ILLCUniversiteit van Amsterdam

The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation

Postdoctoral Researcher

1.0 fte (38h per week)
For both internal and external candidates



for the Estimation of Probabilistic Grammars from Incomplete Natural Language Data
VIDI project Sima'an [2007-2011]

Abstract: The project aims at exploring the utility of available prior knowledge in specifying the model (hypothesis space) and the constraints on the objective estimation function for unsupervised estimation of probabilistic grammars for Statistical Machine Translation and Statistical Parsing.
This project addresses problems of unsupervised estimation in the face of different kinds of incomplete data (parallel and monolingual corpora):
  1. A raw text corpus,
  2. A partially annotated corpus possibly with negative examples, and
  3. A raw in-domain corpus and an out-of-domain annotated corpus.
Corpus annotation is e.g., word-alignment, syntactic or semantic structure.

Example topics studied within the project (see project related publications):   
Project team:  Markos MylonakisTejaswini Deoskar<postdoc vacancy>  and  Khalil Sima'an (project leader).
Affiliated researchers: Reut Tsarfaty.
External collaborators: Hany Hassan , Barbara Plank and Andy Way.


We seek
a cooperative yet independent researcher who is passionate about empirical research, statistical methods and NLP/CL.
The following are the main requirements:
  1. Computational Linguistics/Natural Language Processing working with statistical methods
  2. Machine Learning Applied to NLP with good knowledge of unsupervised statistical methods.
  3. Statistical Machine Translation.
  4. Unsupervised statistical methods for statistical Parsing.


The appointment will be on a temporary basis for a maximum period of 2 years. Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from € 2379,- to, at the most, € 3755,- , in the first year depending on expertise and experience.

The Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities is applicable.

To Dr Khalil Sima'an by email ( with subject heading: VIDI-POSTDOC).
The following documents (in pdf):
  1. Letter expressing interest
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. List of publications (possibly including a downloadable pdf of your thesis)
  4. Three letters of reference sent directly by the referees to Dr Khalil Sima'an
  5. Optional: Research plan (1 page)
Last date for application: February 15, 2009.

For inquiries 

        Dr Khalil Sima'an.
        Language and Computation
        Computer Science
        University of Amsterdam