2008Q3 Reports: Secretary

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                         ACL Secretary report

                            Dragomir Radev
                           radev@umich.edu


- Elections were held in the Fall of 2007. 601 members voted (a 20%
  increase from last year). The winners are:

  Ido Dagan (Bar-Ilan University, Israel) - vice-president-elect
  Graeme Hirst (University of Toronto, Canada) - treasurer
  Hwee Tou Ng (National University of Singapore) - member

  On January 1, 2008, Ido, Graeme, and Hwee Tou replaced Keh-Yih Su
  and Jun'ichi Tsujii whose terms on the exec are expiring. 
  On behalf of the entire exec and the entire ACL, I would like thank
  KY and Tsujii for the tremendous amount of attention
  that they devoted to ACL while on the exec. 

  In accordance with ACL's constitution, Kathy McCoy remains on the
  exec for another year as past treasurer to ensure a proper
  transition of our books. Our current president, Mark Steedman, stays
  on as past president until the end of the year. Finally, the former
  vice-president, Bonnie Dorr, is now ACL president for 2008.

  In 2008 we will have elections to replace Claire Cardie and Mark
  Steedman. The nominating committee (Martha Palmer (chair), Jun'ichi
  Tsujii, and Mark Steedman) are expected to suggest a slate of
  nominees. The nominations will be announced at the business
  meeting. The ACL membership can make additional nominations during a
  one month period following the conference.

- In 2007, we had a call for ACL initiatives. Of these, one was
  started (the video anthology project) and another was too similar to
  the AAN initiative listed
  below. http://www.fask.uni-mainz.de/lk/videoarchive (Reinhard Rapp
  and Chris Biemann)

- LTA nominations were collected and a new winner was selected. The
  name will be announced in Columbus.

- Eric Fosler-Lussier did an amazing job of updating the archives -
  please visit them here: http://www.aclweb.org/archive

- Ali Hakim has been very helpful with updates to the ACL site. 

- Ali and I put together the following page, based on Priscilla's
  spreadsheet:

  http://aclweb.org/aclwiki/index.php?title=Conference_Chairs

- The Singapore bid for ACL-IJCNLP 2009 was accepted.

- A policy for ACL exec votes was approved: 
  "In order to clearly separate discussion from voting, the voting on
  ACL resolutions will be done via sending the vote via email to the
  ACL secretary. When the vote is over, the secretary will send a
  summary of the vote (including the names and votes) back to the
  executive committee and also record the status of the vote (minus
  the names) on the resolutions page.
  In special circumstances, the exec can decide *in advance of the
  vote* to change this procedure for valid reasons."

- SIGANN was approved. It deals with annotation. The officers of
  SIGANN are Nancy Ide and Adam Meyers.

- Mark Steedman suggested that in the future, we should make sure to
  read each other's reports in advance of the exec meetings. Doing so
  would avoid wasting precious time at the meetings (whether on the
  phone of face to face) and leave more time for productive
  discussions.

  Is this acceptable to everyone? Please let me know what you
  think. If the general feeling concurs with Mark's, I would like to
  establish a new procedure for the winter meeting that involves much
  less live reporting.

- My impression from talking to exec members and to other attendees at
  ACL this year is that the new format for the business meeting was
  much better than last year's. Everyone that I talked to (except for
  the author of one of the rejected proposals) was enthusiastic about
  the new format. Note too that in Sydney, there were fewer than 100
  people in the audience whereas in Prague, I counted 198 attendees. I
  would like to keep a similar format in the future: some brief time
  for reports and then more time for discussion. Of course, next year,
  we can propose some other formats and topics for discussion.

- I helped negotiate an agreement between SIGDAT and SIGNLL about
  taking turns at having first pick for a conference site. This
  agreement does not supersede any ACL policies and decisions about
  the actual locations.

- A web page was established where to store ACL resolutions:
  http://www.aclweb.org/policies/resolutions.html 

  The full list of recent resolutions is listed at the end of this
  document. 

- Priscilla had to start using two new mechanisms for sending
  important announcements to the ACL membership. The first mechanism
  is used for conference announcements. Email comes from an address at
  aclweb.org ACL members can opt out of that mailing list. The second
  mechanism is used for the most important messages related to ACL
  such as this newsletter, election notices, membership reminders,
  etc. Email here comes from an address at umich.edu and is signed by
  the ACL Webmaster, Ali Hakim.

- Our archivist, Eric Fosler-Lussier did an amazing job of updating
  the archives - please visit them here: http://www.aclweb.org/archive
  The ACL webmaster, Ali Hakim has been very helpful with timely
  updates to the ACL site.

