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EACL Newsletter

Issue 20

December 2015

Table of Contents

  1. Editorial
  2. View from the Chair
  3. EACL Board
  4. Report on NAACL 2015
  5. Report on ACL-IJCNLP 2015
  6. Report on EMNLP 2015
  7. Report on CoNLL 2015
  8. Report on *SEM 2015
  9. Calendar

1. Editorial

Welcome to the EACL newsletter on 2015. The newsletter starts with a message from the chair of EACL, Lluís Màrquez. Then an overview is given of the current EACL board members, and I provide a summary on the principal conferences in Computational Linguistics held in 2015.

Walter Daelemans

2. View from the Chair

2015 has been my first year as EACL Chair. This has been a year of transition. 2014 left us with a very successful conference in Gothenburg. As you know, the success was both on the scientific and on the organizational sides. I am also happy to say that from the financial viewpoint, the conference provided us with a surplus that will assure a healthy situation for EACL until the next conference in 2017. This means that we will be able to maintain our usual (little) sponsoring activities (e.g., ESSLLI and CLEF in 2015) and also to provide a substantial amount of travel grants for students to attend the EACL 2017 conference.

In 2015, the EACL Board and other committees went under considerable changes.

  • The former EACL Chair, Stephan Clark, arrived to the end of his term in December 2014. Lluís Màrquez was taking over as the new Chair for the 2015-2016 period. At the same time Walter Daelemans was selected by the Nominating Committee to be the new Chair-Elect for the same period.
  • Alexander Koller, Vivi Nastase and Kemal Oflazer, came to the end of their four year terms on the Advisory Board and were replaced by Iryna Gurevych, Roberto Navigli and Stephan Oepen.
  • Two of our Student Board members, Desmond Elliott and Douwe Kiela, finished their 2-year term in June. Florian Kunneman and John Camilleri took over their positions.
  • Giorgio Satta and Kiril Simov came to the end of their term on the Nominating Committee. The EACL Board appointed Stephen Clark and Vivi Nastase as new members of the Nominating Committee.
  • Finally, the representatives of EACL in the ACL International Sponsorship Committee, Jochen Leidner and Alessandro Moschitti, came also to the end of their term. Chris Biemann and Suzan Verberne have been recently appointed for the period 2016-2017
  • I would like to thank all the new and outgoing members for their commitment to EACL and their service to the CL community.

One of the main activities during 2015 was to decide the venue for the EACL 2017 conference. A selection process was run during the first part of the year, which turned out to be very competitive. The selected bid was the one lead by Paolo Rosso from the Polytechnical University of Valencia, who is accompanied in the local organization by Francisco Casacuberta and Jon Ander Gómez. The conference will take place in April 2017 at the Valencia Conference Center from the Mediterranean city of Valencia, Spain. Congratulations to the Valencia team and tanks to the other participants in the bidding process. Very soon the names of the General Chair, the Program Co-Chairs and the rest of the EACL 2017 team will be announced. The real work on organizing the conference has already started.

During the current year we have to keep working on our communication side (website, information, etc.), sponsorship and endorsement activities, and also we have to provide all the necessary support to the organization of the EACL 2017 conference and the associated Student Research Workshop. In these days, it seems that the Computational Linguistics field has become more important and influential than ever. We have a growing research community in academia and research institutions, but also a growing interest from the private sector. A plethora of new applications making use of language technologies appear every year. At the same time, we have seen how the deep learning paradigm and the use of neural networks and distributed representations of language have come to dominate our research field. Their presence in our publications and conferences is becoming more and more prevalent, concentrating much of the energies of our research community. In this complex and interesting context, contributing to create a high quality, recognized, and especially distinctive EACL conference will be a really exciting challenge.

