Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences

448 18385
Position ID:MIT-BCS-LRLLPD [#18385]
Position Title: Postdoctoral Associate - Low Resource Language Learning
Position Type:Postdoctoral
Position Location:Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, United States [map]
Subject Area: Neuroscience / all
Appl Deadline:2021/04/30 11:59PMhelp popup (posted 2021/03/30, listed until 2021/04/30)
Position Description:   URMs  

*** the list date or deadline for this position has passed and new applications are no longer being accepted. ***

POSTDOCTORAL ASSOCIATE-LOW-RESOURCE LANGUAGE LEARNING, Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS), to join a large multidisciplinary, multi-PI project on low-resource language learning at the intersection of natural language processing, machine learning, linguistics, and cognitive science. Human language technology has seen remarkable advances in the past several years, but relies heavily on data-hungry deep-learning models. The huge datasets required for high-performance levels with these technologies remain a privilege for only a handful of the world’s 6,000+ languages, keeping the fruits of NLP and machine learning from reaching everyone on the planet--especially the Global South. For linguistics and cognitive science, understanding of language structure, learning, and processing is similarly skewed toward resource-rich languages. Will develop and test machine learning methods for natural language processing that perform well for typologically-diverse languages under data-scarce conditions and that help address questions of scientific interest in linguistics and cognitive science; and develop and maintain an independent research program in synergy with project goals. Potential topics include automatic discovery of compositional morphological, syntactic, and semantic structure; induction of phonological rule or constraint systems; interactive, grounded learning of linguistic structure and meaning; and phylogenetic and areal modeling of language change. The project is supported by the MIT–IBM Watson AI Laboratory with direct supervision by Roger Levy. Other PIs include Jacob Andreas, Regina Barzilay, Shiyu Chang, Jim Glass, Tommi Jaakola, Yoon Kim, Tahira Naseem, Mo Yu, and Yang Zhang.

Job Requirements REQUIRED: Ph.D. in computer science, linguistics, cognitive science, or related field by the start date; expertise with natural language processing, deep learning, linguistic theory, and Bayesian statistics; and a background/interest in understudied languages, linguistic fieldwork language documentation, and linguistic typology. The application requires the following: 1) a cover letter 2) a CV 3) a 1–2 page research statement, including how the applicant sees their background and interests intersecting with the project description, with the work in the Computational Psycholinguistics Laboratory (, and the broader range of language research done at MI; 4) contact information for three potential letter writers (reference letters not required as part of the application).

Target start date is summer or fall 2021, with some potential flexibility.

Questions or inquiries about the position may be directed to Roger Levy at

To ensure fullest consideration of your application, please apply by April 16, 2021.

MIT is an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin. MIT’s full policy on Nondiscrimination can be found here.

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Further Info:
77 Massachusetts Ave.
Building 46-2005
Cambridge, MA 02139

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