|Chair||Luciana Benotti||Universidad Nacional de Córdoba||2022-2023|
|Secretary||Heng Ji||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||2022-2023|
|Treasurer||Jonathan May||University of Southern California / ISI||2021-2022|
|Past Chair||Colin Cherry||2022-2023|
|Board Member||Eduardo Blanco||Arizona State University||2022|
|Board Member||Graham Neubig||Carnegie Mellon University||2021-2022|
|Board Member||Anna Rumshisky||University of Massachusetts Lowell||2022-2023|
|Board Member||Thamar Solorio||University of Houston||2022-2023|
|Board Member||Diyi Yang||Georgia Institute of Technology||2022-2023|
Luciana Benotti is an Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Science in the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, in Argentina. Her research interests cover many aspects of situated dialogue, including the study of misunderstandings, clarification requests and grounding. She has a PhD in Computer Science from INRIA, Nancy Grand Est, France. She received an IBM SUR award for her work on robust conversational interfaces, and a Google RISE award for her outreach efforts in developing AI-based technology for education. She has been an invited scholar at the University of Trento (2019), Stanford University (2018), Roskilde University (2014), University of Lorraine (2013), Universidad de Costa Rica (2012), and University of Southern California (2010). She regularly serves under different roles in the ACL community. She has been a volunteer during conferences, a reviewer since 2010, an area chair for dialogue and interactive systems several times, and a member of the executive board of SIGDIAL and SIGSEM. She is currently an elected officer at the NAACL executive board for 2021 and 2022. She is also serving as ARR action editor, ACL 2022 tutorial chair and NAACL 2022 D&I advisor.
If I am elected as chair of the board, I will keep working actively towards maintaining the high quality of the *CL conferences, while focusing on supporting diversity and inclusion. As a Latinamerican researcher, I know first hand the serious problems that overlooking these issues provoke. I will coordinate NAACL exec board responsibilities in collaboration with the ACL. I will continue enabling the initiatives I proposed as an officer, which have made good progress in this short time thanks to the work of the current NAACL exec board and the ACL community.
Care about ethics: I will support the continued inclusion of an ethical impact statement for all papers submitted to *CL conferences. Such statements should not only consider privacy, gender and race, but also take economy, power and climate into account. I will work towards improving the ethical reviewing through consensus in the community, serving as one of the Members at Large of the newly-formed ACL Ethics Committee.
Encourage reproducibility: I will continue to explore incentives to encourage the release of implementation code, data, metadata, and trained models required to reproduce the results of all papers submitted to NAACL. These measures would not only improve transparency, but they would help researchers with low computing budgets implement their ideas and help reduce carbon footprint. I will support the publication of reproducibility studies, in particular when applied to languages other than English.
Lower barriers: I will continue to strengthen diversity and inclusion initiatives at NAACL from different perspectives. In particular, I will work towards increasing the amount of fee waivers and strive to get travel grants for those who face financial barriers. Moreover, during the pandemic the organization of virtual conferences has successfully increased participation of underrepresented communities, and I will investigate and measure the impact of hybrid alternatives in the future.
Build community: I will support initiatives that broaden and strengthen NAACL´s community. Many successful community building activities are already rolling (e.g., Birds of a feather, ACL mentoring, WiNLP, RAF, Masakane, Queer and LatinX in AI, among others). The next step is to improve communication lines and coordinate joint efforts so that they benefit from each other.
Heng Ji is a professor at Computer Science Department, and an affiliated faculty member at Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is an Amazon Scholar. She received her B.A. and M. A. in Computational Linguistics from Tsinghua University, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University. Her research interests focus on Natural Language Processing, especially on Multimedia Multilingual Information Extraction, Knowledge Base Population and Knowledge-driven Generation. She was selected as “Young Scientist” and a member of the Global Future Council on the Future of Computing by the World Economic Forum in 2016 and 2017. The awards she received include “AI’s 10 to Watch” Award by IEEE Intelligent Systems in 2013, NSF CAREER award in 2009, Google Research Award in 2009 and 2014, IBM Watson Faculty Award in 2012 and 2014, Bosch Research Award in 2014-2018, Best-of-ICDM2013 Paper, Best-of-SDM2013 Paper, ACL2020 Best Demo Paper Award, and NAACL2021 Best Demo Paper Award. She is elected as the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (NAACL) secretary 2020-2021. She has served as the Program Committee Co-Chair of many conferences including NAACL-HLT2018, and she has been the coordinator for the NIST TAC Knowledge Base Population track since 2010.
