Minutes of NAACL Board Meeting at NAACL HLT 2010, LA


Chris Brew (board member),
Chris-Callison Burch (board member),
Graeme Hirst (ACL treasurer),
Rebecca Hwa (chair),
Chris Manning (treasurer),
Ted Pedersen (board member),
Owen Rambow (past chair),
Priscilla Rasmussen (ACL business manager),
Anoop Sarkar (secretary),
Kristina Toutanova (board member)

Minutes taken by the NAACL secretary (Anoop Sarkar)

The following agenda items were discussed in the meeting (in
chronological order):

1. NAACL HLT 2012
2. Debrief of NAACL HLT 2010. See attached NAACL Treasurer's report by
Chris Manning
3. Latin American Fund activities from the last year and future funding plans
4. Relations between NAACL and the language technology industry
5. Nomination committee reform
6. Regional conference funding plans (related to Section 3)
7. Outreach programs (JHU Summer School, NACLO). See attached report
by Ted Pedersen.
8. Summary of planned expenses

1. NAACL HLT 2012

The location of NAACL HLT 2012 was discussed. There was discussion of
the different bids that have been made for hosting NAACL HLT 2012. No
final decision was reached. Future committee members can contact the
board members for details on the various locations that were under
consideration for 2012 and discussion about possible future locations
for the NAACL HLT conference.

2. Debrief of NAACL HLT 2010 and expenses between May 1, 2009 and Apr 30, 2010

While the board meeting was a day before the conference started,
various aspects of the conference organization were discussed.

 2.1 NAACL Treasurer's report by Chris Manning (attached to the minutes)

 2.2 NAACL HLT 2010 participation statistics were provided by
Priscilla Rasmussen. There were 601 pre-registrations for the main
conference. There were 62 Tutorial/Workshop-only registrations
including 5 Tutorial only registrations. The industry panel lunch
attracted about 130 participants of which 118 had pre-registered.

 2.3 Discussion of NAACL HLT 2010 workshops by Priscilla Rasmussen.
There seems to be an increase in non-traditional formats for workshops
in NAACL HLT 2010. 8 out of 16 workshops included a poster/demo
session as part of their program. One workshop (WS3: Computational
Approaches to Linguistic Creativity: CALC-10) was more focused on
posters than the usual talk format. One workshop in particular (WS13:
Speech and Language Processing for Assistive Technologies) had an
innovative idea to support their plans to do a poster/demo session
that was held at lunch time and included lunch for the participants.
They were able to get funding for the lunch session by attracting 4
industrial exhibitors to this session and the funding from the
exhibition fees were used to cover the lunch expenses.

 2.4 This year the short paper submission deadline to NAACL HLT 2010
was on the same date as the long paper deadline. There was discussion
about whether it might be a good idea to go back to the situation
where the short paper deadline is staggered with respect to the long
paper with the opportunity for long papers to be re-submitted as short
papers. The consensus view was that short and long papers should be
kept as independent streams and a short paper should not simply be a
rejected long paper submission. Thus having the same submission and
reviewing deadlines for short and long papers was considered to be
appropriate, and NAACL HLT should continue this policy. This also
enables the NAACL HLT submission deadlines to be set to a reasonable
date given that the ACL submission deadline usually follows the NAACL
HLT decision date. Owen Rambow suggested that the overall deadline
date (even with joint short and long paper submission dates) might be
too conservatively set. The length of time between paper submission
deadline and the conference date can be shortened to allow a better
(i.e. later) submission deadline for NAACL while still retaining the
spacing with the ACL deadline when this is an issue.

 2.5 There was discussion of the policy this year of allowing, in the
camera ready version of a paper published in NAACL HLT 2010, one extra
page to address reviewer comments, and any number of pages for
bibliographic references. There was some discussion of the pros and
cons of this approach, but all members agreed that, since print
proceedings are now no longer produced for NAACL HLT, these two
policies were a good idea and should continue. However, there was no
consensus about changing the rules regarding extending the length of
submissions to NAACL HLT.

 2.6 Chris Callison-Burch raised the issue of re-submissions to ACL
conferences within the same year that now occurs routinely due to the
staggered submission dates. CCB also raised the possibility that the
online START system could be configured to have reviews from previous
conferences in the same year. Authors could also comment on changes
made to previously submitted work. This might make the reviewing of
repeat submissions easier. However, there was no decision made to
officially pursue this idea at this time.