Lluís Màrquez
Chair of EACL

3. EACL Board

The current EACL board is composed as follows:

  • Lluís Màrquez --- Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), Qatar
  • Walter Daelemans --- CLiPS, University of Antwerp, Belgium
  • Mike Rosner --- University of Malta, Malta
  • Caroline Sporleder --- Trier University, Germany
Advisory Board:
  • Iryna Gurevych --- Technische Universitaet Darmstadt, Germany
  • Frank Keller --- University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Roberto Navigli --- University of Rome, Italy
  • Stephan Oepen --- University of Oslo, Norway
Student Board:
  • Mariona Coll Ardanuy --- Trier University, Germany
  • Florian Kunneman --- Radboud University Nijmegen, NL
  • John Camilleri --- Chalmers University of Technology and University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Nominating Committee
  • Marie-Francine (Sien) Moens --- KU Leuven, Belgium
  • Joakim Nivre --- Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Stephen Clark --- University of Cambridge, UK
  • Vivi Nastase --- Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Italy

4. Report on NAACL 2015

NAACL 2015 took place on May 31st - June 5th, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. Some of the highlights of this year's program include:

  • The main program, which received a total of 714 submissions, including long (402) and short (312) papers, resulting in a program with 117 long papers and 69 short papers. Three best paper awards were presented in a plenary session during the last day of the conference.
  • Two invited speakers - Lillian Lee from Cornell University and Fei-fei Li from Stanford - who talked about the exciting research going on at the intersection of our field with social sciences and computer vision respectively.
  • Six tutorials held on May 31st.
  • Several student-authored papers, including regular research papers, dissertation proposals, and an undergraduate track, presented as part of the student research workshop.
  • Several demos presented during the poster/demo session.
  • Thirteen one-day workshops on diverse topics ranging from multiword expressions and metaphors to clinical psychology and educational applications, and Semeval as a two-day workshop.
  • A collocated conference: the fourth joint conference on lexical and computational semantics *Sem.

NAACL 2015 was made possible by the hard work of a wonderful group of people: Joyce Chai and Anoop Sarkar (program chairs); Priscilla Rasmussen (local organizer), Cornelia Caragea and Bing Liu (workshop co-chairs); Yang Liu and Thamar Solorio (tutorial co-chairs); Shibamouli Lahiri, Karen Mazidi and Alisa Zhila (student co-chairs) and Diana Inkpen and Smaranda Muresan (faculty advisors) for the student research workshop; Matt Gerber, Catherine Havasi, and Finley Lacatusu (demo co-chairs), Annie Louise (student volunteer coordinator), Kevin Cohen (local sponsorship chair), Saif Mohammad (publicity chair), Matt Post and Adam Lopez (publication co-chairs), Peter Ljunglof (website chair), Aurelia Bunescu (handbook cover designer).

The event was sponsored by several generous contributors: A9, Baobab, Bloomberg, Digital Roots, Goldman Sachs, Google, IBM, Information Sciences Institute, National Science Foundation, Nuance, SDL, University of Washington Computational Linguistics, Yahoo Labs.

NAACL-2015 Website:

Rada Mihalcea
NAACL 2015 General Chair

5. Report on ACL-IJCNLP 2015

ACL-IJCNLP-2015 was held in Beijing, China, on July 26-31, 2015.

