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Final Project


The final project is to either build a natural language processing system, or apply one for some task. The project must use or develop a dataset, and report empirical results or analyses with the dataset. It may use machine learning or rule-based approaches. It may use any type of open-source or widely available software.

You can choose to emphasize:

Different projects will have different balances of these three things.

The key requirement is to investigate, analyze, and come to research findings about new methods, or insights about previously existing methods.

This course does not have a final exam. The final project is the focus for the final part of the course.

The project will be completed in groups of 2-4.

(Rarely, working alone may be appropriate for work tied to an external project like independent study. Working alone requires more work, and special permission from instructors and you need to ask long before the main deadlines.)

The project has four components over the second half of the semester: Proposal, Progress Report, Presentation, and Final report.

(Requirements for the items after the proposal are subject to revision as we get closer to them.)

See also the 10/5 lecture.

Proposal (due Wed 10/25)

The project proposal is a 2 page document outlining the problem, your approach, possible dataset(s) and/or software systems to use. This proposal

In general, you should illustrate that you have learned about and thought through some of the problem space and possible avenues of analysis and approaches to the problem.

Ideally, try to answer the following questions as well.

Formatting: please use a 10 to 12 point font with single spacing.

In special cases, some groups may want to change after this point. That's OK, but please be very clear when doing later turn-ins.

Project proposal meeting (late Oct / early Nov)

After you've submitted your project proposal, you'll receive grading and feedback. Then your entire group will schedule a meeting with a TA or course staff to discuss the feedback, answer questions, and figure out next steps. This meeting is mandatory and part of the project proposal grade.

Progress Report (mid-November)

You’ve had a few weeks to work on the project! You have now clarified and revised your proposed idea. You have started working on it and have some preliminary results to report.

The progress report is a 4-8 page document that describes your preliminary work and results. Make it standalone, so we can read it without having to refer to the project proposal. You should do the following and report on them:

Class presentations

During the last week, we'll have either in-class presentations or a poster session for all groups to show off their work - it should be a lot of fun!

Final Report (due 12/15, end of semester)

The final report is an 8-12 page document (8 minimum; we suggest 8-12 since that typically represents a good amount of content) that describes your project and final results. Unlike the proposal (which was only about a possible project and related work), or the progress report (which was only about results), the final report must be a complete, standalone document. Conceptually, it should include the content of both the proposal and progress report, though they will be changed. The final report describes and motivates the problem, places it in context of related work, describes the dataset and your approach, and reports results with discussion and thoughts for future work.

Here is a sample outline for your final report. There are different possible ways to structure it (for example, if you can, you can weave related work into the other sections), but we suggest you follow this outline if you're new to this type of technical research writing.

Some things to remember:

Writing a paper is like composing a piece of art. Be deliberate in your choice of what to include, when to include it and how to express it. For example, don’t include every plot you generated; pick the ones that best demonstrate your results. Work on the clarity of your writing. At the end of the day, your report is all the reader has to generate an opinion about your work. You don’t want good work to be obscured by poor writing.

Formatting: please use a 10 to 12 point font with single spacing. If you use wide spacing or waste space unnecessarily, we will notice you have less content. Please divide your report clearly into sections/subsections. We suggest the ACL stylesheets, though they're not necessary to use.