Web courses related to my research interests

I have collected a list of course web pages that are relevant to CLAIR.

My goal was to list courses that tend to:

(1) are taught by some of the best people in the respective areas
(2) make their reading lists and notes publicly available
(3) cover the state of the art in topics relevant to clair

Here is the result:


Please send me suggestions for other sites to add. I am particularly
looking for more good courses on Machine Translation, Statistical NLP,
Text Mining, Information Retrieval, Biological NLP, and Graph/Network

Tenure discussions

U. Michigan is planning to switch to a tenure cycle with a 10-year cap (instead of the current and more standard 6-7 cycle).


Under the proposal, each department may end up having its own rules
about the tenure process, including allowing or not a second try if the
first one fails and also allowing or not tenure track faculty to go

Nothing is decided yet. Watch this space for updates.

This reminds me to post the first entry in my list of “Ten most
useful blogs”. This would be a free and very informative site on Higher


Here is an interesting recent link about tenure from this site:


More blogs from my top ten will follow (in no particular order) in future postings.

Resuming the blog

After a long hiatus, I am planning to restart the blog.

I-LIST and DR-LIST have been very successful. It turns out that I
sent out 235 messages to I-LIST and 239 messages to DR-LIST since the
last posting in this blog. Sending email from elm is much easier for me
than logging on to the blog server and editing html pages. At the same
time, maintaining a blog presence is also quite important to reach out
to new audiences.


Physicists, sociologists, and linguists

Eszter Hargittai recently wrote about “Isolated Social Networkers” in
her blog.

Her claim (inspired by some earlier discussions on the INSNA SOCNET
mailing list) is that physicists working on social networking problems
rarely cite the relevant prior work in sociology. She includes a
diagram by Lin Freeman that supports this claim in a graphical form.

I am personally of the opinion that both sides of the picture have
contributed significantly to the field and should not be calling each
other names but that’s not the point of my posting. Reading Eszter’s
story, I couldn’t help remembering a discussion from a few years ago
between a group of physicists in Italy (Benedetto et al.) and Joshua
Goodman (a computer scientist at Microsoft Research).

Benedetto et al. had published a paper (”Language Trees and Zipping“) in a good Physics journal
(Physical Review Letters) in which they showed a compression-based
method for identifying patterns in text and other sequences.

According to Goodman

“I first point out the inappropriateness of publishing a Letter
unrelated to physics. Next, I give experimental results showing that
the technique used in the Letter is 3 times worse and 17 times
slower than a simple baseline, Naive Bayes. And finally, I review
the literature, showing that the ideas of the Letter are not
novel. I conclude by suggesting that Physical Review Letters should
not publish Letters unrelated to physics.”

Benedetto et al’s rebuttal appeared in Arxiv.org