CAS Natural Language Processing - AI for Language

Mathematical Institute

Machine translation, information extraction, question answering and non-sense natural language generation performed by NLP algorithms are already part of everyday life. However, the new semantic understanding capabilities seen in recent trained transformers like Large Language Models (LLM) like ChatGPT, BERT and Gemini not only expand the NLP application space enormously, but also represent possible first steps towards consciousness and mind outside human and animal nerve systems. 

The program targets practitioners who aim for an overview of the NLP domain with focus on recent developments (deep learning models) and hands-on learning. Programming skills and some machine learning experiences are an advantage, however, not really required as we offer a free pre-course in Python.

The CAS format is designed to align with the participants’ main professional and study activities. The workload is on average about 20% of a full-time position over a year. The teaching and learning approaches are team and discussion oriented, aimed at developing practical competency. All modules can also be attended online. 

Summary
Degree Certificate of Advanced Studies in Natural Language Processing NLP University of Bern (CAS NLP Unibe)
Start 08/2024
Length August 2024 – July 2025
Scope 16 ECTS
Cycle Annual
Flexible entry possible No
Single module visitable Yes
Place University of Bern; Mürren, Bernese Oberland (Module 6); Camogli, Liguria, Italy (Module 3)
Language English
Admission The prerequisite for admission to the programme is a degree from a university or a university of applied sciences.
Registration until 2024/07/15
Cost CHF 9'600
Special Offer Students and Employees of the University of Bern: CHF 5’600
Organising institutions Mathematical Institute
Registration

If there are free places, modules can be attended individually.

Module 1: NLP Fundamentals

Block module. In this module, linguistics and machine learning concepts are introduced and an overview of the NLP field and common applications is given.

Module 2: Preprocessing and basic analysis

Block module. In this module, participants learn to perform basic preprocessing and analysis of natural language.

Module 3: Neural networks

In this module, participants learn how neural networks work, are trained, tuned, assessed and applied for NLP tasks

Module 3 takes place at the mediterranean coast. Full pension hotel accommodation is included in the CAS fee. 

Module 4: Transformers

Participants study transformers and learn why they have changed the NLP field.

Module 5: Philosophical and ethical aspects of NLP

In this module, participants study and discuss ethical and philosophical aspects related to machines being capable of natural language processing.

Module 6: Frontier and applications

This module consolidates the knowledge obtained from previous modules to focus on prominent NLP topics and applications.

Module 6 takes place in the wonderful historic hotel Regina in the ski resort Mürren (Bernese oberland), only about two train hours from Bern. Full pension hotel accommodations are included in the CAS fee. 

All modules

The duration of all modules corresponds to approximately 20 classroom hours each and module work (expected eff ort is 30 hours), with each complete module qualifying for 2 ECTS points. The expected workload for the CAS Project is 120 hours. Computational resources are offered.

 

The CAS Natural Language Processing is a university study program leading to a “Certificate of Advanced Studies in Natural Language Processing” awarded by the University of Bern.

The field Natural Language Processing belongs to both computational linguistics as its engineering domain and artificial intelligence as an increasingly important subdomain. The applications based on deep neural networks have reached a
performance level which cannot be ignored by any field that is processing natural languages.

The program is organised into six modules, running over 18 course days from August to January and targets practitioners who aim for an overview of the NLP domain with focus on recent developments (deep learning models) and hands-on learning. The difficulty is at a university master level and assumes own basic machine learning experience, programming skills and a higher education degree.

Objectives

Course competence is developed throughout six modules and a CAS project work. On completion the graduates will (be able to):

  • have an overview of the NLP domain and common applications
  • be able to perform relevant preprocessing tasks needed for advanced NLP
  • be able to understand neural networks and practice them on own NLP applications
  • be able to understand transformers and practice transfer learning with transformers for own applications
  • know discussions related to philosophical and ethical aspects around NLP and artificial intelligence
  • be familiar with active research in the NLP domain.
Building Abbreviations
Abbreviation Building
ExWi Exakte Wissenschaften (Sidlerstrasse 5)
UniM Uni Mittelstrasse (Mittelstrasse 43)
HG Main Building (Hochschulstrasse 4)
PT Parkterrasse 14
UT Unitobler (Muesmattstrasse)

Information Events

Learn everything you need to know about the CAS in Natural Language Processing. One introduction is mandatory, remote participation is possible. 

Introduction Events 2023
Date Time Location Title Lecturer Comments
2023-03-27 18:15 - 20:00 HG 212 Introduction to CAS NLP PD Dr. S. Haug Link to Zoom Meeting.
2023-06-19 18:15 - 20:00 HG 212 Introduction to CAS NLP PD Dr. S. Haug Link to Zoom Meeting. Slides.

Introductionary courses

Prepare yourself for the CAS Modules. We offer the following introductionary courses to refresh your knowledge.

