2010Q1 Reports: NAACL

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Report from NAACL, February 2010

Rebecca Hwa - Chapter board chair

Owen Rambow - Past chapter board chair

Christopher Manning - Treasurer

Anoop Sarkar - Secretary


The NAACL election was held electronically in the Fall of 2009. Chris Callison-Burch (JHU) and Kristina Toutanova (MSR) replace Hal Daume III (Utah) and Rebecca Hwa (Pittburgh) as board members. Anoop Sarkar (Simon Fraiser) replaces Suzanne Stevenson (Toronto) as secretary. Rebecca Hwa replaces Owen Rambow (Columbia) as chair. Chris Manning (treasurer) ran unopposed for re-election. Owen Rambow and Grame Hirst remain on board ex officio as past NAACL Chair and ACL treasurer, respectively. The board now has nine members again.

Executive Committee Meetings

The Board converses regularly by e-mail. In addition, in 2010, the Board will meet in person at the NAACL HLT 2010 conference in Los Angeles. This needs to be scheduled ASAP.

NAACL Treasurer's Report

The Chapter's bank account held $108,294.60 at the end of November 2009. As foreshadowed, this is a large increase reflecting the healthy surplus from NAACL 2006 in Brooklyn ($57,000) offset only somewhat by expenditures. The expenditures were $12,000 catching up on payments for past JHU WS summer schools to JHU (for 2007 and 2008), $5,000 in support of NACLO 2009, a bit less than $2000 in support of students attending the JHU WS 2009 summer school, and the first expenditures on one of our new initiatives, almost $2000 in support of students attending NAACL 2009. 2010 should see other expenditures hit, including support under our new Latin American fund, and working out the financial outcome of NAACL 2007 (presumed to have made a loss).

North American conference in 2009

NAACL HLT 2009 took place in Boulder, Colorado, in June 2009. Mari Ostendorf was the conference chair; the PC co-chairs were: Michael Collins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (NLP) Lucy Vanderwende, Microsoft (NLP) Doug Oard, University of Maryland (IR) Shri Narayanan, University of Southern California (Speech); and Martha Palmer and James Martin were local organizers. The conference was the best attended NAACL/HLT conference ever. The main discussion points during the board meeting are highlighted below (full minutes is at: http://www.naacl.org/archives/index.html).

  • Sponsorship: Sponsors are encouraged to participate in “3-packs” of conferences. Some potential sponsors of student travel awards want to put certain conditions on sponsorship money, e.g., as travel for certain types of students or given as award presented at conference. Suggestions: We need to turn the issue over to the sponsorship committee, to determine policy to guide these decisions. Set up conference calls among local sponsorship people and sponsorship committee. Send sponsorship guidelines to everyone involved in conferences. Might make more sense to have two people doing local sponsorship.
  • Industry: There was some feedback from industry people that tutorials were more appealing this year – more applied/relevant topics. The Industry panel was also well attended and successful.
  • Demos: There were not as many demos this year (only 5), almost not worth the trouble. Will return consider revised demo policy for 2010.
  • Representation of IR: including IR, QA and TC, about the size of a medium sized area in the conference. (In rest of conference, smallest workshop is one related to IR, but well-attended tutorial on the topic.) Conclusion: There is an insufficient number of submissions to warrant a PC Co-Chair, but the topic does warrant an Area Chair. (Alternative view: Having a PC Co-Chair sends message that should encourage more submissions in this area; however, it doesn’t seem to be working.).
  • Scheduling: There were challenges in setting all the dates (submission, notification, etc., of all paper types), especially under time pressures. One lesson from this year – don’t try to coordinate with SIGIR. Suggestion: ACL and NAACL boards should coordinate some on dates and then turn over some suggestions to the PC chairs. Workshops schedule is done independently of local organizers. (Issues with setting up of posters.) Suggestion: Workshops Chair(s) should play stronger role in coordination and organization. Should refer this to ACL executive – broader issue of what the role of Workshops Chairs should be.
  • Short papers: implemented suggestion of having different categories of papers – negative result (1), interesting application note (10), small focused contribution (119), opinion piece (2), work in process (38). (Numbers indicate majority agreement on category for paper; 170 of 180 papers had such agreement.) Suggestion: Authors should specify category, not reviewers. Suggestion: Need to discuss the issue of short papers, and different categories, among wider membership, perhaps at Business Meeting. Suggestion: It might help to not call all of these “short papers”, because people are predisposed to think of short papers in a certain way (just as short versions of regular conference papers).

North American conference in 2010

NAACL HLT 2010 will take place in Los Angeles, California, in June 2010. Ron Kaplan is conference chair; Geral Penn (Toronto), Mary Harper (CASL), and Jill Burstein (ETS) are PC co-chairs; and David Chiang and Ed Hovy are the local organizers. Based on the 2009 debrief (see above), we agreed to drop the IR Co-Chair, and maintain the Speech Co-Chair. Another change that we agreed to try was to set the same deadline for both the long and short papers. When we meet during the summer, we will review how these changes affected the conference. We will also discuss whether accepted papers should be allowed an additional page to address reviewer comments.

North American conference in 2011

This is joint with ACL. The coordinating committee was formed early and work has started smoothly under Ido Dagan's leadership.

North American conference in 2012

A call for proposals has been issued.

Support for Summer Schools and Other Educational Outreach

We have increased our support for NACLO (the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad) and again supported student participation at the Johns Hopkins summer school.

Support for Outreach to the Latin American CL communities

We have established a small fund to support Latin American activities and a small fund to support regional student conferences. We have not yet received any request for the regional student conferences, but there have been a few Latin American requests. For 2009 and 2010, we have committed support to three events thus far:

  • the 7th Brazilian Symposium in Information and Human Language Technology (STIL 2009)
  • PROPOR 2010 - International Conference on Computational Processing of Portuguese Language (28 to 30 of April, Porto Alegre - RS, Brazil)
  • Escuela de Linguistica Computacional (ELiC -- winter school in Argentina, Aug 2010)