COLING 2018 PC Blog: Welcome!

Emily M. Bender and Leon Derczynski, at the University of Washington

We (Emily M. Bender and Leon Derczynski) are the PC co-chairs for COLING 2018, to be held in Santa Fe, NM, USA, 20-25 August 2018. Inspired by Min-Yen Kan and Regina Barzilay’s ACL 2017 PC Blog, we will be keeping one of our own. We start today with a brief post introducing ourselves and outlining our goals for COLING 2018. In later posts, we’ll describe the various plans we have for meeting those goals.

First the intros:

Emily is a Professor of Linguistics and Adjunct Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, Seattle WA (USA), where she has been on the faculty since 2003 and has served as the Faculty Director of the Professional Masters in Computational Linguistics (CLMS) since its inception in 2005. Her degrees are all in Linguistics (AB UC Berkeley, MA and PhD Stanford) and her primary research interests are in grammar engineering, computational semantics, and computational linguistic typology. She is also interested in ethics in NLP, the application of computational methods to linguistic analysis, and different ways of integrating linguistic knowledge into NLP.

Leon is a Research Fellow of Computer Science at the University of Sheffield (UK), the home ICCL, where he has been a researcher since 2012, including visiting positions at Aarhus Universitet (Denmark), Innopolis University (Russian Federation) and University of California, San Diego (USA). His degrees are in Computer Science (MComp and PhD), also from Sheffield, and his research interests are in noisy text, unsupervised methods, and spatio-temporal information extraction. He is also interested in chunking and tagging, effective crowdsourcing, and assessing veracity and fake news.

We first met by proxy, through Tim Baldwin, at LREC 2014 in Reykjavik. Tim pointed out that we both happened to be currently visiting scholars in a hip Danish city devoid of its own NLP group—Aarhus.  Shortly after returning from Iceland, each upon Tim’s recommendation, we met for lunch a few times in Aarhus, chatting about understanding language, language diversity, and the interface between data-driven computational techniques and linguistic reality. We have made a point of catching up regularly ever since, and the city is a place where we still have connections—and even more hip, as the European Capital of Culture for 2017!

Then goals:

Our goals for COLING 2018 are (1) to create a program of high quality papers which represent diverse approaches to and applications of computational linguistics written and presented by researchers from throughout our international community; (2) to facilitate thoughtful reviewing which is both informative to ACs (and to us as PC co-chairs) and helpful to authors; and (3) to ensure that the results published at COLING 2018 are as reproducible as possible.

To give a bit more detail on the first goal, by diverse approaches/applications, we mean that we intend to attract (in the tradition of COLING):

  • papers which develop linguistic insight as well as papers which deepen our understanding of how machine learning can be applied to NLP — and papers that do both!
  • research on a broad variety of languages and genres
  • many different types of research contributions (application papers, resource papers, methodology papers, position papers, reproduction papers…)

We have the challenge and the privilege of taking on this role at a time when our field is growing tremendously quickly.  We hope to advance the way our conferences work by trying new things and improving the experience from all sides.  In approaching this task, we started by reviewing the strategies taken by PC chairs at other recent conferences (including COLING 2016, NAACL 2016, and ACL 2017), learning from them, and then adapting strategies based on our goals for COLING 2018.  We strongly believe that one key to achieving a diverse and strong program is community engagement.  Thus our first step towards that is starting this blog.  Over the coming weeks we will tell you more about what we are working on and seek input on various points in the process.  We look forward to working with you and hope to see many of you in Santa Fe next August!

4 thoughts on “COLING 2018 PC Blog: Welcome!

  1. Dear Emily and Leon,
    it’s great to see that you also started a blog, I found the ACL one extremely interesting to read.
    Does this one have a RSS feed somewhere that I can subscribe to in order to be notified about new posts? I couldn’t find it anywhere on the website.

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