EXCERPTS FROM THE NAACL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES
FEBRUARY 21, 2004
Date: Saturday Feb 21, 2004
Time: 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Place: Phone meeting
Attendees: Robert Frederking, Julia Hirschberg (initially), Graeme Hirst,
Lillian Lee, Dekang Lin, Diane Litman, Kathy McCoy,
Dragomir Radev, Ellen Riloff, Janyce Wiebe
 HLT/NAACL-2004 STATUS REPORT
Julia Hirschberg reviewed her report. The general picture is that
things are going well, and Christy Doran and all the Chairs have been
wonderful. The current status is that the budget is just about to be
Website - www.hlt-naacl04.org
Finishing the budget requires checking with the hotel, and then
communicating with (1) Priscilla Rasmussen, (2) Kathy McCoy and
Dragomir Radev, and (3) Priscilla Rasmussen again. Finalization
should occur early next week, which will then allow registration to
The $23,000 in sponsorships that had been promised in January has now
grown to $28,500. Quite a few entities are participating. Some
specific pledges: Darpa: $10K, IBM: $3K; Microsoft: $5K; Sun:
$2.5K; $1K from many others. Google just asked to contribute.
While it had been assumed that sales tax would not apply, the NAACL,
unlike the ACL, is not tax-exempt and therefore sales tax was
belatedly added to the budget, adding 6% or so to all food
costs (hotel costs may also be affected). The process of getting
tax-exempt status is difficult, since in the USA such status is
treated on a state-by-state basis. This issue hadn't arisen before
because going through a university reduces its impact substantially
(it's too late now to try to arrange something with MIT).
Out of 168 regular-paper submissions, 43 were accepted, and 19 of the
remainder were invited to resubmit short-paper versions. A
"distinguished paper" award is planned due to the quality of some of
the submissions. The area breakdown was not yet known. About twenty
demos are scheduled. The six tutorials span the three areas. Two
invited speakers have accepted: Andrei Broder (IBM) and Jill Burstein
There are a fairly large number of regular workshops, which may be a
factor behind some of them receiving very few submissions. This
year's HLT/NAACL Workshops Chairs elected not to cancel such
workshops, although at least once in the past the policy was to cancel
workshops with fewer than 15 submissions. The costs associated with
the low-count workshops didn't seem high (e.g., there weren't
excessive proceedings-publishing expenses; also, the invited speakers,
who are making up the bulk of the programs of one of the small
workshops, aren't being reimbursed), and there's the possibility that
two such workshops will merge. The question is whether in the future
to be more strict about a required number of submissions.
Sigdial is holding a non-regular workshop co-located with the main
conference (as it did at ACL2003 in Sapporo). It's pre-conference,
unlike the other workshops, and located at MIT, which is several
subway stops away from HLT/NAACL's location. Because of these unusual
factors, there were a greater number of needs to be met and hence
extra communication; there was also confusion about which arrangements
the Workshops Chairs were responsible for and which costs NAACL is
responsible for --- although Kathy McCoy pointed out that co-location
is supposed to be handled together with the other workshops (with the
past general exception for EMNLP on account of size), for this
workshop it had been arranged that Sigdial could assume
responsibilities, although apparently not all responsibilities, since
the main conference is handling the printing of Sigdial's proceedings
and registration will be through the main conference's form. It was
suggested that the Sigdial meeting be allocated the same amount
toward costs as the other workshops and make its own logistics
arrangements, as opposed to being directly reimbursed for its
expenses. It was also observed that the Workshops webpage [at the
time] didn't explicitly specify the different physical locale.
The questions for the future are: should a Workshops Chair be
specifically designated to handle co-located but non-regular
workshops? Should a different fee be charged for them? Could an
explicit set of guidelines be developed for handling these types of
situations? (Julia Hirschberg was asked to specify what she would
like such guidelines to address.)
Despite these problems, Julia Hirschberg informed the group that Candy
Sidner, the Sigdial contact, is handling these issues very responsibly.
 ACL-05 (joint with NAACL)
Bid status -
The ACL Exec, which makes the final location decision, had not yet
agreed to the University of Michigan (UM), Ann Arbor. The ACL Exec was
requesting clarifications regarding budgeting, facilities, and the
role of UM's conference-management services. Graeme Hirst (as both
NAACL Chair and nearest ACL Executive-Board member) and Priscilla
Rasmussen will visit the site in about a week, and a decision will be
made soon after that.
