[Elsnet-list] Job Opening: Computational Linguist

Gerhard van Huyssteen ntlgbvh at puknet.puk.ac.za
Tue Jun 15 18:02:58 CEST 2004


The Centre for Text Technology at the North-West University
(Potchefstroom Campus) in South Africa is looking for a candidate to
fill the following position:

Computational Linguist

(Senior) Researcher

Minimum requirements: 
* MA/MSc or equivalent in Computational Linguistics or related fields.
* Thorough knowledge of C/C++, Perl, and the UNIX/LINUX environment. 
* Knowledge of and experience in text processing or related fields. 
* The ability to work well in a team and willingness to supervise. 
* Full fluency in English. 

Preferred/recommended requirements:
* PhD in Computational Linguistics or related fields.
* Thorough knowledge of and experience in main statistical and machine
learning approaches, applied to both text and speech processing.
* Experience in other programming languages.
* 1-3 years related experience in product development.
* Experience in scholarly publication.
* Knowledge of or fluency in a Germanic language and/or Bantu
* Teaching experience.

Job description: 
Over and above all, it will be expected from the Computational Linguist
to help establish the Centre for Text Technology as a leading national
and international institution of excellence and innovation in the
The three main responsibilities will be formalised within the following
parameters (with suggested time allocations in brackets, to be
negotiated each year):
(a) Development of human language technology applications, including
market research and evaluation, planning, overseeing of activities
related to the development, and programming (40%)
(b) Research in Computational Linguistics, with the focus on innovative
research of international standard. It will be expected from you to
publish in acknowledged international journals, present research results
at local and international conferences, and stimulate research within
the Centre (45%)
(c) Tuition, including undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, as
well as workshops and other training programmes, and supervision of
post-graduate students (15%)

As soon as possible, but not later than 1 December 2004.

Contract period:
36 months. Depending on the output of the Centre and work performance,
the post may either be renewed on a contract basis or tenured after the
36 month period.

Highly competitive salary, with an annual raise, according to
University benchmarks. No fringe benefits included, but a structuring of
the salary can be negotiated (e.g. a part for travel allowance,
inclusion in the University's medical aid scheme, etc.). Annual leave
according to labour law regulations and University practice included.

Additional information:
** A certain amount of the library budget allocation will be made
available to you to expand the current library collection.
** You will be encouraged to apply for funding for research and
conference attendance, within the University's framework for research
funding, as well as external funding (e.g. National Research

Background on Centre for Text Technology:
Since 2000 the Research Focus Area "Languages and Literature in the
South African Context" at the North-West University (Potchefstroom
Campus - www.puk.ac.za) established a research programme "Language &
Technology". In 2002 a four year degree in Computational Linguistics
was also introduced at the University. Given the growing interest in
Computational Linguistics in South Africa, and the niche focus at the
North-West University, the Centre for Text Technology was established in
2004. Sufficient internal and external funding for operations for at
least the next three years has already been obtained.
The Centre for Text Technology is a research and development centre,
which combines research expertise and the essential technical and
administrative support in order to conduct cutting-edge research in text
technology, and use that as the basis for the development of innovative
and relevant technological applications. 
The mission of the Centre for Text Technology is to conduct innovative
research of international quality, to ensure long-term sustainability in
terms of product development, and to obtain outside funding for research
and development activities. The Centre for Text Technology therefore
aims to:
** stimulate and conduct high-quality, innovative research on text
** develop world-class enabling technologies and text technology
applications; and
** acquire mainly 3rd, 4th, and 5th stream funding for research and
development activities (but also contribute to 1st stream funding, by
generating subsidised research outputs).
Given the field of HLT and Computational Linguistics in South Africa,
the Centre for Text Technology for now has three specific focal points,
** machine learning (Considerable effort has already been made to teach
personnel and post-graduate students at the North-West University in
using machine learning techniques for purposes of natural language
** South African languages (The initial main focus will be on Afrikaans
and Tswana, two of the most prominent provincial languages; the focus
will later be extended to other prominent languages used in the rest of
Africa); and 
** proofing tools (Dominant research activities, expertise, and viable
commercialisation opportunities in this domain in South Africa is
already concentrated at the North-West University).
Under the auspices of the Centre, and based on research over the past
two years, a new spelling checker and hyphenator for Afrikaans was
commercially released at the beginning of 2004. Applications currently
under development include spelling checkers and hyphenators for Northern
Sotho, Tswana, Xhosa and Zulu, while the possibilities for the
development of an Afrikaans grammar checker, thesaurus, and e-mail
classification system are also being explored. The range of enabling
technologies already developed includes an English Tag error checker for
POS taggers, Tswana and Afrikaans tokenisers, Afrikaans stemmer,
compound analyser and grapheme-to-phoneme converter, as well as a
web-based Accent Attitude Assessment Tool and tools for acoustic and
phonetic related analyses. Currently under development are Afrikaans and
Tswana POS Taggers, Afrikaans sentenciser, Afrikaans Named-Entity
Recogniser, and Tswana morphological analyser (using Xerox technology).

The Centre boasts a dedicated Human Language Technology Laboratory, as
well as two smaller, specialized development laboratories with state of
the art equipment. Full-time personnel include a senior researcher,
project manager, programmer, resource manager, administrative manager,
and various student assistants. The Centre is headed by Dr Gerhard van

Application and deadline: 
To apply, email a CV (including a statement of research interests, as
well as names and contact information for three references) to Gerhard
van Huyssteen (ntlgbvh at puk.ac.za) before 9 July 2004. Interviews with
potential candidates to be conducted telephonically, or otherwise in
person during ACL 2004 in Barcelona, or otherwise in The Netherlands
before 14 August 2004. 

For more information, contact Gerhard van Huyssteen at
ntlgbvh at puk.ac.za, or at +31 64 315 7374.

The North-West University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action
employer. Women and minority candidates are encouraged to apply.

Dr Gerhard B van Huyssteen
Head: Centre for Text Technology || North-West University
(Potchefstroom Campus)
POTCHEFSTROOM || 2531 || South Africa
Hoof: Sentrum vir Tekstegnologie || Noordwes-Universiteit
(Potchefstroomkampus) ||
POTCHEFSTROOM || 2531 || Suid-Afrika

Tel: +27 18 299 1488
Fax: +27 18 299 1562
ntlgbvh at puk.ac.za 

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