In the past one and a half years, I have run the NAACL election in a well-organized, fair and transparent format, with the great help from the nomination committee and the ACL Information Technology Director Dr. Nitin Madnani. I have handled external communications through the NAACL website, mailing lists and social media in a clear and timely manner, and took meeting notes. I have constructed a repository of guidelines and materials for PC chairs, and built “ReviewRobot”, an automatic paper scoring and review generation system [Wang et al., INLG2020] which can potentially serve as a review assistant. I have also started building a Who’s Who knowledge base for NLP researchers using the information extraction and knowledge base population techniques that my research group has developed. I would appreciate the opportunity to serve for another term as NAACL secretary so I could have sufficient time to wrap up and release the PC chair material repository, and work with NAACL and ACL executive committees to figure out the best way to integrate and utilize the ReviewRobot and the NLP Who’s Who KB in NAACL/ACL platforms.
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 Research Lead with USC’s Information Sciences Institute, where he received a PhD in 2010. He has previously worked at BBN Technologies and at Language Weaver (now SDL Research). His interests include automata theory, machine translation, common-sense reasoning, semantic parsing, and dialogue. He is currently treasurer of NAACL. Jon previously served as workshop co-organizer and task organizer of SemEval from 2016 to 2019, 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 an additional term as NAACL treasurer. The past two years have been fun and productive ones, as I’ve learned more about NAACL’s financial health, implemented changes to improve efficiency, given advice to mitigate risk while supporting interests critical to our community, and weathered the current crisis. I look forward to building on the past term’s learning experience and continuing to keep NAACL financially sound.
Apart from our annual conference, NAACL continues to support NACLO, to promote CL/NLP awareness at the high school level. We provide scholarship funds for the JSALT summer workshop series. And we sponsor initiatives in emerging regions of the Americas via the ERF. As a member of the ERF committee, I am proud that we have been able to maintain funding levels even in a time of uncertainty and have sponsored worthwhile projects in Brazil, Peru, Mexico, and Colombia. And we have innovated our sponsorship payment process to speed up international transactions and reduce international exchange fees.
My goal for the coming term is to expand our support of these and other worthy causes that promote the equitable expansion of research in natural language processing and computational linguistics. Thanks to our hardworking ACL treasurer David Yarowsky and ACL business manager Priscilla Rasmussen, ACL is resolving long-standing uncertainties with regard to its financial health that have necessitated caution in our spending. With these uncertainties resolved, NAACL will be able to expand its support to increase NACLO, JSALT, and ERF participation, which exposes as wide a population in the Americas as possible to our field. When travel resumes, I will suggest we use available NAACL funds to facilitate low-cost conference child support and provide conference travel grants. In this way we will work toward ensuring that lack of money does not equate to lack of access.
Colin Cherry is a Research Scientist at Google in Montreal. Previously, he worked at Natural Research Council Canada and Microsoft Research. He received his Ph.D. in Computing Science from the University of Alberta. His primary research area is machine translation, but he has been known to venture into parsing, morphology and information extraction. He is currently secretary for the NAACL and an action editor for the Transactions of the ACL. He has served as a workshop chair for HLT-NAACL 2012, as a publications chair for HLT-NAACL 2013, on the editorial board of Computational Linguistics from 2013 to 2015, and as an area chair for ACL 2014, IJCNLP 2017 and EMNLP 2019. He co-organized the Workshop on Deep Learning Approaches for Low-Resource NLP (DeepLo) in 2018 and 2019, and he was Research Program co-chair for the conference of the Association for Machine Translation in the Americas (AMTA) in 2018. He is currently a Past Chair for NAACL 2022-2023.
From what I have seen, the role of the NAACL chair is threefold: first to keep the NAACL board on track with its recurring responsibilities of conference organization and community outreach, second to act as a liaison between the NAACL and the ACL, and third to enable and amplify the great ideas of NAACL’s board members. As a chair candidate, my primary advantage is having served as secretary for two great NAACL chairs. Over the past four years, I have watched them do these things expertly, and if selected as chair I will endeavour to do the same.
In terms of a platform, I mostly offer continuity and stability. These are extraordinary times for natural language processing, and I have no illusions about the amount of effort required just to scale our conferences and outreach to match our field’s rapid growth. I will continue to support NAACL’s widespread efforts to make its conferences more inclusive, by reducing financial barriers for disadvantaged groups, continuing to refine our strategies for family-friendliness, and improving the accessibility of our venues. I also intend to prioritize a careful discussion of how to handle remote presentation properly and consistently. Reviewing, of course, remains an ongoing concern as we attempt to scale our processes to an ever-growing flood of submissions. I will ensure that the NAACL board remains actively engaged in this discussion as it continues in our community and in those of our neighbouring fields.
