Welcome to the EACL newsletter for 2012. The newsletter starts with a message from the chair of EACL, Sien Moens. I give a short report on the progress being made for EACL 2014, to be held in Gothenburg, Sweden, and then we have a series of reports on the various international conferences in Computational Linguistics held in 2012.
The Student Board has again carefully edited a dense calendar of European and international events of interest that will soon take place. The document is available via the EACL home page.
This newsletter looks back to the 2012 conferences in the field of Computational Linguistics and especially those held in Europe.
The 13th Conference of EACL (EACL 2012), which was the main EACL event of 2012, took place in Avignon from April 23-27. The conference was chaired by Walter Daelemans and the local organization committee was headed by Marc El-Beze. As you will read from the report by the program chairs Lluiz Marquez and Mirella Lapata, the conference was very successful and there were about 450 participants, which is very good in a year when many computational linguistics conferences took place.
But let us look ahead. In 2013 Europe will be hosting the 51st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL 2013), which will be held in Sofia, Bulgaria on August 4-9 and will be organized by the Department of Computational Linguistics, Institute for Bulgarian Language and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The general chair is Hinrich Schuetze and the local chair is Svetla Koeva. Meanwhile we are very busy preparing the 14th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (EACL 2014), which will be held in Gothenburg, Sweden from 26 till 30 April, 2014.
Computational linguistics definitely has a place in Europe. This is also witnessed by the recent EU project calls in the FP7 framework focusing on language technology. We sincerely hope that the interest in this exiting multidisciplinary field continues to flourish in the coming decades and stays on the research agenda of the European Horizon 2020 framework.
Before I conclude, an acknowledgment. There has been a small change among EACL's student board members. We welcome Ivan Vulic (KU Leuven) as a new student board member and at the same time we would like to thank Pierre Lison (Department of Informatics, University of Oslo) for his involvement in the EACL student board.
Finally, we were deeply saddened to learn about the sudden death of Emanuele Pianta, Senior Researcher at the Human Language Technology Group (HLT) of the Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK) in Italy. We would like to express our sincere condolences and sympathies to his family and colleagues.
The current EACL board is composed as follows:Chair:
The first call for bids for EACL 2014 was sent out in April 2011, with a second call in August. We received 3 bids by the October deadline. The bids were reviewed by the EACL Board, along various dimensions, including budget, local facilities, and experience and standing of the proposed local organisation team. All 3 bids were put through to a second stage, during which the bidders were asked a series of questions from the EACL Board. The bidders then submitted a final proposal. At the end of this process, a clear winner emerged, voted for unanimously by the members of the Board, and this was the bid from Gothenburg in Sweden.
The preparation for EACL 2014 is running smoothly, with the conference venue in Gothenburg currently being finalised. We were delighted that Shuly Wintner agreed to be General Chair, and Shuly has already assembled an excellent team of conference chairs. The program chairs will be Sharon Goldwater (Edinburgh) and Stefan Riezler (Heidelberg). Emanuele Pianta had agreed to be one of the publications chairs, but, due to his recent sad and untimely death, Shuly had to search for a replacement. Emanuele's absence is already being felt by the EACL community.
The 13th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics took place in Avignon, France, April 23-27, 2012. The General Chair was Walter Daelemans, and Program Co-chairs were Lluis Marquez and Mirella Lapata. Local arrangements were handled by a team led by Marc El-Beze.
EACL 2012 received 326 submissions out of which 85 papers were accepted for presentation (an acceptance rate of 26%). 48 papers (14.7%) were presented orally, and 34 (10.4%) as posters. The papers were selected by a program committee of 28 area chairs, from Asia, Europe, and North America, assisted by a panel of 471 reviewers. Each submission was reviewed by three reviewers, who were furthermore encouraged to discuss any divergences they might have, and the papers in each area were ranked by the area chairs. The final selection was made by the program co-chairs after an independent check of all reviews and discussions with the area chairs.
This year EACL introduced an author response period. Authors were able to read and respond to the reviews of their paper before the program committee made a final decision. They were asked to correct factual errors in the reviews and answer questions raised in the reviewers comments. The intention was to help produce more accurate reviews. Another new feature was to allow authors to include optional supplementary material in addition to the paper itself (e.g., code, data sets, and resources). Finally, in an attempt to eliminate any bias from the reviewing process the program co-chairs put in place a double-blind reviewing system where the identity of the authors was not revealed to the area chairs.