 2.7 Early public release of the NAACL HLT proceedings to the ACL
Anthology. Rebecca Hwa raised the issue that the public release to the
ACL Anthology should ideally be done on the same date as the camera
ready due date. Historically the public release date has been on the
conference start date, and the community needs to be made aware that
the new release date is going to be earlier from now on. This way any
patent or other legal issues can be resolved earlier by authors who
submit to NAACL HLT. This year the early release to the Anthology was
delayed due to some patent concerns and no clear policy to the
community about when the final proceedings is made public. It was
resolved that NAACL should widely publicize to the community the new
norm that the release date to the Anthology will be as soon as the
publications chairs have created the final proceedings.

 2.8 Chris Manning raised the issue that NAACL has a built-in ACL
membership fee when registering for a NAACL HLT conference. Currently
Priscilla keeps track of members and the difference in their
registration fees for NAACL. At ACL, in contrast, there are two rates:
a member and non-member rate (usually the non-member rate is more
expensive). Having two rates allows a frequent traveler to ACL
conferences to be an ACL member just once a year and pay the member
rate. Due to co-location of NAACL with other conferences, this matter
is moot for the next two years. So the board decided to table this
issue for later, but it should be resolved before NAACL HLT 2013.

 2.9 Chris Manning suggested that NAACL should do more to make
sponsorship of the NAACL conferences more attractive for potential
industry sponsors. The sponsor logos could appear on the front page of
the proceedings -- this would encourage sponsorship and make NAACL
more open to industrial sponsorship.

 2.10 The NAACL board signed the statement of yearly expenses between
the dates of May 1, 2009 and Apr 30, 2010.

 2.11 The NAACL Student Travel Fund was discussed. The committee
comprised of Chris Callison-Burch (main contact person), Chris Manning
and Kristina Toutanova. There were 3 awards given last year out of 7
applications. 1 went to a U.S. student, and 2 to European students to
attend the NAACL HLT conference.

 2.12 The issue of whether the nominees for best paper award should
be made public was discussed. The board agreed that the nominees
could be made public either on the conference webpage or during the
business meeting. For NAACL some authors knew that their papers had
been in the short-list and subsequently mentioned this fact in their
CV and others did not. Potentially an honorable mention category
could be introduced instead of announcing all short-listed nominees.

3. Latin American Fund

 3.1 The main contact person and overall point person for the Latin
American fund is Ted Pedersen. A replacement for Ted will have to be
chosen after he leaves the board in 2011.

 3.2 Creating a single CFP model for applications for support needs to
be put in place. Tentatively having two deadlines (Sept 1 and Mar 1)
per year for applications would lead to more fair allocation and less
work for the board members involved.

 3.3 Already committed support this year: PROPOR (held in Brazil in
April 2010) - funded on Mar 16 for $1,000. The post-event report
should be obtained and put up on the NAACL website. ELiC (held in July
in Argentina) - funded on Mar 9 for $1,500. Post-event report should
be obtained and put up on the NAACL website. NAACL-HLT 2010 Young
Investigator Workshop (held at NAACL HLT 2010) - funded for $1,000.
STIL 2009 (post-event report has been posted on the NAACL website).
Not funded: NLP in Psychology (Argentina) - notified Feb 27.

 3.4 The board discussed moving to a single model of funding for all
regional workshops (in North and Latin America). Create a single CFP
model. Chris Manning reported that the joint fund would be $6000.
Anoop raised the issue that travel to NAACL could be made a priority.
Chris Manning pointed out there is an additional $4000 for the Student
Travel fund.

4. Relations between NAACL and the language technology industry

 4.1 Kristina Toutanova is the main point person on the NAACL board
for industrial contacts and advocacy.

 4.2 Kristina Toutanova gave an update on the industrial panel that
was to be held at NAACL HLT 2010. There were 5 speakers on the panel
this year from various industrial research labs and companies, which
included researchers and commercial entities. Future involvement with
industry should be considered in light of the experience of the
industry panel this year. Perhaps more commercial involvement could be
considered, including a sales component. Kristina will provide some
additional feedback after the industry panel and after discussion with
the panelists who participated this year.