Data Science Fundamentals 2023
Title Date Time Location Lecturer Description Comments

Introduction to Programming (Python)

2023-08-14 09:15 - 17:00 UT

F-123

Dr. K. Sipos This course is intended for CAS ADS students but CAS NLP participants who would like to refresh their Python programming knowledge are welcome too. Link to Ilias course 

Mathematical Methods for Data Science and Machine Learning

2023-08-15 - 2023-08-18 

(4 half days)

09:15 - 12:30 UT

F-121

Dr. K. Sipos This course is intended for CAS AML students, but interested CAS NLP participants who wish to deepen their mathematical knowledge and learn about machine learning mathematics are welcome too. Link to Ilias course

Modules

All Information about Modules 1-6. 

Course materials are accessed via the Ilias learning platform.

CAS NLP Modules 2023/2024
Module Course Title Date  Time Location Lecturer(s) Comments

Module 1 

M1 NLP Fundamentals 2023-08-22 - 2023-08-25 

(4 Days)

09:00 - 12:30 UT

F-111

Prof. Dr. T. Hodel
M1 Project TBD

Module 2 

M2 Preprocessing and basic analysis 2023-08-29 - 2023-09-01 

(4 Days)

09:00 - 12:30 UniM

016

M2 Project TBD

Module 3 

M3 Neural Networks 2023-10-09 - 2023-10-13

(5 Days)

08:30 - 12:30

17:00 - 19:00

TBD (Mediterranean Coast) PD Dr. S. Haug, Dr. M. Vladymyrov  Monday is arrival day - On Monday, the module content starts 17:00. On Friday the module ends at 12:30
M3 Project TBD

Module 4 

M4 Transformers Every Friday

2023-10-20 until 2023-12-15

15:15 - 17:00 ExWi 
B1
M.Sc. J. Niklaus, Dr. Sukanya Nath
M4 Project TBD

Module 5

M5 Philosophical and ethical aspects of NLP Every Friday

2023-10-20 until 2023-12-15

13:15 - 15:00 ExWi 
B1
Prof. Dr. Dr. C. Beisbart
M5 Project

Module 6

M6 Frontier and applications 2024-01-29 - 2024-02-02

(5 Days)

08:30 - 12:30

17:00 - 19:00

Hotel Regina Mürren 

(Bernese Oberland)

PD Dr. S. Haug, Dr. M. Vladymyrov  On Friday the module ends at 12:30

Final Project 

2024-06-15 Submit your project report as a pdf by uploading it here. In that pdf, also provide a link to your CAS repository with the code/notebooks etc. If the pdf is confidential, submit it as email to Sigve. The link also provides information about how to write the report.

Events and other important dates

Informal events, other dates
Title Date Time Location Comments

CAS Completion Notification

2024-07-31 Be informed that you have completed the CAS programme

CAS Graduation Celebration

2024-08-30 13:30-16:30 and 17:00-22:00 Sidlerstrasse 5 ground floor and Lesbar in Münstergasse Symposium with CAS project posters in Sidlerstrasse. Apero rich in Lesbar. Registration here. You will also receive an invitation per email in July.
Building Abbreviations
Abbreviation Building
ExWi Exakte Wissenschaften (Sidlerstrasse 5)
UniM Uni Mittelstrasse (Mittelstrasse 43)
HG Main Building (Hochschulstrasse 4)
PT Parkterrasse 14
UT Unitobler (Muesmattstrasse)

Information Events

Learn everything you need to know about the CAS in Natural Language Processing. One introduction is mandatory, remote participation is possible. 

Introduction Events 2024
Date Time Location Title Lecturer Comments
2024-03-11 18:15 - 20:00 HG 208
Introduction to CAS NLP PD Dr. S. Haug Link to Zoom Meeting
2024-06-12 18:15 - 20:00 HG 208
Introduction to CAS NLP PD Dr. S. Haug Link to Zoom Meeting

Introductionary courses

Prepare yourself for the CAS Modules. We offer the following introductionary courses to refresh your knowledge.

Data Science Fundamentals 2024
Title Date Time Location Lecturer Description Comments

Introduction to Programming (Python)

2024-08-12 09:15 - 17:00 UT, room F -121 Dr. K. Sipos This course is intended for CAS ADS students but CAS NLP participants who would like to refresh their Python programming knowledge are welcome too. Link to Ilias

Mathematical Methods for Data Science and Machine Learning

2024-08-13 - 2024-08-16 

(4 half days)

09:15 - 12:30 UT, room F -121 Dr. K. Sipos This course is intended for CAS AML students, but interested CAS NLP participants who wish to deepen their mathematical knowledge and learn about machine learning mathematics are welcome too. Link to Ilias

Modules

All Information about Modules 1-6. 

Course materials are accessed via the Ilias Learning Platform upon receiving the course password. 

