Question Answering Systems supported by Reinforcement and Machine Learning Methods

Primary supervisor

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Other projects with the same supervisor

Funding

  • Competition Funded Project (Students Worldwide)
This research project is one of a number of projects at this institution. It is in competition for funding with one or more of these projects. Usually the project which receives the best applicant will be awarded the funding. Applications for this project are welcome from suitably qualified candidates worldwide. Funding may only be available to a limited set of nationalities and you should read the full department and project details for further information.

Project description

The construction of Question Answering systems over unstructured and heterogeneous data sources requires the coordination of different Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms, data representation models and linguistic resources. The dynamic mapping from highly variable linguistic phenomena to the appropriate semantic interpretation method requires methods which are designed to cope with high semantic heterogeneity and complexity.

This project aims at building the next generation of Question Answering systems by developing a semantic parsing model which can be used for the interpretation of semantically heterogeneous data sources. The semantic parsing method will explore the fascinating intersection between explicit semantic representation models and machine/reinforcement learning models as well as the use of large bases of linguistic/data/distributional resources in the interpretation process.

Applicants are expected to have:

* An excellent undergraduate degree in Computer Science or Mathematics (or related discipline), and preferably, a relevant M.Sc. degree.
* Confidence and independence in programming complex systems in Java or Python. Industry experience is a plus.
* Previous academic or industry experience in Natural Language Processing or Machine Learning (desired).
* Excellent report writing and presentation skills.

Please note that applicants must additionally satisfy the standard requirements for postgraduate studies at the University of Manchester, such as a first-class or high upper-second class (or an equivalent international qualification) and English language qualifications, as stated in the PGR guidelines.

Qualified applicants are strongly encouraged to informally contact Andre Freitas (andre.freitas@manchester.ac.uk) to discuss the application prior to applying.

Person specification

For information

Essential

Applicants will be required to evidence the following skills and qualifications.

  • You must be capable of performing at a very high level.
  • You must have a self-driven interest in uncovering and solving unknown problems and be able to work hard and creatively without constant supervision.

Desirable

Applicants will be required to evidence the following skills and qualifications.

  • You will possess determination (which is often more important than qualifications) although you'll need a good amount of both.
  • You will have good time management.

General

Applicants will be required to address the following.

  • Discuss your final year Undergraduate project work - and if appropriate your MSc project work.
  • How well does your previous study prepare you for undertaking Postgraduate Research?
  • Comment on your transcript/predicted degree marks, outlining both strong and weak points.
  • Why do you believe you are suitable for doing Postgraduate Research?
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