Eduardo Blanco is an Associate Professor at Arizona State University. He was previously an Assistant Professor (2014-2020) and Associate Professor (2020-2021) at University of North Texas. He received his PhD in 2011 from The University of Texas at Dallas. He has been a reviewer for *ACL conferences for over a decade and currently serves in the standing reviewer team of the Computational Linguistics and Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics journals. He has co-organized multiple workshops collocated with *ACL conferences and served as Area Chair and Demo Chair for several ACL, NAACL and EMNLP conferences. He also served as Virtual Infrastructure Co-Chair for EMNLP 2020, where he was responsible for designing and coordinating the caption editing process to improve accessibility of prerecorded presentations.
The community has proposed and implemented several initiatives to improve the reviewing process, ensure high quality programs in conferences, and broaden participation (Student Research Workshops, Emerging Regions funds, WiNLP, etc.). If elected to the NAACL board, I will work on initiatives to broaden participation and improve access:
Geography. The NAACL constitution states that NAACL will serve ACL members in Central America and South America until regional chapters are created. I will support ongoing initiatives (LatinX in AI, Emerging Regions Fund, etc.) and work towards having more in-person conferences in these regions (assuming the pandemic allows us to).
Cost. Attending our conferences is outside the budget of many researchers. Based on what I learned serving as Virtual Infrastructure Co-Chair for EMNLP 2020, I will work towards standardizing processes to offer hybrid conferences. I believe that hybrid conferences will allow many more researchers to participate and that most researchers who currently attend in person will continue to do so.
Non-native English speakers and ableism. Many researchers in our region are non-native English speakers or hard of hearing. Offering captions will not only enhance the experience of non-native speakers, but also partially address ableism. Prerecorded presentations can be automatically captioned and then edited by the presenter, similar to what we did at EMNLP 2020. I will also explore options to offer captions for live presentations.
Graham Neubig is an associate 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, and he is also active in developing methods and algorithms for machine learning over natural language data. He publishes regularly in the top venues in natural language processing, machine learning, and speech, and his work has won awards at EMNLP 2016, EACL 2017, and NAACL 2019. He has served on the NAACL board for the 2019-2020 term.
I first ran for the NAACL board in 2018 on a platform of improving two things regarding our conferences and publishing. The first was regarding remote participation in conferences, with the goal of reducing the barrier of entry for researchers who are not able to participating in conferences personally due to financial or visa issues. The silver lining on the cloud of the COVID situation is that it forced our hand on remote conferences, and I now believe that the infrastructure is in place. If elected to a second term, I will advocate for continuing to provide a comprehensive remote participation experience even after we transition back to in-person conferences. The second issue was improvement of our reviewing processes, with the goal of improving efficiency and reviewing quality. I am continuing to advocate for this through participation in the ACL reviewing committee, where I have developed software for reviewer-paper matching (which has been used at ACL 2020 and EMNLP 2020), and also created proposals for rolling review that are under consideration for the ACL as a whole. If elected, I would like to use my position on the NAACL exec to continue advocating for improvements in the reviewing processes for NAACL conferences and the ACL as a whole.
Anna Rumshisky is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She works on representation learning for computational semantics and temporal reasoning, model interpretability & analysis, and natural language modeling for clinical informatics. She is currently a Visiting Academic at Amazon Alexa AI. She was previously a postdoctoral fellow at MIT CSAIL and received a PhD in Computer Science from Brandeis University in 2009. She is a recipient of the NSF CAREER award in 2017 and the best thematic paper award at NAACL-HLT 2019. Her research has been supported by the NSF, NIH, Army Research Office, National Endowment for the Humanities, among others. She has served as a Program Co-Chair for NAACL 2021, area chair for ACL 2020, NAACL-HLT 2019, and COLING 2018, and co-organized a number of workshops, including Insights from Negative Results in NLP (Insights @ EMNLP 2020, EMNLP 2021), Evaluating Vector Space Representations for NLP (RepEval @ NAACL 2019), and the Clinical Natural Language Processing Workshop (COLING 2016, NAACL 2019, EMNLP 2020).
As a board member, I would like to ensure that we work on the following issues:
Reproducibility. As in many other fields, we currently face a reproducibility crisis. We need formal mechanisms to counteract it that go beyond contacting the authors and discussing issues on social media and in our personal networks. A number of methods have now been proposed to encourage reproducibility, but most have not been widely implemented. As a board member, I would like to ensure that we take action towards formalizing some of the proposed mechanisms.
