The Nominating Committee for the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (NAACL) has chosen the following candidates for the open positions on the NAACL board with two year terms beginning January 2019.
Additional nominations can be made until November 15th, 2018. The voting period will begin once the final slate of candidates and voting instructions are announced (soon after November 15th, 2018), and is scheduled to close on December 15th, 2018.
The names below and on the ballot appear in a (fixed) random order.
Jonathan May is a Research Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department of the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California, as well as a Computer Scientist with USC’s Information Sciences Institute, where he received his PhD in 2010. He has previously worked at BBN Technologies and at Language Weaver (now SDL Research). His research interests include automata theory, machine translation, semantic parsing, and machine learning. He is currently a co-organizer of the SemEval workshop. Jon previously served as an Area Chair and as Handbook Chair for NAACL 2018, social media co-chair for NAACL in 2016, and local arrangements co-chair for NAACL in 2010.
Thank you for considering me for the position of NAACL treasurer. When I was asked to run for this position, the first thing I thought of was how fun the job sounds. No, I’m not kidding! I actually enjoy the logistics and the satisfaction of getting everything into place, which I do a lot as a PI of several large grants and an instructor of a large class. That’s given me experience in keeping complicated budgets on target, planning ahead, and communicating our progress to the people who need to know.
I also have experience with ACL leadership positions. I’m finishing my tenure as SemEval co-organizer, which requires lots of coordination with many of the people I’d be working with on the NAACL board. Last year I was the (emergency) handbook chair of NAACL, with a compressed schedule of one week. I really enjoyed the logistics and the satisfaction of getting everything into place. There’s something so soothing about perfectly balanced books, like a compiled paper draft that just fits the page limit.
I have plans for improving NAACL as treasurer while continuing the great work done by the current board. I’d like to increase sponsorship of registration fees, continue to support subsidized on-site childcare, continue to support NACLO to promote Computational Linguistics at the high school level, and, where possible, expand the previous board initiatives to support participation in emerging regions, particularly in Mexico, Central, and Southern America. These efforts will help increase diversity in conference attendees and ensure that we have the financial stability we need. However, I will continue the board’s policy of cautious and prudent spending to slowly grow our account to pre-2010 levels without sacrificing the great conference experience we all look forward to.
Matthew Stone is Professor of Computer Science at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey; he holds a joint appointment in the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science. He has been at Rutgers since finishing his PhD in Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania in 1998. His research focuses on discourse, dialogue and natural language generation; he’s particularly interested in leveraging semantics to make interactive systems easier to build and more human-like in their behavior. He was program co-chair for NAACL 2007, general co-chair for SIGDIAL 2014, and helped to bring NASSLLI and SEMDIAL to Rutgers in summer 2016. He has also served as program co-chair for INLG and IWCS, as an information officer for SIGSEM, and on the editorial board for Computational Linguistics.
Despite constant changes in the way computational linguistics research is carried out, evaluated, and disseminated, NAACL (and ACL) have maintained a stellar record of supporting the community and nuturing the field. In a field as fast-moving as ours, the organization will always have to work effectively to respond to new opportunities, set its priorities and manage its risks. In my own experience in organizing meetings, administering sponsored research, and serving as graduate program director for my department, I’ve maintained a range of financial records, including projections for future spending under different assumptions, and seen first-hand the benefits of good information for making prudent decisions with confidence and getting the most out of limited resources. I’d apply my skills as Treasurer of NAACL with corresponding care and responsibility.
Like many of us, I come to computational linguistics with a deep commitment to efforts to broaden participation, engage students and break down disciplinary barriers. You can expect me to pursue that agenda as a member of the NAACL Board when my service as Treasurer brings opportunities to do so.
Joyce Chai is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Michigan State University, where she directs the Language and Interaction Research Lab. Prior to joining MSU in 2003, she was a researcher at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center. Her research interests include natural language processing, situated dialogue agents, information extraction and retrieval, and intelligent user interfaces. Her recent work has focused on grounded language processing to facilitate situated communication with robots and other artificial agents. Throughout the years, she has served on many conference/workshop organizations in different roles. More recently, she served as Program Co-chair for the Special Interest Group in Dialogue and Discourse (SIGDIAL) in 2011, the ACM International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI) in 2014, and the North America Chapter of ACL – Human Language Technology (NAACL-HLT) in 2015. She holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Duke University.
I have two goals in joining the NAACL executive board. First, I would like to work with the board to seek more opportunities to broaden interdisciplinary participation. We should find ways to encourage more interdisciplinary work at NAACL, for example, in the intersection of language, vision, robotics, and cognitive modeling. We should continue to reach out to relevant communities and actively solicit and invite interdisciplinary workshop/tutorial proposals for NAACL. We can also collocate our annual meeting with other major conferences in related areas and jointly create opportunities (e.g., brown bag lunches at the meeting) for interested researchers to meet and connect. Second, I would like to explore ways that NAACL can help encourage young researchers to enter academia and help them make a successful transition. NAACL can provide a platform to connect junior faculty and senior people. For example, NAACL can host a gathering at its annual conference to bring junior/senior people together to share experiences in NLP pedagogy, student supervising, grant writing, work-life balance, and other issues related to an academic career.
