We are looking for highly motivated, energetic, and independent graduate students and undergraduate students, with excellent technical and communication skills.
IGP-A, IGP-C, MEXT
We recommend special programs for overseas students to enter the master/doctoral course:
- International Graduate Program (A): an integrated master and doctoral education program
- International Graduate Program (C): master and/or doctoral education program
- MEXT Embassy Recommendation Scholarship: master and/or doctoral course
These programs may be convenient for overseas students, requiring no Japanese skill (all instructions are given in English). However, a prospective student must obtain a letter of consent from an academic supervisor before submitting an application to the Admissions Division. If you want to join our laboratory under these programs, please follow the instruction below and send your application documents via email.
Please send your application documents to us no later than one month before the official due. We need time for the selection process.
General entrance exam
Alternatively, it is possible for overseas students to apply to the general entrance exam for the master/doctoral course as Japanese students do. However, you must pass an examination given in Japanese with the severe competition with Japanese students. Taking this route, you may submit an application without a letter of consent from an academic supervisor.
Please don’t send an email to us only to obtain a consent or to present yourself for the general entrance exam. We may not reply to this kind of email because we have nothing we can do for you.
How to apply (for IGP-A, IGP-C, and MEXT)
Please send an application email to:
Fortunately, this laboratory receives quite a few inquiries from prospective students. Some inquiries cover the detailed information about a prospective student, but some include only a brief self-introduction. It is difficult for us to make a decision under the different amount of information. Thus, we kindly ask a prospective student to cover the following information in the initial inquiry.
- Program and course (master/doctor)
- Admission month and year
- Summary of undergraduate research (if you did)
- Summary of graduate research and publication list (if you are applying to the doctoral course)
- Research plan in this laboratory
- Result of English proficiency test
- Transcript(s) of the past school(s)
Please use PDF format when attaching a document in an email. Do not use a Microsoft Word file (.doc or .docx) or an external link (e.g., a URL to a cloud storage); we may not open these documents for security reason.
It is highly recommended to set the sender field of your email account to your full name. We often exchange emails with multiple prospective students at the same time. We sometimes search for your emails by using your name as a query to an email client, but miss your emails if you did not set the sender field properly.
We strongly recommend contacting multiple laboratories / universities at the same time to increase your chance. Choosing a laboratory surely change your future. Furthermore, there is rigorous competition for entry into our laboratory; we receive a number of interesting and excellent applications, but only some of which we are able to accept due to the space and resource limitation.
We hope the students joined the laboratory to acquire skills through research activities and make a confident start as a member of society in the future. Once you start working in the community, you are not only required to solve the problem of your clients or others, but also to spot or suggest a potential issue which even the client doesn’t notice. When you write a bachelor/master thesis, you also need to explore the unsolved problems by yourself, address them by all possible means to search for a solution, and give your findings back to the society. Through your research, you can acquire abilities to establish your specialty as if building your castle, to complete theories/works, and to appeal to others, which would be useful anywhere in the society.
There is always someone who has been conducting a related study in the world. Whenever you advance your research, you will face challenges from the world. For this reason, even when you write a bachelor/master thesis, you should set the research topic bearing in mind the need to present the findings of your research in international conferences or journals.
The laboratory has diverse people with various hobbies, skills, and thoughts; we respect the individuality of each member, learn from others, and have fun together. We hope that your experiences in the laboratory will be invaluable for the rest of your lives.
Study group for basics
After joining the laboratory, we read NLP textbooks together. In the study group for basics 2020, we adopt 黒橋，柴田著: 『自然言語処理概論』 and Jurafsky and Martin: “Speech and Language Processing” (SLP). We have SLP study group for basics together with Tokunaga laboratory.
NLP 100 exercises
The laboratory uses Python as a default programming language. Although you can use other programming languages for study, we recommend Python, which has many useful tools and libraries for data analysis and machine learning. Most new members are not so familiar with Python; we have a study group for NLP 100 exercises to review the codes together. This study group is also held with Tokunaga laboratory.
Research seminar is an opportunity where all members attend for information exchange, discussion, or sharing useful knowledge to advance the research. We develop skills in research presentation and question-answering in the seminar.
Paper reading is a seminar where all members attend to introduce exciting research papers of their own choice. It consists of two parts: paper presentation and video presentation. In the former, a member in charge picks a paper with his/her interest and gives a presentation as if he/she was the author of the paper, to brush up their presentation skills. In the latter, we focus on getting used to presentation or discussion in English by watching a good presentation video.
How to conduct research
After learning the basics of NLP in the seminars and the study groups described above, you will find the direction of your research. Then you need to decide the research topic, preferably before the summer vacation. You can choose your research topic on your own, or you can consult with your seniors/teachers if you want. Once you set a research topic, you advance your research having periodic meetings with your mentor every two weeks.