Ann Arbor is 25 minutes from Detroit's international
airport. All sessions plus registration would be held within a
one-block radius of an area on central campus that also enjoys lunch
facilities within walking distance. There are two small hotels (150
rooms total) 1.5 blocks away, and larger hotels about two miles away
(bus service will be provided); dorms will probably be needed as well.
Using Philadelphia as a basis, it is estimated that there would be 500
regular participants and 200 students, with a $37K surplus (not
counting extra costs such as equipment, site visits, invited-speaker
reimbursements, and so forth).
Local arrangements -
There is a committee of eleven people in addition to the UM
conference-management staff. Dragomir Radev will be the Chair; Rich
Thomason will be the Associate Chair; Steve Abney will also assist, as
will others from Computer Science, Linguistics, and the School of
A lot of discussion was generated about the responsibilities of the
committee (for instance, whether the committee can pick the invited
speakers), most particularly regarding the chair: some people
emphasized that the chair must engage in a great deal of hands-on
oversight (to mix metaphors) of the conference-management staff to
ensure ACL-specific arrangements are made correctly, even though the
staff is said to be very understanding. The workload issue is
exacerbated by the fact that Dragomir Radev is also the NAACL
Treasurer, which itself entails a heavy burden.
A related issue is that the ACL Executive committee is concerned about
possible conflicts of interest if the Treasurer of the NAACL is also
the local-arrangements chair for an NAACL conference, since the latter
officer handles the conference budget with oversight from the former,
and the NAACL organization receives some of the proceeds of the
conference. It was pointed out that the NAACL Treasurer is overseen
by the ACL Treasurer, but this did not dispel all worries.
One proposed solution was for a reshuffling of roles within the NAACL
Exec so that someone else on the Exec would assume the role of
Treasurer (there didn't seem to be any constitutional obstacles).
A disadvantage is a loss of continuity in the Treasurer position. It
was noted that a great deal of the paperwork is done after a
conference occurs. No resolution arose.
Relationship to the HLT meeting -
The ACL Exec is not in favor of integrating the ACL-05 conference
with an HLT conference in the way HLT conferences and NAACL
conferences have been merged, due to issues of control. However, an
HLT "blessing" of the meeting was expected to be acceptable.
We discussed three possible NAACL-Exec policy positions, keeping in
mind that competition between conferences or a permanent
disassociation between the HLT and NAACL conferences should be
avoided: (1) co-location with an HLT meeting; (2) separate times and
places for the two meetings as stand-alone events; and (3) HLT
co-locating with some other meeting, perhaps a speech or IR
conference, although the only possible major meeting in North America
would seem to be EMNLP.
Oversight committee [aka ad-hoc Coordination Group] - Dekang Lin
agreed to serve in Dragomir Radev's stead (since a local-arrangements
chair should not be a member of his or her own oversight structure),
and Janyce Wiebe also agreed to join.
Janyce Wiebe agreed to run the bidding process. It was suggested that
Lynette Hirschman, who has a lot of experience with it, be consulted,
and that Eduard Hovy had also been instrumental in the past. In the
future, it might facilitate bid solicitation to have the process
involve a two-year lead time for bids.
 Summer school: liaison with Johns Hopkins.
This position involves soliciting student applications for slots that
NAACL has been granted (and funds), although the previous liaison,
Owen Rambow, thought that the NAACL Exec should provide more input
into other decisions. No volunteer stepped forward.
 Dissemination of funding information
Lillian Lee will work with Mary Harper of the NSF (USA) to collect
information on funding opportunities, to be disseminated in a
newsletter. It is hoped that other funding agencies will also be involved.
 Nominating-committee membership
The chapter constitution seems to imply that the nominating committee
should be disjoint from the executive committee, but did not
explicitly specify this. At the time of the meeting, Janyce Wiebe was
on both committees, but agreed to step down from the nominating
committee so as to satisfy the inferred intent of the constitution.
 Next meeting
This was tentatively set for the traditional time-slot of the
NAACL-conference tutorials day, in this case, May 2nd in Boston. An
afternoon-plus-dinner timespan is planned.