Aline Villavicencio is a Lecturer/Reader in Computer Science affiliated to the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) and to the University of Essex (UK). Her research interests include lexical semantics, multilinguality, and cognitively motivated NLP. She received her PhD from the University of Cambridge (UK) in 2001, and held postdoc positions at the University of Cambridge and University of Essex (UK). During 2011-2012 and 2014-2015, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA). She is a member of the editorial board of TACL and of JNLE, was Area Chair for NAACL 2018, COLING 2018, ACL-2017 and General co-chair for the 2018 International Conference on Computational Processing of Portuguese. She is also a member of the SIGLEX board and of the program committees of various *ACL and AI conferences, and has co-chaired several *ACL workshops on Cognitive Aspects of Computational Language Acquisition and on Multiword Expressions. She has also co-edited special issues and books dedicated to these topics.
If elected to the NAACL board I will work towards more diversity in NAACL promoting interdisciplinarity and the inclusion of underrepresented communities. There are many thriving and fast growing NLP groups doing amazing work on a rich variety of languages throughout the Americas. The Emerging Regions Fund and WiNLP have already made great progress, and I would like to further strengthen initiatives towards greater inclusion and participation of underrepresented groups at NAACL events. I will also support actions that promote greater interdisciplinarity, and that facilitate collaborations and exchanges with groups of related disciplines like cognitive sciences, linguistics and psychology. I strongly believe that more diversity brings more creativity (and certainly more fun).
Kevin Duh is a Senior Research Scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Human Language Technology Center of Excellence (JHU HLTCOE), an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Computer Science, and a member of the Center for Language and Speech Processing (CLSP). Prior to joining JHU, he worked at NAIST and NTT, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 2009, supported by an NSF Graduate Fellowship. His research interests are in machine translation, semantics, and deep learning. Past and current service roles include: EMNLP 2016 Program Co-Chair, ACL 2015 Tutorial Co-Chair, IWPT 2013 Local Organizing Committee, ACL 2011 International Sponsorship Committee, and coordinator of the long-running CLSP visiting speaker seminars.
NAACL is a great organization with a top-notch conference. My role as a NAACL Board, if elected, is to help ensure that we have good reviews and high-quality programs. When I served as Program Co-Chair for EMNLP 2016, I really appreciated the support from the officers, who encouraged us to experiment with different ideas to create a good scientific program. My intention is do the same. Currently our community is discussing several important issues, such as addressing the logistics of growing conference sizes, embracing demographic and intellectual diversity, and reaching a workable consensus on the “fast science” vs. “slow science” debate. In addition, one issue that I am particularly passionate about is improving the rigor of our review process: you might always get unlucky with that pesky Reviewer 3 who does not seem to appreciate your paper, but I believe there are concrete policy and technical solutions for reducing this occurrence. I plan to collect best practices, statistics, and lessons from past program chairs in order to help future program chairs. After all, our community is to a large extent defined by the quality and impact of our papers, which is in turn determined by the rigor of the review process.
Graham Neubig is an assistant professor at the Language Technologies Institute of Carnegie Mellon University. His work focuses on natural language processing, specifically multi-lingual models that work in many different languages, and natural language interfaces that allow humans to communicate with computers in their own language. Much of this work relies on machine learning to create these systems from data, and he is also active in developing methods and algorithms for machine learning over natural language data. He is also active in developing open-source software, and is the main developer of the DyNet neural network toolkit.
He publishes regularly in the top venues in natural language processing, machine learning, and speech, and his work occasionally wins awards such as best papers at EMNLP and EACL. He is frequently an area chair for conferences such as NAACL, ACL, COLING, and ICLR. He also was the founder of multiple ACL-affiliated workshops, most recently the Workshop on Neural Machine Translation.
I think NAACL has a lot to be proud of, particularly its premier high-impact conference that is growing year-by-year. However, I think there are growing pains related to being part of such a burgeoning field. While there are undoubtedly a wide variety of issues facing NAACL, in particular there are two that I would like to advocate for: maintaining quality of the reviewing process, and better mechanisms for remote participation in conferences:
First, with regards to reviewing, how can we ensure that our community can strive for the best results possible given the constraints on time that we will inevitably have to deal with? Also, how can we make it the most pleasant experience possible for all parties? Some preliminary ideas I have on this front include the following:
I don’t think that we can expect conference or area chairs to implement each of these processes manually, so coming up with systematic and automated ways of doing so that are passed down conference-by-conference is imperative.
Second, I would like to consider methods for improving remote participation in conferences. We live in an age where it is now very possible to broadcast our events online, which would be a great boon to those who could not attend the conference. I would specifically like to consider the following improvements:
Additional nominations can be submitted until November 15th, 2018. To make a nomination, three or more NAACL members should send email to the NAACL secretary, Colin Cherry at email@example.com, expressing support for the nominee and giving evidence that he or she will serve if elected. (It is recommended that this evidence consist of a forwarded email from the nominee containing a candidate statement, a biographical sketch, homepage URL, and a brief affirmation of intent to serve if elected.) In addition, the nominees for Chair should meet the criteria set out in the NAACL constitution.
The voting period will begin once the final slate of candidates and voting instructions are announced (soon after November 15th), and is scheduled to close on December 15.
Many thanks to the Nominating Committee for doing the hard work of putting together an excellent slate of nominees.
Nominating committee for the 2019 elections:
For more information about the NAACL, NAACL officer responsibilities, and NAACL election procedures, please see the NAACL home page, and the NAACL constitution, which is available there.