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CS 7170: Inclusive and Equitable Language Technologies

Instructor: Malihe Alikhani
Time: Wednesday 6-9 pm

Course description

Language technologies have become integral to everyday communication, shaping social interactions and informing critical decision-making processes in areas such as recruitment, social media engagement, healthcare, and education. This seminar offers a comprehensive examination of how to develop equitable, robust, and inclusive language technologies that catalyze positive social change. We will study the potential for bias in learning models, delve into strategies for bias mitigation, and examine open problems in creating culturally grounded and inclusive language technologies. Weekly schedule is posted on Canvas.

Daily paper questions

Each student will be required to give one solo (given by the student alone) and one paired (given by a team of two students) research paper presentation. A paper presentation should be about 40 minutes and will be followed by 20 minutes of class discussion led by the presenter(s). The presentation should first summarize the content of the paper, clearly presenting: 1) What problem or task does the paper study? 2) What is the motivation for this problem/task, i.e., why is it important? 3) What is the novel algorithm/approach to this problem that the paper proposes? 4) How is this method evaluated, i.e. what is the experimental methodology, what data is utilized, and what performance metrics are used? 5) What are the basic results and conclusions of the paper? Finally, the presentation should conclude with the presenter's critique of the paper including 1) Are there any reasons to question the motivation and importance of the problem studied? 2) Are there any limitations/weaknesses to the proposed approach to this problem? 3) Are there any limitations/weaknesses to the evaluation methodology and/or results? 4) What are some promising future research directions following up on this work? For the paired presentation, the two presenters can decide how to divide the work of presentation among themselves.


Daily paper questions

Before each class in which papers are presented (by midnight each Tuesday before class), every student should submit two questions on Slack, one for each of the two papers scheduled to be presented in that class. To encourage everyone to attend the class and participate, I will start the discussion of each paper by randomly selecting three students to ask their questions in the class. 

Weekly paper critiques

At the end of every week (by midnight Friday), each student should submit a "weekly paper critique" on Canvas. Pick one of the papers discussed in class during the week and write a 1/2 page critique of the paper. Use the critique questions listed above for the oral presentations to guide your discussion, but there is no need to address all of these questions in a given critique. Submit a nicely formated 11pt font PDF. If you presented one of the papers during the week, choose another paper you did not present for your weekly critique.

Final research project

Final projects should ideally be done by teams of two students. Projects done by one or three students are possible on rare occasions with prior approval of the instructor. Each student is responsible for finding a partner for their final project. Feel free to post a message on Slack about your interests in order to find a partner with similar interests. 

Submit a one-page project proposal by September 16 that briefly covers the first 4 questions for research paper presentations (see above). I will provide feedback on these proposals, but they will not be graded. Students are encouraged to discuss project proposals with me in office hours before submitting them. Groups are required to give a 6-minute presentation about their progress on the final project in the 7th week of the class. During the last week of class, each team will be required to give a 20-minute presentation on the current state of their project, and lead a 15-minute discussion of their project. This will allow for two project presentations per class. Use the same format as the paired research paper presentations (see above), but you may have only preliminary actual results at that time to present. Submit the code to the GitHub repo for the class at midnight on December 1. Final project reports are due on Canvas at midnight on December 10. They should be formatted to meet the requirements of paper submission to the ACL conference as described here.

Final grade

The final grade will be computed as follows:

30% Solo Research Paper Presentations

10% Daily Paper Questions

10% Weekly Paper Critiques

20% Midterm Report and Presentation

30% Final Project Report

Academic integrity
All assignment submissions must be the sole work of each individual student. Students may not read or copy another student's solutions or share their own solutions with other students. Students may not review solutions from students who have taken the course in previous years. Submissions that are substantively similar will be considered cheating by all students involved, and as such, students must be mindful not to post their code publicly. The use of books and online resources is allowed, but must be credited in submissions, and material may not be copied verbatim. Any use of electronics or other resources during an examination will be considered cheating.

If you have any doubts about whether a particular action may be construed as cheating, ask the instructor for clarification before you do it. The instructor will make the final determination of what is considered cheating.
Cheating in this course will result in a grade of F for the course and may be subject to further disciplinary action.

Using an open-source codebase is accepted, but you must explicitly cite the source, especially following the owner's guideline if it exists. For any writing involved in the project, plagiarism is strictly prohibited. If you are unclear whether your work will be considered as plagiarism, ask the instructor before submitting or presenting the work

Students with disabilities

If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and Disability Resources and Services as early as possible in the term. DRS will verify your disability and determine reasonable accommodations for this course. More info at

Audio/video recordings

To ensure the free and open discussion of ideas, students may not record classroom lectures, discussions, and/or activities without the advance written permission of the instructor, and any such recording properly approved in advance can be used solely for the student's own private use. Since this is a seminar class and meetings are all online, students are required to use their cameras during the class.


Copyrighted materials

All material provided through this web site is subject to copyright. This applies to class/recitation notes, slides, assignments, solutions, project descriptions, etc. You are allowed (and expected!) to use all the provided material for personal use. However, you are strictly prohibited from sharing the material with others in general and from posting the material on the Web or other file sharing venues in particular.

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