Natural Language Processing (6.806-864)

Generating and understanding human language remains one of the most exciting (and challenging) frontiers in artificial intelligence research. In this class, we'll survey contemporary prediction problems involving human language data, and introduce probabilistic modeling and representation learning tools that can be used to tackle them.

Course Staff

Jacob Andreas (
Jim Glass (

Abby Bertics
Dylan Doblar
Ekin Akyurek
Evan Hernandez
Harini Suresh
Hongyin Luo
Pranav Krishna
Wei Fang


Homework, announcements, etc. will be distributed on this Canvas page.

Class will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 2:30 PM ET via Zoom (see Canvas for link).


You are encouraged to work together on homework assignments, but all submitted writeups and code should be done on your own.

50% homework, 50% midterm (students in 6.864 will complete extra problems).
Grade scale: A [90, 100]; B [80, 90); C [70, 80); D [60, 70); F [0, 60).

Homework assignments lose 10\% for every late day. Final projects will not be accepted late.

This is not a normal semester! We want everyone to learn from this class, and we can almost certainly find a way to accommodate any issues that arise. If you're struggling, please reach out to Jacob or Jim as soon as possible.



Tu 16 Feb Introduction [sp20 slides]
Th 18 Feb Text classification [sp20 slides]
Tu 23 Feb Distributional semantics [sp20 slides]
Th 25 Feb Word embeddings [sp20 slides]
Tu 2 Mar Classical models of sequences (n-grams and HMMs) [sp20 slides]
Th 4 Mar Conditional random fields [sp20 slides]
Tu 9 Mar (no class)
Th 11 Mar Neural sequence models (recurrent NNs) [sp20 slides]
Tu 16 Mar Attention mechanisms [sp20 slides]
Th 18 Mar Transformers [sp20 slides]
Tu 23 Mar (no class)
Th 25 Mar Pretraining [sp20 slides]
Tu 30 Mar Classical models of trees (PCFGs and tree CRFs) [sp20 slides]
Th 1 Apr Neural models of trees
Tu 6 Apr More fun with language models
Th 8 Apr Machine reading and question answering [sp20 slides]
Tu 13 Apr Speech (part 1) [sp20 slides]
Th 15 Apr Speech (part 2)
Tu 20 Apr (no class)
Th 22 Apr Interpretability
Tu 27 Apr Dialog [sp20 slides]
Th 29 Apr NLP and human language processing
Tu 4 May Grammar induction
Th 6 May Language and vision [sp20 slides]
Tu 11 May Language and action
Th 13 May Social and ethical considerations [sp20 slides]
Tu 18 May Project presentations
Th 20 May Project presentations