I was personally involved in two additional activities of interest to ACL.

- The ACL Anthology Network
  (http://belobog.si.umich.edu/clair/anthology/). This is a manually
  curated citation and collaboration database. It includes degree,
  pagerank, h-index, collaboration centrality, and other bibliometric
  values (http://belobog.si.umich.edu/clair/anthology/rankings.html).

- NACLO (http://www.naclo.cs.cmu.edu). I spent most of my time on this
  project. In 2007 we had 200 participants and 8 were selected for the
  ILO in Russia. I was the team coach and program chair while Lori
  Levin and Tom Payne were the two general co-chairs. One of the two
  US teams tied for first place in the team contest and one US student
  (Adam Hesterberg) finished first in the individual contest. See
  here: (http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=109891)
  In 2008, 763 students took part from the USA and Canada in NACLO.
  The top 8 will participate at the International Linguistics Olympiad
  in August. Check www.naclo.cs.cmu.edu for more details as well as a
  copy of the problems and their solutions. Canada participated for
  the first time in 2008 and Australia will also participate for the
  first time later this year.


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ACL Resolutions

This is a partial list of ACL resolutions. Older resolutions will be added over time.

April 14, 2008

   1. (PASSED) Copyright Transfer Agreement

      Copyright to the above work (including, without limitation, the
      right to publish the work in whole or in part in any and all
      forms and media, now or hereafter known) is hereby transferred
      to the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL),
      effective as of the date of this agreement, on the understanding
      that the work has been accepted for presentation at a meeting
      sponsored by the ACL and for publication in the proceedings of
      that meeting. However, each of the authors and the employers for
      whom the work was performed reserve all other rights,
      specifically including the following: (1) All proprietary rights
      other than copyright and publication rights transferred to ACL;
      (2) The right to publish in a journal or collection or to be
      used in future works of the author's own (such as articles or
      books) all or part of this work, provided that acknowledgment is
      given to the ACL and a full citation to its publication in the
      particular proceedings is included; (3) The right to make oral
      presentation of the material in any forum; (4) The right to make
      copies of the work for internal distribution within the author's
      organization and for external distribution as a preprint,
      reprint, technical report, or related class of document.

      Exceptions: Some of the foregoing conditions will not apply if
      the work is not copyrighted or has a non-transferrable
      copyright, because it has been produced by government employees
      acting within the scope of their employment. In this case,
      exceptions can be made by ticking the appropriate box below:

      [ ] The work has been produced by government employees acting
      within the scope of their employment and is not copyrighted

      [ ] The work has been produced by government employees acting
      within the scope of their employment and has non-transferrable
      copyright

      [ ] The work has been produced by government employees acting
      within the scope of their employment and the government reserves
      the right to reproduce the work for government purposes

      By typing my signature below, I confirm that all authors of the
      work have agreed to the above and that I am authorized to sign
      this form on their behalf.

      Signature (type your name):

      Your job title (if not one of the authors):

      Name and address of your organization:

April 9, 2008

   1. (PASSED) The ACL exec appoints Mark Steedman as representative
      to AFNLP for the rest of his term on the exec.

September 14, 2007

   1. (PASSED)The initial SIG organizer(s) may serve as the de facto
      officers for the first year, while a nomination/election process
      is being established; official elections must be held within the
      first year after approval of the SIG.

June 24, 2007

   1. (PASSED) The ACL exec approves the creation of a new SIG, SIGANN
      for Annotation. The officers of SIGANN are Nancy Ide and Adam
      Meyers.

June 18, 2007

   1.

      (PASSED) In order to clearly separate discussion from voting,
      the voting on ACL resolutions will be done via sending the vote
      via email to the ACL secretary. When the vote is over, the
      secretary will send a summary of the vote (including the names
      and votes) back to the executive committee and also record the
      status of the vote (minus the names) on the resolutions page.

      In special circumstances, the exec can decide *in advance of the
      vote* to change this procedure for valid reasons.

June 8, 2007

   1. (PASSED) To accept Singapore's bid for the 2009 ACL/IJCNLP
      conference.
   2. (PASSED) The supluses or deficits (as the case may be) will be
      shared 50-50 between ACL and AFNLP. AFNLP chooses to share its
      share 50-50 with the local organizers.

