2008Q3 Reports: NACLO
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North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO) Lori Levin, co-chair Tom Payne, co-chair Dragomir Radev, coach and program chair 1. Success in 2007 The two US teams did really well at the International Linguistics Olympiad in Russia. One of the two teams tied for first place in the team contest. One individual student, Adam Hesterberg, obtained the highest score in the individual contest. 2. 2008 contest In 2007, 195 students participated. The number went up to 763 (from the USA and Canada) in 2008. Canada participated for the first time. Participation was possible at one of 13 university sites of 65 high school sites throughout North America. We ran two rounds - an open one held on February 5 and an invitational one on March 11. A total of 12 problems were given this year. For some we have specified the type of problem below, for others - the geographical location. A. Apinaye (Brazil) B. Hindi (Translation of ambiguous words in context) C. Ilocano (Philippines) D. Swedish and Norwegian (Parallel texts) E. Aymara (South America) F. Japanese (Compound noun phrases) G. Manam Pile (Papua New Guinea) H. English (Stemming) I. Rotokas (Automata; Bougainville Island) J. Irish (Place Names) K. Mayan (Calendar) L. English (Spectrograms) The top eight students will represent the USA at the 2008 ILO in Bulgaria. These students are: 1. Guy Tabachnick, New York, NY 2. Jeffrey Lim, Arlington, MA 3. Josh Falk, Pittsburgh, PA 4. Anand Natarajan, San Jose, CA 5. Jae-Kyu Lee, Andover, MA 6. Rebecca Jacobs, Encino, CA 7. Hanzhi Zhu, Shrewsbury, MA 8. Morris Alper, San Jose, CA This year's ILO will be held from August 4 to August 8. Preparation for the trip is under way. 3. Assessment The second installment of the ILO was much bigger than the first one. We went from 3 university sites and 20 or so high school sites to 13 and 65, respectively. NACLO was a very enjoyable experience as the participants testified. For most of them, NACLO was their first exposure to linguistics and/or computational linguistics. Several clubs in these subjects are being created around the country as a result of NACLO. One important fact to notice is that female participation has consistenly been at near parity. 4. Acknowledgments We would like to thank NSF, Google, and NAACL for providing financial support for NACLO and Cambridge University Press for giving away books as awards. We would also like to thank James Pustejovsky, Mary Jo Bensasi, Tanya Korelsky, Pat Littell, Adam Hesterberg, Amy Troyani, and Paula Chesley who helped the contest in various ways as well as the more than 80 local organizers.