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Fall 2018 - PhD CS (NLP) - GPA:91/100 - GRE:333 - TOEFL:117
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anonymox Offline
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anonymox Offline
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Fall 2018 - PhD CS (NLP) - GPA:91/100 - GRE:333 - TOEFL:117
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Hi everyone!

I'm seeking admission to a Ph.D program in Computer Science. My area of interest lies at the intersection of Stats, CS and Linguistics, with a hint of AI (neural networks). My master's program has been research-centric with the general area being Natural Language Processing (NLP) usng machine learning and information retreival techniques.

Academia:

Programs:
  • Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science - First Class (61/100)
  • Master's Degree in Computer Science (Research track) - A+ (91/100) - Thesis related to Neural Linguistic Style Transfer (Masters program funded by my research assistantship position)
All of my masters' program coursework has been related to scaling storage & processing systems, distributed systems & protocols and machine learning.

Publications: (first author on both papers)
  • Conference workshop paper related to financial sentiment analysis on news text, in the proceedings of the Association for Computational Linguistics conference (ACL 2017)
  • Conference workshop paper related to affect analysis using conventional boosting and neural networks on text, in the proceedings of the Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing conference (EMNLP 2017) - Ranked 4th best for this workshop

Standardized Test Scores:
  • GRE: 333 (Q: 168, V: 165, AWA: 5)
  • TOEFL: 117 (R:30, L:30, S:27, W:30) - Won't be needing this as I'll be completing my masters in North America

Teaching assistant for 3 undergrad courses: Functional programming, Object-oriented programming and Data Structures & Data Management.

Industry:
  • 2.5 years as a software engineer in an IT automation project for a large US client
  • 1 year as a software engineer in a product based digital marketing firm
  • 3 months as research scientist for a digital marketing firm, working on NLP
  • 3 months as SDE intern for a large e-commerce firm, working on Stat. ML personalization systems
I have an active Github profile with a few side-projects that focus on distributed systems and NLP.

Objective:
I have a reasonably good idea about the specific area of research I want to focus on, during my PhD, and it is closely related to neural style transfer for natural language generation systems.

Shortlist:
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (CSAIL NLP group) - Regina Barzilay
  • Stanford University (NLP group) - Christopher Manning / Dan Jurafsky
  • Carnegie Mellon University (LTI NLP group) - Eric Nyberg
  • University of British Columbia (NLP group) - Giuseppe Carenini
  • University of Washington (NLP group) - Noah Smith

I'd appreciate any comments/suggestions from seniors who might already be working in these areas, or even general advice.

My publication record isn't great, and my undergraduate grades aren't good either. The reason all of the places on my list are very ambitious is because these seem to be the only academic groups that have publications in my sub-area. I can manage good recommendations from my advisor and thesis readers.

Thank you for reading!

(This post was last modified: 08-13-2017 03:47 AM by anonymox.)
08-12-2017 10:45 PM
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Edulix_Editor Offline
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RE: Fall 2018 - PhD CS (NLP) - GPA:91/100 - GRE:333 - TOEFL:117
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Hi anonymox

Good to see you back in Edulix. Also, very much pleased to see you successfully wrap up MS and now looking at PhD programs.

I love evaluating profiles for PhD as I always learn something new. So, I spent some time looking up leading NLP groups and researchers. I think your list is in the right direction.

One of the key parameters that I look at potential PhD advisors is their Google Scholar citations. In the majority of the cases, there is a strong correlation between citations and research productivity + funds + career path of graduates etc...

Here are a number of professors in NLP that you should look at (citations as of 8/2017):
Chris Manning Stanford - on your list = 69735
Andrew McCallum - UM Amherst - 54013
Eugene Charniak at Brown = 41963 (does other things as well)
Bing Lui - U Illinois at Chicago = 40458
Tim Finin at UMBC = 36879
Dan Jurafsky (Stanford) on your list - 28690
Ray Mooney - UT Austin - 27122
Regina (MIT) on your list - About 10,000. She has no Google Scholar profile!!
Giuseppe in UBC - 3220 (not bad)
Eric Nyberg - CMU - 4641.

Hope this will get you started. Please come back with your modified list based on this and I will walk you through the fine-tuning process......

cheers,

EE

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08-14-2017 12:01 AM
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anonymox Offline
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anonymox Offline
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RE: Fall 2018 - PhD CS (NLP) - GPA:91/100 - GRE:333 - TOEFL:117
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Thanks, Edulix_Editor. It's good to be back!

I think the number of citations a researcher receives is a function of their age and the number of students their funding allows them to admit.
So I've just looked at researchers with recent interesting publications at good venues that relate to neural style transfer and dialog generation in NLP, without considering total publication/citation count.

Thanks for suggesting additional researchers. I'm familiar with Bing Liu's work, but none of it is related to neural architectures.

I'm not familiar with work done by Andrew McCallum, Eugene Charniak, Tim Finin and Ray Mooney as they've never come up in my literature surveys, but I'll read through their recent publications to get an idea about what their current research interests are.

Unfortunately, most of the prolific research in this area is done at industrial R&D labs (Google Brain, FAIR, Alexa Science).

08-14-2017 06:57 PM
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