The fourth Teaching NLP/CL workshop
With a Focus on Olympiads in (Computational) Linguistics
An ACL-2013 Workshop
Ivan Derzhanski, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Dragomir Radev, University of Michigan
papers due May 3, 2013
acceptance notification May 24, 2013
camera-ready papers due June 7, 2013
workshop August 9, 2013
This is the fourth installment of the traditional workshop on Teaching
NLP and CL, held previously at ACL 2002, ACL 2005, and ACL 2008. As
with the previous instances, the workshop will cover all aspects of
teaching NLP and CL to high school and college students but this time
we will include a special focus area on the topic of Olympiads in
(Computational) Linguistics reflecting the origin of these Olympiads
in Europe and the growing interest in such educational events in
FOCUS: Olympiads in (Computational) Linguistics
Since the mid-1960s, problem-solving competitions in linguistics for
secondary school students have been taking place at various locations
around the world. In Russia, the Moscow Linguistics Olympiad and its
mirror in St. Petersburg are credited with inspiring hundreds of young
talented scholars to choose linguistics as an academic field and
profession. The International Linguistics Olympiad (IOL), an annual
event launched in 2003 with 33 participants from 6 countries, has grown
to 131 participants from 26 countries at its tenth instalment in 2012,
and has provoked the founding of regular regional and national
linguistic contests in much of the world. In this way linguistic
olympiads have proven a fruitful field for international cooperation.
The genre of the self-sufficient linguistic problem, intended to guide
the solver to the independent discovery of unfamiliar linguistic
phenomena and concepts or research issues of linguistics and adjacent
theoretical and applied disciplines, has also evolved over the years,
benefitting from the input of over 200 authors and now of emerging
national traditions. In particular, although problems on computational
linguistics (that is, such as illustrate fundamental or current issues
of natural language processing, rather than languages or linguistic
theory) have always had a presence at linguistic contests, in the US
and the other Anglophone countries (ELCLO, the English Language
Computational Linguistics Olympiad, now includes Canada, Ireland,
Australia, the USA and the UK), they have become a primary feature. In
part the revival of interest towards them is a response to the growing
importance of language technologies in contemporary life.
GENERAL AREA PAPER SOLICITATION
For the general area, we are looking for long and short papers on
topics like the following:
* Novel teaching methodologies: e.g., hands-on assignments, shared
* Novel assignments: e.g., connection to social media, the humanities,
finance, or integrative assignments that involve multiple concepts and
* Educational tools: resources, especially interactive ones, that
explain or visualize specific concepts.
* Targeting various student populations: linguists, first-year
students, mathematics majors,
* Teaching NLP online: massive open online courses, automatic grading,
resource sharing, legal and logistical issues
FOCUS AREA PAPER SOLICITATION
For the focus area, we are soliciting long and short papers on the
following and related topics:
* Linguistic problems: history and specific traits of the genre;
relation to other genres (word puzzles, logic puzzles, recreational
mathematics, linguistic quizzes, textbook exercises in linguistics,
olympiad-style problems in mathematics or informatics, etc.).
* Problem creation (general): choosing phenomena, obtaining and
selecting material, presenting data, designing assignments, evaluating
* Linguistic problems and: mathematics; poetry; terminological
systems; language-like non-language systems; etc.
* Computational problems: characteristics of the sub-genre, topics of
natural language processing that can be or have been illustrated in
problems, issues of problem composition.
* Problem translation: impact of the working language; reuse of
problems from foreign sources; IOL and multilinguality.
* Uses of linguistic problems for purposes other than student contests
(for example, in classroom teaching in secondary school and college
education, or for the education of the general public about languages
* Linguistic olympiads: how to start them, how to run them, how to
judge them; relation to olympiads in mathematics and the other
sciences; relation to the school curriculum.
* Other extracurricular activities in (computational) linguistics for
secondary-school and college students: lectures, mini-courses,
supervised student research.
In addition to these papers, the organisers will be collecting pointers
to educational resources on the Web, including sites of regional and
national contests, collections of problems and lists of linguistic
literature recommended to secondary school students.
Papers submitted to the workshop must describe original, unpublished
work. Only electronic submissions will be accepted. Submissions should
follow the two-column format of ACL proceedings and be made through
ACL's START system.
The participants are encouraged to submit sample NACLO-style
problems for the contest or other teaching materials. Check the NACLO
web site for sample problems from the past.
A panel on linguistic problem creation: how problems are made, how they
illustrate linguistic phenomena and concepts, how to use them to draw
attention to obscure points of one's native language,
multilinguality issues, etc.
A panel on computational problems: how they are made, how they differ
from the classical kind of linguistic problems, how they illustrate
actual research problems, how they relate to the solver's native (or
working) language, how they can be integrated in the syllabus of a
PROGRAM COMMITTEE (TO BE EXPANDED)
Boris Iomdin (to be confirmed)
Dick Hudson (to be confirmed)
Harold Somers (to be confirmed)