Issue 4

October 2003

Table of Contents
  1. Editorial
  2. Views of the Chair
  3. Sponsorships 2003
  4. Report on EACL 2003 Budapest
  5. Announcement of ACL 2004 Barcelona
  6. National CL/NLP Conferences: CLIN
  7. Announcement of LangTech 2003 Paris
  8. Introduction of the new student board
  9. Announcement of new Knowledge Center for Processing Hebrew
  10. Conference Report: RANLP
  11. Announcement of EAMT 2004 Malta
  12. Conference Calender


Finally a new version of the EACL newsletter! The EACL newsletter was set up two years ago by Claire Gardent, and she has edited all issues since then. Thanks, Claire, for all the work! At the risk of creating a tradition, the chair-elect has taken over the editorship...

The previous half year has been a busy period, as far as CL conferences go. Personally, I attended the EACL meeting in Budapest and the IWPT workshop in Nancy. Both were successful: it seems that computational linguistics in Europe is doing well. We have a report on the Budapest event below. I also had the opportunity to attend the ACL meeting in Sapporo (for me, Sapporo brings back memories of the time when I watched, as a kid, the Dutch speed skater Ard Schenk win three gold medals at the Olympics). This meeting was a great success too. Very well organized, a large number of participants, and a number of very good papers (reflected by the fact that two papers were elected for the best paper award).

For these reasons, I'm really looking forward to the next conference season, which will bring three large events to Europe: Coling in Geneva, ACL in Barcelona, and LREC in Lisbon.

I hope to meet many of you there!

Gertjan van Noord

Views of the Chair

In April, we celebrated the tenth birthday of the EACL conference. Set on the hills surrounding Budapest, the conference gathered some 350 participants thus marking the success of the EACL attempts to increase the size of the gathering. Thank you to all who work towards that goal and in particular to Donia Scott, the previous EACL chair!

As the EACL conference is now triennial, the next EACL conference will take place in 2006 (Watch out for the call for bids which will be issued shortly!). This gives us more time to concentrate on other EACL issues. In particular, John Nerbonne has been working towards the goal of making the EACL a legal European entity (by making it a foundation) -- this should give the EACL increased visibility, and allow for a tighter link with in particular, the European Union.

As you know, 2003 has also brought a renewal of the board and of the student board. You will find more information about the new student board in this issue. We are looking forward to working together for the EACL. We are of course open to any suggestion you might have on how to improve the workings and achievements of the association.

Claire Gardent
Chair of the EACL

Sponsorships 2003

EACL has a policy of supporting initiatives that are likely to bring more and better trained people into the European scene for Computational Linguistics. This year, the EACL Board decided to provide sponsorship for three educational events: Lexicom 2003, EUROLAN 2003, and ESSLLI 2003.

Lexicom 2003 was a training workshop in lexical computing and lexicography, held at the University of Brighton in July, and tutored by Sue Atkins, Adam Kilgarriff and Michael Rundell. Topics included building text corpora, using software for analysing corpus data, and designing and using dictionary databases and computational lexicons. EACL sponsored a bursary for a student from Eastern Europe who would otherwise not have been able to attend. The bursary was awarded to Nina Tudjman Vukovic, a doctoral student from Zagreb University, Croatia.

The EUROLAN 2003 Summer School took place July 28-August 8 in Bucharest, Romania, with the title "The Semantic Web and Language Technology: its Potential and Practicalities". The summer school consisted of two weeks of intensive study of Semantic Web technology and its application to natural language processing, with seminars and hands-on lab sessions. EACL sponsorship was used to waive the tuition fees for three Eastern European students.

The 15th European Summer School in Logic Language and Information (ESSLLI 2003) was held 18-29 August in Vienna, Austria. Foundational, introductory and advanced courses together with workshops covered a wide variety of topics in the areas of language and computation, language and logic, and logic and computation. In the language and computation area, EACL sponsored the foundational course on Probabilistic Models of NLP given by Detlef Prescher and Khalil Sima'an. The sponsorship took the form of a contribution of 750 euro towards the presenters' expenses.

John Carroll
Secretary of the EACL

Report on EACL 2003 Budapest

In April this year we celebrated twenty years of EACL conferences. As is fitting for such a round number, the party was the biggest ever with 350 participants gathering to attend workshops, tutorials and the conference itself.

Although strongly international, with 40 countries represented, the conference retained a distinctive European flavour: 78% of the participants were from Europe (29 countries), 12% from America, 7% from Australasia and 3% from Africa.

As is now usual in ACL related conferences, the event consisted of a main conference, a student research workshop, demos, (12) workshops and (4) tutorials. For the first time however, the EACL conference included a research notes session with the aim of opening up the conference to a wider range of presenters. Thus whilst for the main conference, the acceptance rate was 26.5%, research notes had an acceptance rate of 60%. Demos had a 80% acceptance rate, whereas the student research workshop adopted a selective 33% acceptance rate.