CAS NLP Modules 2024/2025
Module Course Title Date  Time Location Lecturer(s) Comments

Module 1 

M1 NLP Fundamentals 2024-08-20 - 2024-08-23 

(4 Days)

09:00 - 12:30 Tuesday, 2024-08-20: UniM, room 016

Wednesday, 2024-08-21: UniM, room 016

Thursday, 2024-08-22: UniM, room 216

Friday, 2024-08-23: UniM, room 216

Prof. Dr. T. Hodel
M1 Project TBD

Module 2 

M2 Preprocessing and basic analysis 2024-08-27 - 2024-08-30

(4 Days)

09:00 - 12:30 Tuesday, 2024-08-27: UniM, room 016

Wednesday, 2024-08-28: UniM, room 016

Thursday, 2024-08-29: UniM, room 016

Friday, 2024-08-30: UniM, room 116

M2 Project TBD

Module 3 

M3 Neural Networks 2024-10-07 - 2024-10-11

(4 Days)

08:30 - 12:30

17:00 - 19:00

Hotel Cenobio Dei Dogi - Camogli (Liguria, Italy) PD Dr. S. Haug, Dr. M. Vladymyrov Monday is arrival day - On Monday, the module content starts 17:00. On Friday the module ends at 12:30
M3 Project TBD

Module 4 

M4 Transformers Every Friday

2024-10-18 until 2024-12-13

15:15 - 17:00 ExWi, room B078
M.Sc. J. Niklaus, Dr. Sukanya Nath
M4 Project TBD

Module 5

M5 Philosophical and ethical aspects of NLP Every Friday

2024-10-18 until 2024-12-13

13:15 - 15:00 ExWi, room A097
Prof. Dr. Dr. C. Beisbart
M5 Project

Module 6

M6 Frontier and applications 2025-01-27 - 2025-01-31

(4 Days)

08:30 - 12:30

17:00 - 19:00

Hotel Regina Mürren 

(Bernese Oberland)

PD Dr. S. Haug, Dr. M. Vladymyrov  Monday is arrival day - On Friday the module ends at 12:30
M6 Project

Final Project 

Final Project deadline

Events and other important dates

Informal events, other dates
Title Date Time Location Comments

CAS Apero

2024-08-23 17:00 TBD Come together and have a drink or two

CAS Completion Notification

2025-07-31 Be informed that you have completed the CAS programme

CAS Graduation Celebration

late August / early September TBD TBD Celebrate your Graduation!

The Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Natural Language Processing (NLP) is offered by the Mathematical Institute.

Program management

  • Prof. Dr. Jan Draisma 
  • Prof. Dr. Tobias Hodel
  • Prof. Dr. Paolo Favaro
  • PD Dr. Sigve Haug (director of studies)
  • Prof. Dr. Christiane Tretter (chair)
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Wihler

Lecturers            

  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Claus Beisbart 
  • PD Dr. Sigve Haug 
  • Prof. Dr. T. Hodel
  • Dr. Kinga Sipos 
  • Dr. Mykhailo Vladymyrov 
  • M.Sc. Joel Niklaus,
  • M. A. Phillip Ströbel
  • et al. 

Target groups

Aimed at students and professionals from the public/private sector that hold a degree from a university or a university of applied sciences (e.g. BSc, MSc, PhD).

SUITABLE AND INTENDED FOR PRACTITIONERS AND RESEARCHERS ► Gain an overview of the Natural Language Processing domain with a focus on recent developments (deep learning models) and hands-on learning.

Standard data sets are provided, but participants are encouraged to bring or acquire their own. lf you have any questions regarding whether this program could work for you, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Registered participants will receive acceptance confirmation by email and will be invited to one of the next information events. Attendance to one information event is mandatory. Participants can cancel their registrations before the deadline without any costs. After the deadline the regulations apply. Individual modules and electives can be attended before the registration. Please contact PD Dr. Sigve Haug for further information.

Registration opens in November and a maximum of 20 registrations can be accepted each year. Registrations are processed in the order of arrival. The CAS can only be offered if there are sufficient registrations by the deadline.

 

Per year there are 20 places. Registrations are accepted in the order they arrive. A waiting list is maintained. 

Program fees

Regular CAS program: CHF 9'600.-

Students currently enrolled in an University or University of Applied Sciences: CHF 5'600.-

Employees of University of Bern: CHF 5'600.-

Payment in installments is possible.

lnclusive of all modules, performance assessments, certificates, materials & teaching platforms, coffee breaks, full pension hotels (Module 3 and Module 6) and diploma apero.

Participants must supply their own laptops.

lf there are free places, modules can be attended individually. Prices are CHF 300.- per half day. Individual modules are accredited with certificates which are accumulated for the full CAS NLP.

Register here

"The CAS NLP at the University of Bern provides a deep insight into the secrets of Large Language Models. After the course, I was not only able to better understand how these models work, but also to train such models myself and programme them for my needs. The course is run by highly competent staff from the University of Bern and the small course groups allow for individual support. I can definitely recommend the course." Marc Eyer.

Contact

Cheyenne Friedrich

DI & MI

cheyenne.friedrich@unibe.ch

Assistant Education and Communication Manager Continuing Education in Extended Intelligence

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