Winter is a season to summarize research. Many members in the laboratory submit their papers to the annual meeting of the Association for Natural Language Processing (deadline in mid-January, held in mid-March). We also have deadlines for international conferences in the NLP field in winter. After submitting papers to these conferences, the students finish their bachelor/master theses (deadline in early February) based on their results, and proceed to presentations of their bachelor/master theses (held in mid-February).
We provide personal desk space, a notebook computer, and a large-sized monitor to the members in the laboratory. Also, the laboratory subsidizes the expenses of books, software, or participation fees for conferences/seminars when they are necessary for research.
esa.io for information sharing
We share our research notes and useful information by esa, an information-sharing service tool. You can write texts in Markdown, which enables you to ask your seniors or teachers for advice smoothly without creating a slide. (Special thanks to esa, who offers charge-free services for educational institutions!)
Slack for communication
We use Slack, a popular business chat tool, for many occasions, including a quick question, chatting, and sharing information. (Special thanks to Slack, who offers discounts for educational institutions!)
Grammarly for English grammar/spell checker
We may struggle with English writing when you submit a paper to an international conference. We provide to all members in the laboratory a license for Grammarly, an automated English grammar checker.
We do not have fixed working hours or core time in the laboratory. Everyone can come to the laboratory and go home whenever they want. Of course, weekends are off. You don’t have to stay the laboratory longer than your seniors/teachers—no problem for leaving earlier. We arrange the schedule for research seminars, study groups, or meetings with mentors on a date and a time that fits for each participant. However, we highly recommend you coming to the laboratory as much as possible; coming to the laboratory is the first step to make progress in your research.
We place much importance on our living environment to make a healthy and comfortable research life. We have air purifiers, humidifiers, circulators, whiteboards, a fridge, and a Japanese kotatsu. Additionally, the laboratory runs a snack stand to sell tea, snacks, and frozen meals at a low price. It’s very convenient for the students when they are busy to meet the deadline for their papers.
To prevent the infection/spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the laboratory has allowed the students to attend all seminars by a remote conference system since mid-February 2020. We asked them not to come to the laboratory from late March, and it is prohibited for all students to go to the laboratory from April. Thankfully, we can conduct our researches at any place, and we are familiar with online services such as Slack, esa, and Zoom even before the outbreak of COVID-19. We will continue our research utilizing teleworking and remote conferences in the future as well to cope with COVID-19.
The followings are the milestones we expect the students who joined the laboratory to reach. Note that not all of them are required; you can set your own goals to meet your needs.
- Acquire fundamental knowledge and skills.
- Read papers related to your bachelor study deeply enough to reproduce their works.
- Explain and discuss the significance and experimental methods of your research topic in your own words.
- Make progress in experiments by yourself through periodic meetings with your mentor, and discuss the outcomes.
- Write the findings of your bachelor study as a research paper.
- Make an easy-to-follow presentation about the work of your bachelor study.
- Present the work of your bachelor study at a domestic conference.
In addition to the milestones for the bachelor study, we encourage you to achieve the followings:
- Find papers related to your research by yourself and understand the research trend.
- Propose a reasonable and new method for approaching your research topic by yourself.
- Write a paper in English to organize the work of your bachelor/master study, and publish it in an international conference or a journal.
In addition to the milestones for the bachelor/master study, we expect you to achieve the following; we also recommend an activity to serve as a mentor for a student in the laboratory, which enables you to gain skills to review your researches and papers objectively.
- Be a leading researcher in the world regarding the research field deeply related to your research topics.
- Be an independent researcher who can find interesting research topics and advance research based on the latest trend of your research field.
- Publish your research findings in international conferences and journals for multiple times.
- As a mentor for a junior student, discuss research topics or proposed approaches or advise on paper writing or presentation.
Alumni career paths
- Daiwa Securities
- Preferred Networks (PFN)
- Rakuten Institute of Technology
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I do a part-time job?
Yes. There are plenty of opportunities only for young people, for example, working part-time or joining circle activities. You don’t have to worry about the schedule of the laboratory; we democratically arrange a date and a time that fits for every participant. You can also work as a teaching assistant (TA) or a research assistant (RA) in the laboratory.
Can I take part in an internship?
Yes. You can participate in an internship as long as it does not hinder your graduation/completion of the study. Joining as an intern gives you an excellent opportunity to have real experience in a company as well as to try your wings. We hope you will receive positive feedback from the company of your internship with some words of praise: “We are so glad that you came as an intern,” or “Please join us after graduation.” It’s possible to ask the professor to introduce a company for your internship.
Can I go abroad to study?
Yes. Once you start working as a member of society, your chances of going abroad for a long time will decrease. There are various programs and scholarships to support overseas study at university, so we encourage you to make use of them.
Should I study anything in particular to join the laboratory?
No. You are welcome to join us if you can tackle any challenges positively, with a lot of intellectual curiosity.