The Budapest local organisers did a superb job of catering to the participants needs and making us feel welcome. Thank you to all and in particular to Ference Kiefer, Tamas Varadi and Gusztav Hencsey!

The next EACL conference will take place in 2006. If you intend to host EACL'06, watch out! The call for bids will be issued shortly.

Claire Gardent

Announcement of ACL 2004 Barcelona

ACL'04 will be held in Barcelona from July 21st to 26th, 2004. The conference will form part of the Forum of Cultures that will be taking place in Barcelona over the summer of 2004. The Forum will include not only scientific events such as the ACL conference, but an exciting cultural programme of music, theatre, dance and art exhibitions, to which ACL attendees will have access.

ACL'04 will be hosted by a committee composed of computational linguists from several institutions in Barcelona, chaired by Prof Toni Badia of University Pompeu Fabra. The technical chairs are:

Conference Chair Donia Scott
Programme Chairs Walter Daelemans
Marilyn Walker
Tutorial Chair Inderjeet Mani
Workshop Chair Srinivas Bangalore
Programme Chairs Philippe Blache
Horacio Rodriques
Publication Chairs Owen Rambow
Sergi Balari
Sadao Kurohashi
Publicity Chairs Felisa Verdejo
Exhibition Chair Toni Marti

The search for sponsorship chair(s) is still on; volunteers or nominations are welcome!

For more information, please consult the conference website at http://www.acl2004.org

Donia Scott

National CL/NLP Conferences: CLIN

CLIN is a series of yearly workshops targeted at computational linguists working in the Netherlands and Flanders, and/or computational linguists working on the Dutch language. The series started in 1990, after a number of Dutch participants at the ACL meeting in Pittsburgh realized that it would be silly to come all the way to the USA to have interesting discussions among themselves.

In order to minimize organisational overhead, each annual meeting only lasts a single day. The meeting consists of a keynote lecture from a leading CL researcher. The remainder of the meeting consists of a large number of parallel 20-minute presentations. The aim of the meeting is to have both senior and junior researchers and Ph.D. students in the programme. The number of presentations has increased from about 25 in the first few years to about 50 last year in Groningen. The language of the meeting is English (with some Dutch exceptions).

After each CLIN meeting, the participants are invited to submit a full paper version of their presentation. After a careful review procedure, a subset of these papers is collected in a volume. This volume is ready by the time of the next meeting, and is included in the conference package of that meeting. Recent volumes are published by Rodopi in their series "Language and Computers".

This years' meeting will be organised at the University of Antwerp (Belgium) by the CNTS Language Technology Group (Walter Daelemans, Bart Decadt, Guy De Pauw and Vronique Hoste). The keynote speaker will be Thorsten Brants (Google Inc.).

The series of CLIN meetings is organised very informally by a working group consisting of Walter Daelemans, Anton Nijholt and Gertjan van Noord. The CLIN website is at http://www.let.rug.nl/~vannoord/Clin/

Gertjan van Noord

Announcement of LangTech 2003 Paris

LangTech 2003 is the second edition of the European forum for language technology, which offers a platform for the Language and Speech technology community in Europe. The conference topics address the latest technology breakthroughs. Practical solutions and near-market research results are presented during the conference and in the accompanying exhibition, showing state-of-the-art products and solutions.

The first edition of this European forum for speech and language technology, LangTech 2002 Berlin Germany, was attended by some 330 participants from over 30 countries, with presentations by representatives of over 70 companies from 20 nations. Nearly two-thirds of LangTech attendees came from industry or commercial concerns.

This years' meeting, organised in Paris, features two invited keynote speakers: Paul Ricci (ScanSoft) and Sanda Harabagiu (Language Computer Corporation and Texas University).

[information extracted from web-site, Gertjan van Noord]

New Student Board

The EACL has a new student board: John Herring, Malte Gabsdil and Julia Hockenmaier are succeeded by Irina Chugur, Sebastian Pado and Leonoor van der Beek.

Irina Chugur graduated in linguistics at the Complutense University of Madrid in 1999. She was involved in the building of the Spanish WordNet. Her main research interests are in Lexical Semantics, Computational Lexicology. She is currently at UNED Madrid, finishing her PhD thesis on enriching lexical resources with lexical semantic relations. Irina will be responsible for the web calendar.

Sebastian Pado is a PhD student at Saarland University, Saarbruecken, Germany. He received a MSc in Cognitive Science and Natural Language from Edinburgh University and he is involved with the SALSA project which aims at producing a large, semantically annotated corpus of German. He is interested in (Shallow) Semantics and in how to leverage models of meaning. Sebastian will assist the EACL webmaster in general web management.

