Special Liason with Asia Reprot for 2002
Report on the AFNLP

J.Tsujii (University of Tokyo, Japan)

(1) The AFNLP has started to move, while the movement is not so quick as I expected. We had a meeting when NLPRS (NLP Pacific Rim Symposium) took place in November 2001, in Japan. At the meeting, we agreed that we should take more systematic approaches to the federation i.e. the qualification of memberships, committee structures, their written charters, procedures of appointment of chairman, etc.
(2) We, therefore, established four tasks groups to prepare a draft of constitution of the federation (membership qualification, process of decision making, etc.) and drafts of the charters of the three major committees of the Federation, that is, the conference coordination committee, the resource committee and the publicity committee. Each committee will have prepared the drafts by the mid August, and their drafts will be discussed at the meeting we have at the Coling, Taipei. In particular, the conference coordination committee report will recommend to have a flagship conference of the federation and to re-organize several conferences in the region.
(3) In general, the atmosphere of cooperation among Asian colleagues emerges and become stronger. The Thai group organizes a workshop on Asian MT systems and Multilingual NLP in May, 2002, supported by the UN. Participants were from countries like Vietnam, Myanmar, India, Indonesia and Malaysia as well as Japan, and Korea. They also took initiatives in organizing a workshop at Coling. The members of the resource committee also organize another workshop at Coling. A conference in Asia, IRAL (Information Retrieval with Asian Languages) is planning to organize their conference at ACL2003 at Sapporo as a workshop.
(4) The first issue on Transaction of Asian Language Information Processing (TALIP) by ACM finally appeared. This journal is to be one of the journals the Federation supports.
(5) The website established by the publicity committee become more informative than before. The resource committee is gathering catalogue information of linguistic resources in Asia and the catalogues will be made public through the website. A member association of AAMT also starts their multilingual website (English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Thai) and will be linked with our Website.
(6) The situation in China is still unclear, but a professor of Beijing University may play the role of representative of China together with a representative from Hong Kong. The Micro Soft research lab in Beijing is also actively involved in research in this field and some of them have already been involved in committee activities. However, China is so large that we still cannot have a whole image of what is going on there. Bi-lateral meeting on NLP between Japan and China started last year and we will have another one October this year at Shanghai. We will have more information on activities in the Shanghai area.