Boulder, Colorado 31 May 2009

Present: Chris Brew, Hal Daume, Graeme Hirst, Rebecca Hwa, Chris Manning, Ted Pedersen, Owen Rambow, Priscilla Rasmussen, Suzanne Stevenson [present by phone, left before the end].

Financial Items:

Treasurer’s report:

See separate posting.

NAACLs joint with ACL don’t bring in as much revenue as NAACLs not joint with ACL, partly because the revenue is split with ACL, and partly because ACLs don’t bring in as much.

Treasurer’s conclusion is still that we’re not spending as much money as we could to support activities. But Priscilla notes that you should have one conference’s worth of costs, in case of unforeseen/unpredictable circumstances (eg, have to cancel a conference, you owe ~50%). This means we need around $100K in reserve. Owen suggests we should get guidance from ACL on how much chapters should have in reserve – ie, how much will the parent organization backstop the chapters.

Chris Manning suggests we can safely spend about $20K on things like JHU Summer School and NACLO.

Offered student support for this NAACL, but only announced it about 2 weeks before conference. Only got 4 requests. Issue of whether we should fund people out of the Americas, also whether to fund students to attend student research workshop. One idea is to fund students in South America.

We’ll return to issue of whether and how to spend more money when we consider issues around Latin American activities later.

Report on JHU Summer School:

We had 18 applicants and funded 11. Our decisions favored students earlier in their career and a limited number per advisor. Call for applications should go out earlier, because decisions only went out less than 2 weeks before the start of the summer school. Part of problem is JHU’s timing of determining whether and when to run the summer school. We may want to solicit applications earlier and cancel if we have to.


[Joined by NAACL 2009 organizing committee.]

Sponsorship policy/practice: Sponsors are encouraged to participate in “3-packs” of conferences. Priscilla always offers the 3-pack as providing more exposure, but clearly arranges whatever the organization feels comfortable with. Owen thinks we need to raise awareness of the options, especially among sponsorship chairs.

Debrief on NAACL 2009:

Priscilla presented registration stats sheet. 642 preregistered; probably will end up around 700 with on-site. This is right in the ballpark for good attendance. CoNLL, BioNLP, SST, SIGDial – all drawing well, around 75-100.

What is a good number of tutorials? In Priscilla’s experience, 6 is the optimal number. Basically, there is a fairly constant number of people who attend tutorials, and having more choice of tutorials doesn’t attract significantly more people. Recommendation is to stick to 6 tutorials in the future.

Need to have clear web links to ACL conference organization info, with addenda for NAACL.

Discussion of student travel awards: some potential sponsors want to put certain conditions on sponsorship money, e.g., as travel for certain types of students or given as award presented at conference. Suggestions: We need to turn the issue over to the sponsorship committee, to determine policy to guide these decisions. Set up conference calls among local sponsorship people and sponsorship committee. Send sponsorship guidelines to everyone involved in conferences. Might make more sense to have two people doing local sponsorship.

Some comparison of NAACL 2009 dollar figures to NAACL 2006; 2009 looks good at this point.

There was some feedback from industry people that tutorials were more appealing this year – more applied/relevant topics.

There were not as many demos this year (only 5) – not worth the trouble for this small number. Some options: have them accompany relevant short papers (but note that of 180 short paper submissions only 10 qualified as “applications” papers); just have open “show and tell”; or both. Could we allow/encourage all authors of accepted papers to have a demo if appropriate (and even tutorials)? Some overlap between the notion of demos and exhibits. (Note that this year, there were no exhibits chair or exhibits; even gold sponsors (who are eligible for free exhibit) didn’t want to exhibit.) Good to open up demos, but need some incentive structure. Will return consider revised demo policy for 2010.

There were challenges in setting all the dates (submission, notification, etc., of all paper types), especially under time pressures. One lesson from this year – don’t try to coordinate with SIGIR. Suggestion: ACL and NAACL boards should coordinate some on dates and then turn over some suggestions to the PC chairs.

