University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Natural Language Programming

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Artificial Intelligence

DESCRIPTION This study unit provides a highly accessible introduction to the field of Natural Language Processing. The unit will involve practical exercises based on the Python programming language together with an open source library called the Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK).

Topics include: Python; concepts of structured programming; language processing and Python; access to text corpora; lexical resources; processing raw text; part-of-speech-tagging; analysis of sentence structure.

Study-unit Aims:

- To give students a thorough knowledge of basic programming in a high-level programming language (Python)
- To enable students to put this knowledge to use in solving Natural Language Processing tasks.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Apply core concepts of imperative programming through concrete programming tasks;

- Create formally precise, procedural interpretations of models of grammar to be used in parsing and generation;

- Extract and manipulate data from large repositories (corpora).

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Write simple computer programs;

- Manipulate data encoded in standard markup languages such as XML and HTML;

- Evaluate the adequacy of computational models of human language production and comprehension.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Bird, S., Klein, E. and Loper E., Natural Language Processing with
Python, ISBN 978-0-596-51649-9, O'Reilly, 2009 [This book is freely available on the web on]

ADDITIONAL NOTES Students taking this study-unit need to have a technical background.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Project Yes 100%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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