2017Q3 Reports: SIGGEN

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Summary

SIGGEN is the Special Interest group on Natural Language Generation, the study of systems and methods to generate text or speech from both non-linguistic and linguistic input.

Membership

Currently, SIGGEN has around 423 members.

Board

An election was held in December 2016 for three positions on the SIGGEN board. The members elected in 2016, whose roles were assigned by consensus by the SIGGEN board, are the following:

  • Dimitra Gkatzia (Edinburgh Napier University, UK), Secretary
  • Amanda Stedt (Bloomberg, USA), Treasurer
  • Amy Isard (University of Edinburgh, UK), student representative

These members replaced the following people: Verena Rieser, Barbara di Eugenio and Xiao Liu (former student member).

In addition, there are the following serving members, whose term of elected office started on January 1, 2015:

  • Claire Gardent (CNRS and Lorraine University, Nancy, France), Chair
  • Albert Gatt (University of Malta), Member

The next SIGGEN board election is due to take place in December 2018.

Activities

Since the period covered in the last report for 2016, SIGGEN has been responsible for the following events.

INLG 2016

The 9th edition of INLG was held in Edinburgh, UK, on September 5-8, 2017. INLG 2016 was jointly organised by all three universities in Edinburgh, represented by Amy Isard (University of Edinburgh), Dimitra Gkatzia (Edinburgh Napier University) and Verena Rieser (Heriot-Watt University). The conference was attended by 92 participants and for the first time, it featured two workshops (CC-NLG and WebNLG), a tutorial (on Deep Learning for NLG) and a hackathon.

INLG 2017

The 10th edition of INLG will be held in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, on September 4-7, 2017. INLG (https://eventos.citius.usc.es/inlg2017/organization) 2017 is organised by Intelligent Systems Unit of the Research Centre in Information Technologies (CiTIUS) of the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) and University of Aberdeen, represented by Jose Alonso (CiTIUS-USC), Alberto Bugarin (CiTIUS-USC) and Ehud Reiter (University of Aberdeen).

Following the INLG 2016 template, INLG 2017 includes, in addition to the main conference, several workshops, a tutorial, a hackaton as well as a Generation Challenge session featuring both a running challenge and proposals for future shared tasks.

INLG 2018

The next INLG is scheduled to take place in 2018. Currently, the SIGGEN board is taking the necessary steps to identify the local organisers and programme committee chairs for the next event.

Moving to INLG only Meetings

In October 2016, it was decided through a poll (all SIGGEN-members were able to vote) that instead of alternating ENLG with INLG, there will from now on be a single, annual, international conference, called INLG and bringing together researchers working in Natural Language Generation and related fields.

The poll was a follow-up to an online survey which showed that 96.7 % of the participants agreed that there should be a single, international NLG conference (called INLG) held annually. The main reasons people gave for their responses were that:

  • an annual INLG conference would be more visible and have more international reach, while the ENLG/INLG distinction wasn't always clear;
  • from the perspective of research output and personal development, publishing in an annual conference is better (here, some people mentioned that ENLG wasn't on the radar among archival conferences, and the fact that it was a workshop was a disadvantage from the perspective of research output assessment, for example in the UK);
  • the original rationale for the ENLG/INLG split (partly related to delegates’ access to the events, depending on where they were held) is no longer strong;
  • having a single event is more coherent.

Financial report

SIGGEN's financial position continues to be extremely healthy, with $17,930.81 in our account. SIGGEN contributed $3500 to INLG 2016 towards registrations for 10 student volunteers.

Website

The SIGGEN website with all information has been moved into the ACL Wiki. The web address changed from www.siggen.org to http://aclweb.org/aclwiki/index.php?title=SIGGEN. This is part of an ongoing process to revamp and update the website.