  • ACL-IJCNLP-2015 was the joint conference of ACL and AFNLP. The Conference Coordinating Committee was organized by the representatives of ACL and AFNLP. The Chairs for each Conference Committees were selected mainly by the General Chair in consultation with the Coordinating Committee. Selection of chairs was based on the policy that one of the chairs is selected from the Asian region and the other from other regions if a committee has two chairs. Some exceptions were the Local Organizing Committee and Publication Committee Co-Chairs.
  • ACL-IJCNLP-2015 received 692 long paper submissions and 648 short paper submissions, of which it accepted 173 long papers (acceptance rate: 25%) and 145 short papers (acceptance rate: 22.4%). Adding 13 TACL papers, 7 Student Research Workshop papers and 25 system demonstration papers, the main conference was organized with five parallel sessions of oral presentations and two big evening poster sessions. There was also the Presidential Address, two Keynote Addresses and ACL Lifetime Achievement Awardee's speech.
  • Workshop proposals were handled jointly with workshop co-chairs from NAACL and EMNLP. Based on the workshop organizers' preferences and the quality of the submissions, ACL-IJCNLP-2015 selected 15 workshops (14 one-day workshops and 1 two-day workshop). The ACL-IJCNLP-2015 Workshop Co-Chairs (Hang Li and Sebastian Riedel) collaborated with the CoNNL 2015 organizers to make CoNNL 2015 a collocated conference.
  • Tutorial proposals were handled jointly with tutorial co-chairs from NAACL and EMNLP. Our Tutorial Co-Chairs (Kevin Duh and Eneko Agirre) selected 8 tutorials (all half-day tutorials) for ACL-IJCNLP, presented on the first day, July 26th.
  • ACL-IJCNLP-2015 received an impressive number of sponsorships: Six Platinum Sponsors (CreditEase, Baidu, Tencent, Alibaba Group, SAMSUNG, and Microsoft), four Gold Sponsors (Google, Facebook, SinoVoice, and Huawei), three Silver Sponsors (Nuance, Amazon, and Sogou), one Bronze Sponsor (Yandex), one Oversea Student Fellowship Sponsor (Baobab), and one Best Paper Sponsor (IBM). Sponsorship Committee was organized by a Local Sponsorship Chair (Yiqun Liu) recommended from the local organizers, and the International Sponsorship Committee (Ting Liu, Hideto Kazawa, Asli Celikyilmaz, Julia Hochenmaier, and Alessandro Moschitti), who worked for the sponsorship of NAACL and EMNLP as well. This structure functioned very well.
  • The total number of submissions 1340 and accepted presentations 318 were larger than those of the previous year (1123 and 275), and the sponsorship was also higher than the previous year, with a larger number of platinum sponsors.
  • The organizing committee was outstanding: The chairs of each individual committee acted largely autonomously with high professionalism.

Organization and innovations of the main program:

  • We had two large poster sessions on two evenings of the conference, to accommodate the large number of poster presentations of long, short, TACL, system demonstration and student research workshop papers, and to give participants more time to socialize. This structure was inherited from the previous ACL meetings.
  • Instead of a paid banquet, we had a light social event with no fee, consisting of tranditonal performance for 30-40 minutes and then music for dance. This will provided a better environment for socializing and sharing ideas with more number of participants. The overall structure was also inherited from the previous ACL meeting.
  • For Student Research Workshop (SRW), we decided to assign initial one hour of the second day poster session for the SRW paper oral presentations and the remaining time for poster presentation with other posters.
  • We installed a new format for mentoring. The most innovative point was to include a new evaluation item in the review form to ask reviewers if the paper needs mentoring in case the paper is accepted. If two or more reviewers judged it necessary, the Mentoring Chair offered mentoring to the authors.

ACL-IJCNLP-2015 Website:

Yuji Matsumoto
ACL-IJCNLP-2015 General Chair

6. Report on EMNLP 2015

The 20th SIGDAT Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP) was held on September 17-21 in the city of Lisboa, Portugal. The conference consisted of two initial days of workshops and tutorials and three days of full and short paper presentations.

The General Chair of the conference was Lluís Màrquez from Qatar Computing Research Institute. Jian Su (Institute for Infocomm Research) and Chris Callison-Burch (University of Pennsylvania) were the Program Chairs. The local organization team was lead by André Martins (Priberam) and João Graça (Unbabel Inc.). The entire organization committee can be found at the conference website (

This year the conference experienced an unprecedented boost in submitted papers. There were 1,300 valid submissions: 600 long papers and 700 short papers, which were allocated to one of 15 areas. 312 papers were accepted for the final program (157 long and 155 short papers), representing a global acceptance rate of 24%. An additional 17 papers accepted by the TACL journal were presented at the conference as well. The program was complemented with very interesting keynote speakers, Yoshua Bengio (Université de Montréal) and Justin Grimmer (Stanford University), who talked about "Deep Learning of Semantic Representations" and "Measuring How Elected Officials and Constituents Communicate", respectively.

Some of the features introduced in EMNLP 2014 continued in 2015 (e.g., tutorials, posters as parallel sessions, flat rates and flexibility for tutorials and workshops, etc.). Some innovations were introduced as well: a revised selection process for which talks are presented as talks versus posters, and an extended number of awards for papers (honorable mentions) and the new best data/resource award.

For more details, see the conference website ( and also the results of an interesting after-conference survey .