The best paper was awarded to Franco M. Luque, Ariadna Quattoni, Borja Balle, and Xavier Carreras for their work on "Spectral Learning for Non-Deterministic Dependency Parsing". A dedicated committee chaired by Stephen Clark considered the best paper nominations and made the final decision. The prize was sponsored by Google. The best paper and two finalists were presented in plenary sessions at the conference. The conference had three invited speakers. Martin Cooke spoke about "Speech Communication in the Wild", Regina Barzilay discussed the topic of "Learning to Behave by Reading", and Raymond Mooney presented his work on "Learning Language from Perceptual Context".
In addition to the main conference program, EACL 2012 featured the Student Research Workshop, 10 workshops, 4 tutorials and a demo session with 21 presentations.
Overall, EACL 2012 was a great success, amidst Avignon's stunning surroundings, featuring an exciting scientific program and superb social activities.
The 50th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics took place in Jeju Island, Korea, 8 -- 11th July 2012. The General Chair was Haizhou Li and the Program Co-Chairs were Chin-Yew Lin and Miles Osborne.
ACL 50 was delighted to have two keynote speakers, both of whom are very well known in the language community: Aravind Joshi and Mark Johnson. They gave coordinated talks addressing the 50th ACL anniversary: "Remembrance of ACLs past" and "Computational linguistics: Where do we go from here?".
As is usual, the first day started with tutorials (chaired by Michael Strube). The main program received 571 valid long paper submissions and 369 short paper submissions. 19% of the long papers and 20% of the short papers were accepted.
Twenty nine Area Chairs worked with 665 reviewers, producing 1830 long paper reviews and 1187 short paper reviews. Everything ran to a tight schedule and there were no slippages. This would not have been possible without our wonderful and diligent Area Chairs and Reviewers. Thanks!
Of the many papers, two were selected as being outstanding: "Bayesian Symbol-Refined Tree Substitution Grammars for Syntactic Parsing" by Hiroyuki Shindo, Yusuke Miyao, Akinori Fujino, Masaaki Nagata and "String Re-writing Kernel" by Fan Bu, Hang Li, Xiaoyan Zhu.
Our Demo Chair, Min Zhang, started a novel review process and selected 29 quality system demos. The Faculty Advisors, Kentaro Inui, Greg Kondrak, and Yang Liu, and Student Chairs, Jackie Cheung, Jun Hatori, Carlos Henriquez and Ann Irvine, assembled an excellent program for the Student Research Workshop with 12 accepted papers. The Mentoring Chair, Joyce Chai, coordinated the mentorship of 13 papers. The Publicity Chairs, Jung-jae Kim and Youngjoong Ko, developed the website, newsletters, and conference handbook that kept us updated all the time. Exhibition Chair, Byeongchang Kim, coordinated more than 10 exhibitors with a strong industry presence.
The lifetime achievement award went to Charles Fillmore.
After the main conference there were two days of workshops (chaired by Massimo Poesio and Satoshi Sekine), plus 3 days of the EMNLP-CoNLL conference.
NAACL HLT 2012 took place June 3-8, 2012 in Montreal. The conference completed successfully, attracting a healthy number of attendees. The organizing committee was excellent and put together interesting programs and I am very grateful for the effort they put into this conference.
The main conference received 196 full paper submissions of which 61 papers were accepted (31% acceptance rate), as well as 105 short paper submissions of which 36 were accepted (34% acceptance). The number of submissions received was lower than in past years, and, based on postmortem analysis, is likely due to the fact that the submission deadline was 9 days before the ACL submission deadline and that no double submissions were permitted.
This year we also inaugurated "NLP Idol", a "game show" in which four contestants each tried to convince the audience that a past paper deserves a revisit in today's NLP world. The contestants and judges all did a great job, and it was both informative and entertaining for all involved. Overall, this new session was very well received.
2012 Joint Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and Computational Natural Language Learning July 12-14, 2012 Jeju Island, Korea
This year the Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Learning (EMNLP) and the Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL) were held jointly, and jointly organised by their respective special interest groups, SIGDAT and SIGNLL. EMNLP-CoNLL 2012 was co-located with ACL's 50th anniversary conference, on the beautiful Jeju Island in South Korea.
