2008Q3 Reports: SIGDAT

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SIGDAT - 2008 Summer Report

SIGDAT is ACL's special interest group for linguistic data and corpus-based approaches to NLP.

In 2008, SIGDAT is organizing its annual Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing in Honolulu, Hawaii, from October 25-27, at the Prince Kuhio Hotel, Waikiki, collocating with AMTA 2008 and the International Workshop on Spoken Language Translation. Mirella Lapata and Hwee Tou Ng are program co-chairs, Sebastian Pado is publications chair and Priscilla Rasmussen is handling local arrangements. Paper submissions are due July 3. The choice of date and location was based on several detailed surveys made at ACL 2007 and by email to the broader SIGDAT membership. These surveys indicated a strong preference for an off-season autumn meeting (with summer submission deadline) and also a preference for a western North-American meeting. Shared local arrangements with AMTA were also a significant plus.

In 2007, SIGDAT organized a 3-day Joint Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (EMNLP-CoNLL 2007) with our sister sig SIGNLL. The meeting was held immediately after ACL-07 in Prague on June 28-30. Jason Eisner was program chair, Jan Hajic was local arrangements chair, and Eric Ringger was publications chair. The conference was highly successful: Over 400 submissions were received, and 66 papers were accepted for oral presentation and 44 were accepted as posters, yielding a total acceptance rate of approximately 25% (and 15% acceptance for full oral presentation). The proceedings had 1200 pages(!), and essentially the entire conference was held in parallel sessions. In terms of scale on several dimensions, EMNLP is now regularly at a similar size to recent NAACL/HLT and EACL meetings.

Following the new ACL major conference pre-approval protocols, SIGDAT submitted a bid to hold EMNLP 2009 in collocation with ACL 2009 in Singapore, and this proposal was approved.

Also in January 2008, SIGDAT established an electronic membership enrollment process, which quickly achieved over 500 new members to the SIG and received their feedback regarding location/timing preferences for EMNLP 2008 and 2009. We have drafted a new SIG constitution and will be holding SIG elections immediately after its approval.

SIGDAT remains sensitive to the question of scheduling EMNLP with respect to other events (including CoNLL and other workshops) and we believe that the new collocation pre-approval process and our memorandum of understanding with SIGNLL are effective vehicles to this end.

       - David Yarowsky