Leonoor van der Beek is a student at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Her PhD project is part of the Pionier Project 'Algorithms for Linguistic Processing' which focuses on developing methods for efficient parsing and disambiguation and applying these techniques to a broad coverage grammar for Dutch. Her main interest is in formal syntax and grammar development. Leonoor will be responsible for the educational webpages.

Leonoor van der Beek

Announcement of new Knowledge Center for Processing Hebrew

A Knowledge Center for Processing Hebrew has been established, funded by the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology. Its goals are to promote computerized processing of Hebrew, both written language and speech. The center will establish computational infrastructure for processing the Hebrew language, including specific projects for the creation of corpora, linguistic databases, morphological processors etc. The developed resources will be available for researchers both in industry and in academia. The center is located at the Technion, headed by Prof. Alon Itai. Affiliated researchers include Arnon Cohen, Michael Elhadad, Yoad Winter and Shuly Wintner. More information is available through the web site http://www.mila.cs.technion.ac.il/

Alon Itai, Shuly Wintner


Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing (RANLP 2003) Borovets, Bulgaria, 7-12 September 2003

The 4th International Conference RANLP-03 (http://lml.bas.bg/ranlp2003) is the latest RANLP conference (after RANLP-95, RANLP-97 and RANLP-01) and continues the tradition of the international summer schools in computational linguistics held in Bulgaria since 1989. The informal team behind RANLP consists of Bulgarians, working all over the world, and includes Galia Angelova, Kalina Bontcheva, Ruslan Mitkov, Nicolas Nicolov, and Nikolaj Nikolov. The general aim is to propagate the latest CL achievements to Eastern European researchers, still keeping the high scientific level of the events. This aim has been successfully completed thanks to among other things, the support obtained via grants from the European Commission and other international funding institutions (such as Volkswagen Foundation in 1997). RANLP-01 was supported by the EC as a High-Level Scientific Conference and RANLP-03 is supported by an FP5 IST Conference grant.

RANLP is widely known for its outstanding keynote speakers and tutorial lecturers. The 2003 list featured Branimir Boguraev, Shalom Lappin, Inderjeet Mani, Stephen Pulman, Hans Uszkoreit, Yorick Wilks, Dan Cristea, Hamish Cunningham, Ido Dagan, John Prager and Piek Vossen. RANLP-03 was highly selective for full papers (with an acceptance rate of only 28%), and their publication in book form is being discussed with a well-known publisher. The conference proceedings contains short papers and posters as well. Some 160 participants attended RANLP-03. An international workshop "Information extraction for Slavonic and other Central and Eastern European languages" was organised in conjunction with RANLP-03 (http://lml.bas.bg/IESL2003/).

In addition to the high quality scientific programme, both academics and students from four continents enjoyed a versatile social programme with many making new friends. The attractive mountain scenery of Borovets, the numerous restaurants, pubs and discotheques of the resort, the delicious food and drinks, the climate as well as the absence of daily "high-tech stress" made the stay of all conference participants even more enjoyable.

Galia Angelova, Ruslan Mitkov

Announcement of EAMT 2004 Malta

A workshop of the European Association for Machine Translation will be held in Malta 22-24 April 2004. The meeting is one of a series of annual workshops acting as a forum for the exchange of ideas concerning all aspects of machine translation within the European and adjacent regions.

Special themes for this workshop will be machine translation and other issues relating to Semitic languages, and translation issues arising from the accessions of newly associated states of the EU. Papers will be accepted on any aspect of machine translation and computer based translation tools (e.g translation memories, etc.)

Local arrangements organiser is Mike Rosner (mike.rosner@um.edu.mt) from whom further details can be obtained. Full details and registration will appear later on the EAMT website (www.eamt.org)

Mike Rosner

Conference Calendar


October 3 Lisbon,Portugal Workshop on Tagging and Shallow Processing of Portuguese
November 14-15 Vxj, Sweden 2nd Workshop on Treebanks and Linguistic Theories
November 22 Paris, France Role of Typography and Punctuation in Natural Language Processing
November 24-25 Paris, France LangTech 2003
December 18, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2nd CoLogNET-ElsNET Symposium
December 19, Antwerp, Belgium The Fourteenth Meeting of Computational Linguistics in the Netherlands (CLIN)
December 19-21 Amsterdam, The Netherlands The Fourteenth Amsterdam Colloquium


January 6-7 University of Birmingham 7th Annual CLUK Research Colloquium
February 15-21 Seoul, Republic of Korea 5th International Conference on Intelligent Text Processing and Computational Linguistics (CICLing 2004)
March 22-24 Sanya City, Hainan Island, China The 1st International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (IJCNLP-04)
May 2-7 Boston Mass., USA HLT/NAACL 2004
May 17-20 Zakopane, Poland Computational Linguistics In Poland 2004
May 24-30 Lisbon, Portugal International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC)
July 21-26 Barcelona, Spain 42nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
August 23-27 Geneva, Switzerland The 20th International Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING)