ACL SIGNLL - President's Report 2003-2004
Dan Roth

In 2003 a SIGNLL election took place among the SIGNLL members and
a new president and secretary were elected. The new elected
officials are Dan Roth and Antal van den Bosch, respectively. They
replace the previous SIGNLL president Walter Daelemans and
secretary Dan Roth. Erik Tjong Kim Sang is the new Information

We would like to thank Walter for serving as the SIGNLL president
for many years and for his immense contribution to the formation
of the community through his role at SIGNLL and the CoNLL meeting.
Walter joined the SIGNLL advisory board, which has grown this year
to include also Rada Mihalcea, Grace Ngai, Hwee Tou Ng  and Ellen
Riloff. Adwait Ratnaparkhi has left the board.

In 2003-2004 SIGNLL has grown to 395 registered members. The goals
of the SIG are those of promoting of and informing about research
on learning in natural language are served by (i) the maintenance
of an informative and up-to-date website and associated mailing
list, and (ii) the organization of an annual event (CoNLL), and
support of other related activities.

The web-pages, located at URL and
maintained by Erik Tjong Kim Sang, remain an important source of
information, complemented by an email list for conference
announcements. On the web-site, links can be found to relevant
associations, networks, research cooperations, research
departments, groups, institutes, individuals, mailing lists,
archives, journals, bulletins, conference reports, online papers
(including all papers of all CoNLL proceedings), online courses
and slides, bibliographies, software, corpora, companies,
meta-information sources etc.

As of earlier this year, SIGNLL is now a separate entry on the
top-page of the ACL Anthology.

The main events in 2003-2004 were the seventh and eighth CoNLL
(SIGNLL Conference on Natural Language Learning). More information
about these events can be obtained from their web-pages, linked
from the SIGNLL website.

The seventh CoNLL was organized with HLT-NAACL May 2003 in
Edmonton by Walter Daelemans and Miles Osborne, with a shared task
organized by Tjong Kim Sang and Fien De Meulder, on
language-independent named entity recognition (for the second year
in a row). 35 papers--for the first time full papers instead of
long abstracts--were submitted of which 18 were accepted for
presentation and publication in the proceedings. 16 systems were
submitted for the shared task, and their descriptions included in
the proceedings. An invited talk was given by Steven Abney
(sponsored by CLIF, and attendance was an
all time high for CoNLL with 85 official registrations.

The eighth CoNLL was organized with HLT-NAACL in May 2004 in Boston,
by Hwee Tou Ng and Ellen Riloff. The shared task was on Semantic Role
Labeling, using the PropBank data, organized by Lluis Marquez and
Xavier carreras. 23 full papers were submitted, of which 11 were
accepted for a full presentation. We believe that the relative low
number of submissions this year is due to the fact that the meeting
was held too early in the year. The number of registration was
65. Invited talks were given by Christopher D.  Manning and by Martha
Palmer. As usual, the shared task was one of the focal points of
CoNLL, and drew large participation, also from people who did not
register to CoNLL. 10 teams submitted systems to the shared task and
presented their work in the shared task session.

We think SIGNLL is still unique in its focus and has had
Significant impact, partly due to the shared tasks, which have
been broadly referenced and have contributed benchmark data sets
that are commonly used outside the CoNLL context. We keep striving
for complementarity with related SIGDAT events such as EMNLP, and
have contributed to this communication by our conference
collocation policy.

 Dan Roth
 Urbana, IL
 June 25, 2004