In today’s digitized world, every action we perform generates data. A significant chunk of this information is in the form of text. Companies across industries grapple with colossal amounts of unstructured text data from diverse sources. Natural language processing (NLP) techniques make it possible to interpret, categorize and gain value from this otherwise overwhelming information, giving companies a competitive edge in an increasingly data-driven landscape.
“Natural Language Processing with Python,” a new online certificate program from Cornell, was designed by Oleg Melnikov, visiting lecturer at the Cornell Bowers College of Computing and Information Science, to teach professionals the fundamentals needed to apply NLP in the workplace. Melnikov met with the eCornell team to discuss the importance of NLP knowledge and the ins and outs of the certificate program.
How does Natural Language Processing differ from machine learning?
“[NLP] is a topic that overlaps with machine learning. The difference is that machine learning doesn’t focus on text. It can have some examples related to text, but it’s primarily related to developing concepts of modeling, whereas in NLP, our domain is textual and we are focusing on solving language problems: text classification, translation, maybe building different representations of text in the mathematical domain. Machine learning steps in when we have converted text to numbers. Then we can apply machine learning algorithms.”
How are businesses currently leveraging NLP for their operations?
“This domain is expanding dramatically, and there are lots of projects in pretty much every domain. Different sectors, different companies, anything from McDonald’s to aviation, have some sort of textual interaction. All that requires some sort of summarization, some sort of categorization . . . where an individual doesn’t have to work with individual text but can step up at an aggregated level and process these massive text banks at scale.”
Who can gain the most value from your NLP program?
“NLP recently has been divided into two subdomains. One is what we’re introducing the students to: the classical techniques. Students who have not worked with NLP before would be good candidates for the certificate program. The courses are focused on preparing and developing students for the practical uses of natural language processing. There is another domain, which is a more modern, ChatGPT-like, neural-network-based NLP . . . that is for students who are more advanced with NLP skills.”
With textual analysis proving to be an integral tool across many industries, a working knowledge of NLP can help you and your workplace become more efficient. Expand your theoretical and technical expertise with NLP by enrolling in the Natural Language Processing with Python certificate program.
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