ACL Newsletter, 1998

Enclosed you will find the 1998 ACL Membership/Order form. We look forward to an active year with strong participation from our membership. We would like to welcome Dr. Eva Hajicova as the incoming President and Dr. Phil Cohen as Vice President of the ACL for 1998. Dr. Kathleen McCoy is beginning a three year term as the Secretary-Treasurer of the ACL. We also welcome all new members who have decided to join the Association.

Over the past year a great deal of change has taken place in the ACL organization. The ACL is now a truly international organization. This past year, of the 57 submissions to Computational Linguistics, 25 - almost half - were from Europe, 18 from North America, 11 from Asia, and 3 from the Middle East. At the 1997 conference in Madrid, 49% of the 264 submissions were from Europe, 33% from North America, and 18% from Asia. So there's hard evidence that CL activity in Europe now surpasses that in the US and that there is very strong and growing activity in Asia and the Pacific Rim.

At the Madrid Joint EACL/ACL Annual Meeting this summer, the Executive Committee decided to take the first steps to truly internationalize the ACL.

We seek a structure for the ACL that both creates a truly international ACL and that reflects the fact that there are strong regional interests and special circumstances. We believe that the European chapter is one particularly good existing model of how to reflect these circumstances and we strongly advocate the formation of a NA chapter on roughly that model. The exec particularly hopes that some appropriate variation of this new structure or some other innovative structure can be found to allow increased interaction with the substantial CL activity in Asia and the Pacific Rim.

We also believe that the composition of the ACL executive committee itself needs to be changed to better reflect the geographic distribution of the membership and that this will require some constitutional changes. During the next year, we intend to first present to the membership proposals for constitutional change, seeking your suggestions and amendments and later to bring an appropriately modified concrete proposal to the membership for its approval.

We have also agreed that ACL conferences should be held where the ACL membership is, and have begun to look at a variety of specific proposals to implement this. We feel that holding the ACL annual meeting primarily on the North American continent is no longer acceptable, given the geographic distribution of activity in computational linguistics and the distribution of our membership.

We also made another decision that affects the conference schedule - that we need to hold applied meetings at roughly the same intervals as the more theoretical annual meetings. There are good arguments both for holding ANLP meeting simultaneously with ACL annual meetings and for holding them separately. We strongly invite your comments on how to proceed.

We hope to set out on some big changes that some of you will feel are long overdue and that some of you may find jarring. We also very much seek your advice and feedbank about these plans.