Lluís Màrquez
EMNLP 2015 General Chair

7. Report on CoNLL 2015

The 2015 Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL) was the nineteenth in the series of annual meetings organized by SIGNLL. CoNLL-2015 was held in Beijing, China on July 30-31, 2015, in conjunction with ACL-IJCNLP 2015. The conference was co-chaired by Afra Alishahi from Tilburg University, and Alessandro Moschitti from Qatar Computing Research Institute.

For the first time this year, CoNLL-2015 accepted both long (9 pages of content plus 2 additional pages of references) and short papers (5 pages of content plus 2 additional pages of references). We received 144 submissions in total, of which 81 were long and 61 were short papers, and 17 were eventually withdrawn. Of the remaining 127 papers, 29 long and 9 short papers were selected to appear in the conference program, resulting in an overall acceptance rate of almost 30%.

To fit the paper presentations in a 2-day program, 16 long papers were selected for oral presentation and the remaining 13 long and the 9 short papers were presented as posters. The papers selected for oral presentation were distributed in four main sessions, each consisting of four talks. Each of these sessions also included 3 or 4 spotlights of the long papers selected for the poster session. In contrast, the spotlights for short papers were presented in a single session of 30 minutes. The remaining sessions were used for presenting a selection of four shared task papers, two invited keynote speeches and a single poster session, including long, short and shared task papers. Also, for the first time all the sessions of the conference were video-recorded and made publicly available.

CoNLL-2015 included two keynote talks by invited speakers. On the first day, Eric Xing from Carnegie Mellon University gave a talk titled "On Spectral Graphical Models, and a New Look at Latent Variable Modeling in Natural Language Processing". On the second day, Paul Smolensky from Johns Hopkins University gave a talk titled "Does the Success of Deep Neural Network Language Processing Mean - Finally! - the End of Theoretical Linguistics?"

The best paper award was assigned to Paul Felt, Eric Ringger, Jordan Boyd-Graber, Kevin Seppi for the paper, "Making the Most of Crowdsourced Document Annotations: Confused Supervised LDA". Several high quality papers were considered in the selection process, and input from a subset of the program committee members was solicited. The winning paper was selected for showing excellence in several dimensions of the CoNLL research.

As in previous years, CoNLL 2015 had a shared task, this year on Shallow Discourse Parsing. Papers accepted for the shared task were collected in a companion volume of the CoNLL 2015 proceedings.

More information about the program, proceedings, video recordings and the shared task can be found at the conference website (

Afra Alishahi and Alessandro Moschitti
CoNLL 2015 Program Chairs

8. Report on *SEM 2015

The Joint Conference on Lexical and Computational Semantics (*SEM) provided a forum of exchange for the growing number of NLP researchers working on different aspects of semantic processing. After the previous editions of *SEM in Montreal (2012), Atlanta (2013), and Dublin (2014), the 2015 edition took place in Denver on June 4 and 5 and was colocated with SemEval and NAACL.

As in 2014 at COLING, also on this occasion *SEM and SemEval chose to coordinate their programs by featuring a joint invited talk. The Memorial tribute to Adam Kilgarriff and the announcement of the best paper award in his name was also shared. In this way, *SEM aimed to bring together the ACL SIGLEX and ACL SIGSEM communities. The acceptance rate of *SEM 2015 was quite competitive: out of 98 submissions, 36 papers were accepted for an overall acceptance of 37%. The acceptance rate of long paper that were accepted for oral presentation (18 out of 62) was 29%. The papers covered a wide range of topics including distributional semantics; lexical semantics and lexical acquisition; formal and linguistic semantics; discourse semantics; lexical resources, linked data and ontologies; semantics for applications; and extra-propositional semantics: sentiment and figurative meaning.

The *SEM 2015 program consisted of oral presentations for selected long papers and a poster session for long and short papers, invited talks by Marco Baroni and Preslav Natkov, a tribute to Adam Kilgarriff and a SIGLEX best paper award given to Xiaodan Zhu, Hongyu Guo and Parinaz Sobhani for "Neural Networks for Integrating Compositional and Non-compositional Sentiment in Sentiment Composition". The reception held during the poster session was sponsored by Microsoft and Google.

Martha Palmer
*SEM 2015 General Chair

9. Calendar

For an up to date calendar of forthcoming NLP events, see