Accessibility. One clear benefit of switching conferences to virtual format this year was improved access to top conferences so many of us who would not be able attend in person. It is clear that we need to figure out how to run conferences in a hybrid mode without creating a two-tier system. Should we have remote and live components to every conference, with papers presented at both or randomly assigned to one of the modalities? Which events can be run in both modalities? As a board member, I would like to explore and understand what our solutions should be.
Ethics and social impact. Amid growing concerns about research ethics and social impact of our research, a number of initiatives have been undertaken recently to change how we think about potential impact of our research both on different social groups and society at large. Ethics are a delicate matter, and hasty decisions may easily lead to disastrous effects. I would work to ensure that such initiatives are systematic and well thought-out, and that we have a wide community support.
Thamar Solorio is professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Houston (UH). Her main research interests include information extraction for user generated data, NLP for linguistically diverse speakers, and more recently, multimodal processing of text and video. She has M.S. and PhD degrees in Computer Science from INAOE, Puebla, Mexico. Her research program has been supported by the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, and ADOBE Inc. She is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award for her work on authorship analysis. She is also a recipient of the 2014 Emerging Leader ABIE Award in honor of Denice Denton. She serves as editorial board member for the Computer Speech and Language Journal. She has served as reviewer and area chair to ACL, NAACL, AAAI, among others, and was program co-chair for NAACL 2019.
I was elected to the board during a difficult 2020, and sadly I wasn’t able to really achieve much in terms of my stated goals for NAACL. Meanwhile, ACL and NAACL have made important progress towards a more inclusive community, and if reelected I would work to support and extend these efforts.
I would like to help implement a tiered conference registration where medium and large tech companies pay higher registration prices than participants from non-profit institutions. The goal is to spend the additional funds collected through registration to increase access to the conference in the form of more travel grants, infrastructure support for virtual components, individual flexible grants for individuals with unique challenges to attend the conference (paying extra hours for childcare at home, airfare for child care provider, etc.), and augment funds allocated for the NAACL Regional Americas Fund, as well as to explore the creation of additional supporting initiatives. One idea is to create a NAACL distinguished speaker series, where well established researchers commit to travel to a region typically underrepresented in our community to give a tutorial and interact with the research community in that place.
Additionally, this year I would also like to explore approaches that foster a more synergistic collaboration and involvement of industry and academia/non-profit organizations. The scale of resources needed nowadays to explore deep learning approaches that continue to deliver successful results is aggravating disparity for researchers with limited access to these resources. One solution is to mentor our reviewers to value contributions that are not the expected large models, and our community is already making great progress in this respect, for example with submission tracks dedicated to NLP for under-resourced languages. We should do more, not to slow down the progress of large models, but to protect the intellectual value and creativity of research ideas that are critically needed to secure the sustained growth of NLP communities world-wide, and the advancement of NLP technology in all regions of the world. A good initial step towards this goal would be to establish targeted discussions with researchers from underrepresented communities and form an accurate understanding of their research environments, needs, and the best ways in which industry and big labs can collaborate to support these communities.
Diyi Yang is an assistant professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology. She received her PhD from the Language Technologies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in 2019. Her recent research interests focus on computational social science, learning with limited data, dialogue summarization, and responsible NLP for social good. She is a recipient of Forbes 30 under 30 in Science, a winner of IEEE “AI 10 to Watch” award, and a Microsoft Research Faculty Fellow. She co-organized the Widening NLP (WiNLP) workshops at NAACL 2018 and ACL 2019, and has served as area chairs for NAACL, EMNLP and ACL.
Recently, there has been exciting and rapid growth in our NAACL community, which has attracted a growing number of participants from various research communities, cultures, and countries. If elected as a board member, I would like to work towards a more diverse and inclusive NAACL through the following initiatives:
Promoting interdisciplinary work: One of my goals is to help promote more interdisciplinary research within the NAACL community, by coordinating joint tutorials or workshops with communities such as Computer Vision, Robotics, HCI and Social Science, and improving the review criteria/process for these interdisciplinary works.
Establishing programs to highlight early career researchers: I would like to work towards establishing Highlights Programs for new faculty or researchers in industry, to provide them with opportunities to connect with peers, get advice (e.g., teaching, student supervision) from senior colleagues, gain visibility, and engage with our NLP community by active participation in various ways and capacities.
Supporting undergraduate students and high school students: I would like to help figure out ways on how we can attract and support undergraduates and high school students into NLP, e.g., via establishing summer school programs or certain funded programs that offer free registration and travel awards.
Increasing language support for non-native English speakers: I hope to work towards more language inclusive communities, via efforts to support both non-native English presenters and attendees (e.g., during Q&A, writing support, and etc.).