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Computational Argumentation

Seminar, master, summer 2018, L.079.08015


  • Instructor. Henning Wachsmuth
  • Location. F2.211
  • Time. Thursday, 4 pm, c.t.
  • First date. April 12, 2018.
  • Last date. July 12, 2018.


Argumentation is an integral part of both professional and everyday communication. Whenever a topic or question is subject to controversy, people consider arguments to form opinions, to make decisions, or to convince others of a certain stance. In the last years, the computational analysis and synthesis of natural language argumentation has become an emerging research area, due to its importance for the next generation of web search engines and intelligent personal assistance.

In this seminar, students will learn about basic and state-of-the-art techniques in computational argumentation, ranging from the mining of arguments from natural language text over the assessment of argumentation quality to the retrieval of arguments in web search.

Based on a few introductory lectures, each participant will choose a sophisticated topic from recent research. For this topic, knowledge from different literature has to be acquired and presented, first in a short outline talk and later in a longer research talk. In addition, the topic has to be summarized and discussed in detail in a paper-like article.


Students learn about:

  • Basics of computational argumentation
  • Research of the CSS group in this area
  • Selected state-of-the-art research in detail

Students practice:

  • Acquiring relevant literature and knowledge on a focused research topic
  • Understanding key concepts and methods related to the topic
  • Presenting the topic in short and in depth
  • Writing a scientific text about the topic


Students are graded based on four tasks:

  • Short talk, 5–7 minutes (~10% of the grade)
  • Long talk, 30–40 minutes (~40%)
  • Article, 8 pages + references (~40%)
  • Participation (~10%)

Each student is encouraged to meet with the instructor before the short talk, the long talk, and the submission of the article, in order to discuss content and presentation.



  • April 12. Introductory talk on computational argumentation  + Organizational
  • until April 16. Participants choose topics
  • April 19. Introductory talk on scientific presentation  + Topic assignment
  • April 26. Introductory talk on our research

Short talks:

  • May 3. All short talks

Long talks:

  • May 24. 4 long talks
    a. Mining 1: Unit segmentation
    b. Mining 2: Unit type classification
    c. Mining 3: Relation identification
    d. Stance classification

  • June 7. 4 long talks
    e. Classification of schemes
    f. Discourse and argumentation
    g. Argument graphs
    h. Overall argumentation

  • June 14. 2 long talks
    i. Argumentation quality assessment
    j. Fallacies

  • June 21. 2 long talks
    k. The role of the participants
    l. Debate winner prediction
    dropped: m. Argumentative zoning

  • June 28. 3 long talks
    n. Rhetorical devices
    p. Argumentation strategies
    q. Argumentation synthesis
    dropped: o. Framing

  • July 12. 3 long talks
    r. Visualization and interaction
    s. Argument search
    t. Argumentative writing support


  • until September 16. Submission of articles.


  • Presentations. Available in PAUL for now:
  • Slide template. Optional for the long talks: pptx
  • Article template. Mandatory for the articles: latex (recommended), word

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