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Liwen Hou

PhD Student

Liwen Hou


Office Location

440 Huntington Avenue
472 West Village H
Boston, MA 02115


Liwen Hou is a PhD student researching computational linguistics and natural language processing at Northeastern University’s College of Computer and Information Science, advised by Professor David Smith. Before coming to Northeastern, she earned her Bachelor of Mathematics degree from the University of Waterloo, Canada, and then attended McGill University, Canada, to earn a second bachelor’s degree in linguistics and computer science. At Northeastern, Liwen is able to make use of her mixed background by taking a computational approach to investigating the evolution of language over time.


  • BA in Linguistics and Computer Science, McGill University – Canada
  • BMath in Mathematics/Financial Analysis and Risk Management, University of Waterloo – Canada

About Me

  • Field of Study: Computational Linguistics, Natural Language Processing
  • PhD Advisor: David Smith

What are the specifics of your graduate education (thus far)?

I am in my second year and am still working towards completing all of the required courses. I attend regular research meetings with my advisor, and recently we are meeting with several other professors to form new collaborations and to brainstorm ideas for new projects.

What are your research interests?

I am interested in using computational methods to gain insights into how natural languages work, which may in turn improve the abilities of computers to process language. Currently, I am particularly interested in changes that languages undergo over time.

What’s one problem you’d like to solve with your research/work?

With the help of datasets containing billions of words, I am currently working on automatically detecting syntactic changes that have occurred in the English language over the last two hundred years.

What do you find most interesting?

The evolution of language over time is an area that has always fascinated me. I think applying computational methods to diachronic linguistics is an exciting direction.

What are your research/career goals, going forward?

I would like to make lifelong contributions to the field of computational linguistics. I also enjoy teaching and tutoring, so I am open to a teaching career as well.

Where did you grow up or spend your most defining years?

I grew up on three different continents, but I spent half of my life in Canada.

Where did you study for your undergraduate degree?

I obtained my first degree from the University of Waterloo. After that, I earned another undergraduate degree from McGill University.