Nizar Habash


University Courses

  • CS-UH 3090: Research Seminar in Computer Science. (Spring 2020)
    • Undergraduate Computer Science Course. New York University Abu Dhabi
    • Syllabus
    • Description: The research seminar exposes students to a variety of research areas and methods within the field of Computer Science through weekly lectures from different CS and non-CS faculty in an initial learning phase. After this phase, students and advisors are matched taking into account their research preferences. After being assigned a capstone advisor, students start to develop a better sense of the project’s research area through literature reviews and regular one- on-one meetings. They then formulate a clear and coherent research problem and develop a plan, including a budget if needed, on how they intend to solve the problem and evaluate it in the course of the seminar and the following capstone project course.
  • CADT-UH 1011: Words. (Fall 2019, Fall 2018, Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015)
    • Undergraduate Core Course (Arts, Design and Technology). New York University Abu Dhabi
    • Syllabus and Slides
    • Description: Words, words, words. How do words, as basic units of language, help us communicate our thoughts? How are they internally constructed? And how do they come together to form complex meanings? How are words from different languages similar, and how are they different? Do words reflect or shape our thought? Do they expand or constrain our imagination? This interdisciplinary course explores what words are and how we think of them by bringing together insights and ideas from a number of fields: linguistics, computer science, psychology, sociology, philosophy, history, literature, religion and visual arts to help answer these questions. Students will read materials from a variety of books and articles and discuss them in class, and they will engage in solving language puzzles. Students will learn how to analyze words in terms of their form, function and meaning in context. Class final group project will be to invent a constructed language.
    • Syllabus and Conlang Projects from Fall 2018
    • Syllabus and Conlang Projects from Fall 2017
    • Syllabus and Conlang Projects from Fall 2016
  • CS-UH 2216: Natural Language Processing. (Spring 2019, Spring 2017, Spring 2016, Spring 2015)
    • Undergraduate Computer Science Course. New York University Abu Dhabi
    • Syllabus and Slides
    • Description: The field of natural language processing (NLP), also known as computational linguistics, is interested in the modeling and processing of human ("natural") languages. Examples of some of the advances of NLP include machine translation (as in Google Translate, which translates among 80 languages) and question answering (as in IBM's Watson system, which won Jeopardy in 2011). This course covers foundational NLP concepts and ideas, such as finite state methods, n-gram modeling, hidden Markov models, part-of-speech tagging, context free grammars, syntactic parsing and semantic representations. The course will survey a range of NLP applications such as information retrieval, summarization and machine translation. Concepts taught in class will be reinforced in practice by hands-on assignments.
  • COMS E6998: Topics in Computer Science: Machine Translation. (Spring 2013, Fall 2011, Falll 2010)
    • Graduate Computer Science Course. Columbia University
    • Syllabus
    • Description: This seminar course introduces students to research in Machine Translation.


  • Habash, Nizar. Introduction to Arabic Natural Language Processing, Synthesis Lectures on Human Language Technologies, Graeme Hirst, editor. Morgan & Claypool Publishers. 187 pages, 2010. (PDF version from Publisher) (Amazon)
    • Description: This book provides system developers and researchers in natural language processing and computational linguistics with the necessary background information for working with the Arabic language. The goal is to introduce Arabic linguistic phenomena and review the state-of-the-art in Arabic processing. The book discusses Arabic script, phonology, orthography, morphology, syntax and semantics, with a final chapter on machine translation issues. The chapter sizes correspond more or less to what is linguistically distinctive about Arabic, with morphology getting the lion's share, followed by Arabic script. No previous knowledge of Arabic is needed. This book is designed for computer scientists and linguists alike. The focus of the book is on Modern Standard Arabic; however, notes on practical issues related to Arabic dialects and languages written in the Arabic script are presented in different chapters.
    • Table of Contents: What is "Arabic"? / Arabic Script / Arabic Phonology and Orthography / Arabic Morphology / Computational Morphology Tasks / Arabic Syntax / A Note on Arabic Semantics / A Note on Arabic and Machine Translation
    • This book was translated to Arabic by Prof. Hend Al-Khalifa of King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (2014). (King Saud University Press)


Selected Talks

  • Nizar Habash. Language Technologies for Arabic and its Dialects. Arab Women in Computing Conference, Beirut, 2017 (Slides)
  • Nizar Habash. Arabic Natural Language Processing using MADAMIRA. Arab Women in Computing Conference, Beirut, 2017 (Slides)
  • Nizar Habash. Language Technologies for Arabic and its Dialects. Workshop on Arabic Dialect Technologies, Abu Dhabi, 2016 (Slides)