IR at the conference: including IR, QA and TC, about the size of a medium sized area in the conference. (In rest of conference, smallest workshop is one related to IR, but well-attended tutorial on the topic.) Conclusion: There is an insufficient number of submissions to warrant a PC Co-Chair, but the topic does warrant an Area Chair. (Alternative view: Having a PC Co-Chair sends message that should encourage more submissions in this area; however, it doesn’t seem to be working.)

Workshops schedule is done independently of local organizers. (Issues with setting up of posters.) Suggestion: Workshops Chair(s) should play stronger role in coordination and organization. Should refer this to ACL executive – broader issue of what the role of Workshops Chairs should be.

Short papers: implemented suggestion of having different categories of papers – negative result (1), interesting application note (10), small focused contribution (119), opinion piece (2), work in process (38). (Numbers indicate majority agreement on category for paper; 170 of 180 papers had such agreement.) Suggestion: Authors should specify category, not reviewers. Suggestion: Need to discuss the issue of short papers, and different categories, among wider membership, perhaps at Business Meeting. Suggestion: It might help to not call all of these “short papers”, because people are predisposed to think of short papers in a certain way (just as short versions of regular conference papers). They did not select a best short paper.

Note that SoftConf doesn’t allow multiple categories to be checked, or different review forms for different types of papers. Also, it would be nice in SoftConf to have a way to keep things blind that co-chairs had submitted – works well for area chairs but not the higher level. Suggestion: Write these issues up about SoftConf to submit to them.

Discussion of best papers: should there be a set of best papers, each named accordingly?

Suggestion: Lots of interest in a 10-year best paper award in 2010. How to determine set of papers to select from: Solicit nominations? Have Board identify possibilities? Past PCs of NAACL identify possibilities? Selection committee should be comprised of past PC chairs. 10-year award is different from yearly best paper – looking for most influential paper of the decade. Need to develop explicit criteria and name for award.

Decisions for 2010 based on 2009 debrief: We will drop the IR Co-Chair, and maintain the Speech Co-Chair. We will have 3 PC Co-Chairs total – one Speech, two NLP, one of the latter handling the short papers. Try parallel submission of long and short papers, with common deadlines. Reviewers could recommend that a paper be moved from long to short track (requiring rewrite).

Brief Update on NAACL 2010:

Ron Kaplan has agreed to be GC.

Local arrangements are going fine. Banquet venue not yet under contract. After the current conference, the activity will pick up.

Brief Update on ACL 2011:

The location is still under discussion, and to be announced in September.

Other Issues:

[The secretary left at this point; the below is summarized from another member’s notes.]

Industry Involvement:

Need to discuss again the issue of collocating NAACL with TextAnalytics, with mutual discounted registration. Should also consider other possibilities for collocation (perhaps AMTA?). Need to develop a short-term strategy for NAACL 2010.

Regional Conferences:

Regional conferences provide opportunities for community without incurring high travel or registration costs. We can support such activities with small contribution and link from our home page. Discussion of regularizing this process. Owen will follow up to see whether NSF funding might be available.

Latin American activities in particular: Isolation is an issue for this region: language issues; travel from Latin America to US/Canada can be difficult (visa issues) and expensive. Would be valuable to support regional events, which could benefit from both the financial support and the formal endorsement by the NAACL, or other types of activities. Need to deal with NAACL name.

Vote on Spending for 2009-2010, and Action Items:

Voted to continue working with JHU on supporting summer school attendance at least through 2011, at about $10K/year. Need to discuss details with them, such as registration fee. Also need to follow up on ensuring that the NAACL-financed video recordings of lectures are available on the web.

Voted on a call for proposals for hosting a summer school, but there was not unanimous support. This idea needs to be developed further.

Voted unanimously to approve proposed budget:

Hopkins $10,000
NACLO $5,000
Latin America Fund $3,000
Regional Workshop Fund $2,000
NAACL student travel fund $4,000
NAACL students tutorials $1,000
Total: $25,000