the same number of late days, if any, for their submission.

Grades will be determined based on three assignments, ten in-class tests, one course project, one open-book exam, and participation:


Sep 11

Sep 18

Sep 25

Oct 2

Oct 9 (NO CLASS: Columbus Day)

Oct 16

Oct 23

Oct 30

Nov 6

Nov 13

Nov 20

Nov 27

Dec 4

Academic Integrity

This course follows the Northeastern University Academic Integrity Policy. All students in this course are expected to abide by the Academic Integrity Policy. Any work submitted by a student in this course for academic credit should be the student's own work. Collaborations are allowed only if explicitly permitted. Violations of the rules (e.g. cheating, fabrication, plagiarism) will be reported.