5. Nomination committee reform

 5.1 Members of the NAACL nominating committee have provided detailed
feedback on some serious problems with the current nomination process
to the NAACL board. The current rules for forming the nomination
committee can be summarized as follows: all departing NAACL executive
board members sit on the nominating committee for 3 years after their
term on the board expires. These current rules create a situation in
which the nominating committee is too large and thus unfocused, and in
addition these rules create a situation in which the pool for chair
candidates is too small. A separate issue about the nominating
committee membership is that board members are not typically aware of
this extra responsibility when they agree to run for election to join
the NAACL board.  Owen Rambow pointed out that, unlike NAACL, the ACL
creates a nominating committee entirely from past presidents of ACL.
The discussion on this matter led to the following proposals (5.2 -

 5.2 It was proposed that there should be a 2-3 year term for exiting
(leaving) NAACL board members on the nomination committee. Members
serving on the nomination committee can leave after 2 years if there
are at least 3 members in the committee.

 5.3 The job descriptions for NAACL board members should explicitly
state that board members serve on the nomination committee after they
leave the NAACL board.

 5.4 During this discussion, the board realised that explicit
definitions of majority and plurarity need to be included in the NAACL
constitution to avoid any problems with interpretation of how the
nomination committee should work. Owen Rambow will draft a change to
the constitution with these explicit definitions.

6. Regional conference funding plans (related to Section 3)

 6.1 Chris Manning is the point person for this fund. There was $2000
allocated towards the sponsorship of multi-instituion regional events.

 6.2 The Northwest NLP Conference (a multi-institution regional
workshop/conference held at the Microsoft Research campus in Redmond)
received $1000 from this fund. The exit report for this conference has
been received from the organizers.

 6.3 Related to the dicussion of the Latin American fund in Section 3,
it was decided to merge these funds and create a single CFP for all
regional event sponsorships by NAACL. There can be two deadlines for
such a CFP per year.

7. Outreach programs

 7.1 JHU Summer School student scholarships sponsored by NAACL. The
current point person is Ted Pedersen, and Chris Callison-Burch will
take over as point person in 2011. 7 students out of 25 applicants
were funded by NAACL to attend the JHU summer school, with full
scholarships for travel, registration and lodging. One local student
got a registration only scholarship. A detailed report is attached to
these minutes, written by Ted Pedersen.

 7.2 NAACL also provided $1500 in funds to create videos of the
lectures at the JHU summer school. As of Feb 21, Chris Callison-Burch
has begun to upload videos from the 2009 JHU summer school to
videolectures.net. Also CCB has taken over from Jason Eisner as the
contact person at JHU for this effort.

 7.3 In the future, CCB will investigate if more students than those
who receive NAACL scholarships can be accomodated at future JHU summer
schools. However, there are likely to be issues with space and other
local arrangements.

 7.4 The North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO) was
discussed. NAACL has supported this effort by providing $5000 for the
past few years. The organizers themselves have dealt the promotion of
the event with CL/NLP people and encouraging hosting of NACLO at their
institution and outreach to high school students. It was decided to
continue this support of $5000 per year for NACLO.

 7.5 Chris Brew discussed outreach to the BioNLP community. It was
considered important to keep the communication lines open between the
NAACL community and growing BioNLP community.

 7.6 Sponsorship of the LSA Linguistic Institute in 2011 at UC Boulder
was discussed. As per the program chair for LSA 2011, Martha Palmer,
there is an effort to make computational linguistics a more integral
part of the LSA program in 2011. After some discussion, Owen Rambow
called for a vote on the proposal that NAACL should provide $10,000 in
sponsorship funds to LSA 2011 as "platinum" sponsors (since $3500
currently is a gold sponsorship level). This sponsorship would fund
the Keynote Lecture at LSA 2011, the reception, and 3 computational
linguistics courses at LSA 2011. NAACL should also receive all the
sponsorship privileges in terms of advertising, etc. that are given to
the Gold sponsors. The vote passed unanimously, counting all board
members who voted. Rebecca Hwa had a conflict of interest since she is
an invited instructor at LSA 2011, and so she abstained from the vote.

8. Summary of planned expenses

The following expenses are planned for the coming year:

 8.1 $6000 for funding for regional multi-institution events in North
and Latin America with a mandate to encourage computational
linguistics in Latin America. These sponsorship funds will be to
provide student funding for these events.

 8.2 $4000 for student travel scholarships to the NAACL HLT or ACL
conference held in North America.

 8.3 $10,000 for NAACL student scholarships to attend the JHU Summer School.

 8.4 $5000 for NAACL sponsorship of NACLO.

 8.5 $10,000 for NAACL sponsorship of LSA 2011.