Lecturer in Computer Science, University of Cape Town
Information for prospective studentsPlease read the information on this page as well as the relevant information on the UCT School of IT website before contacting me. This will maximize the chances that I will reply to your inquiry and that I will be able to assist you. Generic inquiries which don't give any information about yourself or your research interests will be ignored (this has to be more specific than just Computer Science or Data Science). If you are unsure about which programme to apply to I may be able to advise, but only if you provide me with the necessary information. A number of other UCT Computer Science faculty members also work on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, or Natural Language Processing.
I primarily supervise projects involving both Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning. Please look at my research profile to get an idea of the kind of projects I work on. I am currently particularly interested in supervising students interested in (1) low-resource NLP applied to African languages, (2) text generation, and (3) modelling the semantic structure of text, but I may also supervise other topics.
- January 2021: I have a funded position available for a student to do a full-time Masters by Dissertation, starting in March 2021 or soon afterwards. See here for details.
How to applyTo inquire about doing research under my supervision, please email me the following:
- a CV
- academic transcript
- a sample of academic writing
- a 1-page statement of your research interests
I supervise students through the following programmes at UCT:
PhD in Computer Science: This is a 3- to 4-year research degree for doing substantial original research. Applicants should have a Masters degree that included a research dissertation. Prior research experience in Machine Learning or Natural Language Processing is required - this could be through a research dissertation or through publication(s). If you are interested in doing this degree under my supervision you should contact me before applying to the university, as only candidates who already have an agreed supervisor will be admitted. Part-time candidates will be accepted only in exceptional circumstances.
Funding: I will advise candidates I agree to supervise on options for obtaining funding. I am a faculty member of the HPI Research School at UCT which offers PhD scholarships to students from the African continent. This requires a separate application. In all cases candidates are encouraged to apply for multiple scholarships.
Masters in Computer Science by Dissertation: This is a 2-year research degree with no coursework requirement. It involves completing a larger research project (and corresponding dissertation) than the Coursework and Dissertation programmes (see below). Applicants should have a strong 4-year Bachelor's or Honours degree in Computer Science that included a research project. Prior experience in Machine Learning or Natural Language Processing is required - this could be through coursework, self-study, work experience or doing a research project in the area. If you are interested in doing this degree under my supervision you should contact me before applying to the university, as only candidates who already have an agreed supervisor will be admitted. Part-time candidates will be accepted only in exceptional circumstances.
Funding: I will advise candidates I agree to supervise on options for obtaining funding. In some years I may have funding available, but this cannot be guaranteed. In all cases candidates are encouraged to apply for scholarships.
Masters by Coursework and Dissertation: The second option for doing a Masters at UCT is through coursework and dissertation. There are a number of different programmes that each have their own entrance requirements and structure. The first year usually consists primarily of coursework and in the second year a research dissertation is completed. For all of these programs you need to apply directly to the university. Students who have already started their studies are welcome to contact me to discuss doing their dissertation under my supervision.
- Masters in Computer Science by Coursework and Dissertation: This programme is suitable for students with a strong 4-year Bachelor's or Honours degree with a major in Computer Science. The coursework options cover a range of different research areas in Computer Science. This degree is suitable for students who want to add more breadth to their Computer Science education before focussing on research in a particular area, or who have limited experience in their area of interest.
- Masters in Information Technology: This is a programme for students with an undergraduate degree in a field other than Computer Science. The coursework covers undergraduate Computer Science content in a compressed time-frame. The degree is run online and can be done part-time.
- Masters in Data Science: The coursework for this programme is primarily offered by the Statistics department, focussing on Machine Learning, Data Science, and Statistics. An undergraduate degree in a quantitative subject (but not necessarily Computer Science) is required.
Undergraduate research: CSC2005Z (Independent Research in Computer Science): Academically strong second- or third-year undergraduates at UCT may apply to do this course, which involves doing a research project. Students interested in Natural Language Processing are welcome to contact me to discuss potential projects. Prior experience in NLP or Machine Learning is helpful but not required.