In addition to the focus on data-driven methods that is common to the SIGDAT and SIGNLL communities, this year's program included the CoNLL tradition of a shared task. Sameer Pradhan, Alessandro Moschitti and Nianwen Xue organised a shared task on "Modeling Multilingual Unrestricted Coreference in OntoNotes". We were also lucky to have two excellent invited speakers, Eric Xing and Patrick Pantel, representing the combination of theoretical insight and practical relevance that has given both EMNLP and CoNLL such a high impact in the ACL community.
Out of 606 submissions received by EMNLP-CoNLL this year, a total of 36 submissions were eventually withdrawn or rejected without review. From the remaining submissions, 99 were accepted for oral presentation and 40 for poster presentation, for a combined acceptance rate of 24.8%. Acceptance decisions drew on the expertise of a team of 525 primary and 66 secondary reviewers, 22 area chairs, and 2 program chairs. Authors of accepted submissions were offered an additional page in the camera-ready paper so that they could better address the comments received from reviewers. 335 people registered to attend EMNLP-CoNLL 2012.
Organising such a large conference requires a lot of work from many people. Special thanks should go to the general chair, Jun'ichi Tsujii, and the publications chair, Naoaki Okazaki. We benefited enormously from the local organisation provided by ACL, in particular Gary Geunbae Lee, but also Michael White, Maggie Li and Jong Park. Many people provided helpful advice, including David Yarowsky, Paola Merlo, Naoh Smith, Xavier Carreras and Priscilla Rasmussen.
The European Summer Schools in Logic, Language and Information (ESSLLI) have been organised every year since 1989 under the auspices of the Association for Logic, Language and Information (FoLLI) in different cities around Europe. The ESSLLI series has established itself as one of the major annual academic events in Europe, where dozens of worldwide leading academics present courses, organise workshops, and exchange ideas on a wide variety of established and new topics in the areas of Logic, Language, and Computation. It is regularly attended by several hundreds of highly motivated master and doctoral students and young researchers. One of the most distinct and valuable features of the ESSLLI schools is their highly interdisciplinary nature, making them a unique meeting point of logicians, linguists, computer scientists, philosophers, and mathematicians.
The 24th European Summer School in Logic, Language and Information (ESSLLI 2012, http://www.esslli2012.pl) took place at the University of Opole, Poland, during August 6-17, 2012. The organisation committee was chaired by Janusz Czelakowski and Urszula Wybraniec-Skardowska (Institute of Mathematics and Informatics, University of Opole) and the programme committee was chaired by Andreas Herzig (University of Toulouse and CNRS). During two weeks, over 350 participants were offered a rich academic program of their choice from 9 foundational, 16 introductory and 17 advanced courses and 6 workshops. Just as in the previous years, the 17th conference on Formal Grammar colocated with ESSLLI.
Besides the regular courses, a traditional highlight of the summer school were the 4 evening lectures by distinguished academics:
Another traditional event was the student session, organised by a student programme committee chaired by Rasmus K. Rendsvig (University of Copenhagen): master and doctoral students presented 16 papers and 5 posters, and Michal Zawidzki obtained the best paper award and Raul Fervari obtained the best poster award. Moreover, the Beth Dissertation Prizes were announced at the FoLLI General Meeting and went to Andreas Kapsner (University of Barcelona) and Daniel R. Licata (Carnegie Mellon University).
Apart from the busy academic programme, participants of the summer school were offered an exciting social program as well. In addition to the traditional ESSLLI Party and the famous Students vs. Lecturers Soccer Match (also called `Johan van Benthem Cup'), kayaking, and excursions to Krakow and Wroclaw were offered.
The budget of ESSLLI 2012 was based mainly on the participants' registration fees, with additional funding from the national research agency, local and international cultural institutions and academic organizations and business. In line with the ESSLLI tradition, all teaching and organizing work for the summer school was done on a voluntary basis. Lecturers and workshop organizers were not paid for their contribution but were reimbursed for part of their travel and accommodation cost. This made it possible to keep the participation at the school affordable for graduate students and to award several grants to underprivileged but highly motivated students who would have otherwise been unable to attend the summer school.
To sum it up, ESSLLI 2012 was a very successful and memorable academic and cultural event, and since its closing day many of the participants began looking forward to the next edition: ESSLLI 2013 in Dusseldorf, Germany, August 5-16, 2013. Chair of the Program Committee is Johan Bos (University of Groningen, The Netherlands), and Chair of the Organizing Committee is Wiebke Petersen (University of Dusseldorf).
The Calendar can be found by clicking on the link at the top left of the EACL web pages: http://www.eacl.org/