May 16, 2007

Three related proposals about ACL's 2008 conference:

   1. (PASSED) PROPOSAL 1 : long and short tracks. The 2008 conference
      maintains the NAACL HLT distinction between long and short
      papers, where short papers have a serious submission number, a
      serious reviewing, a Coling-level acceptance rate (about 40%),
      and a different profile (new ideas, smaller results, smaller
      experiments) with different submission and reviewing
      requirements (completed work not required) and a much later
      submission deadline.
   2. (PASSED) PROPOSAL 2 : the structure of the PC. There are 4 PC
      co-chairs: 1 NLP for long papers, 1 NLP for short papers, 1
      Speech (for both long and short), 1 IR (for both long and
      short). The senior PC will be different for long and short
      papers (though potentially with overlap). The short paper PC
      will also handle demos. The Speech and IR co-chairs should have
      at least some visibility in the general NLP field.
   3. (PASSED) PROPOSAL 3 : name. The conference has a name that (a)
      includes "HLT" in its short name and (b) "Human Language
      Technologies" in its long name. For specificity, this proposal
      is: "ACL-08:HLT" and "The 46th Annual meeting of the Association
      for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies".

May 2007

Free registration for some conference officials

   1. (PASSED) The General Chair, all PC co-chairs, and all local
      chairs (up to three) get free registration (not including the
      banquet) to ACL conferences. The free registration does not
      include ACL membership (it is assumed that people in these
      positions would already be ACL members).

Last minute additions (June 4, 2008):

1. The following suggestions by members were posted on the wiki.

http://aclweb.org/aclwiki/index.php?title=Suggestions

    *  The Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC has exhibits that
       support many fields of scholarship and science, but there is
       nothing to support language, linguistics, and computational
       linguistics. How are tomorrow's youth to be inspired to pursue
       a career in language sciences when it is so hard to see both
       how fascinating the world's languages are and how modern
       computational linguistics is making contributions to the
       understanding and use of language via computer. There are
       obvious parties that could be brought together to realize such
       a project, from the government funders interested in promoting
       interest in foreign languages through the corporations
       interested in showing off hardware and technology performing
       language processing tasks. Could the ACL perhaps be the
       mediator bringing these groups together to see if an exhibit on
       languages, linguistics and computation could be created?
       (Robert A. Amsler, May 23, 2008) 

    * The pricing model of ACL meeting registration fees is
      complicated. To encourage participation in the whole event it
      penalizes participants who are only interested in a single
      workshop. It is also difficult to enforce payment. I suggest a
      simpler model, based on a per-day fee. An example would be $200
      for the tutorial day, $120 for a main conference day, $100 for a
      workshops day. Participants should be able to freely move from
      one workshop to another. Payment could be easily controlled by
      color-coding name tags with different colors for each day of the
      conference. (Shuly Wintner, May 23, 2008) 

    * The capacity for individuals to pursue research in NLP often
      depends on access to annotated corpora, but this is difficult
      for isolated researchers, especially those at small institutions
      or based in countries with weak currencies. Could ACL mediate
      access to a selection of standard non-free corpora, perhaps via
      a special membership status? (Steven Bird, May 23, 2008) 

    * Effective teaching of CL is difficult given diverse student
      backgrounds and the complex resource requirements. Evidence for
      what methods work in which contexts is largely anecdotal. The
      ACL could commission a working group to make a more systematic
      study of CL pedagogy, and prepare a report comparable to the one
      that exists for Computer Science education
      http://www.sigcse.org/cc2001/ (Steven Bird, May 23, 2008) 

    * I would suggest that ACL conferences adopt an author response
      phase during reviewing where authors can see initial reviews and
      post a short response to correct errors and misunderstandings in
      the reviews before a final decision is made. Author response is
      now widely used in many related conferences such as AAAI, ICML,
      and NIPS, where as an author and a reviewer I have found it to
      be a valuable addition to improving the reviewing process. Many
      members of the SIGDAT board have recently suggested it be
      established for EMNLP-08. (Ray Mooney, May 19, 2008) 

    * ACL should start giving more space (back?) to models that
      incorporate linguistic insights, and to work in areas such as
      discourse and dialogue, where the issue of evaluation can only
      rarely be answered by reporting results on available
      corpora. Linguistic insights are sometimes valuable even if they
      don't improve performance. In discourse/ dialogue / NLG,
      meaningful available corpora are rare, even if one wanted to use
      them for evaluation. Evaluation of such work can be carried out
      from many different points of view, foremost among those, IMO,
      user evaluations. (Barbara Di Eugenio, May 19, 2008) 

    * The ACL Anthology should be augmented to contain the complete
      back issues of "the Finite String" from Vol. 1, No. 1 (Jan.,
      1964). The issues contained in J79 (the microfiche issues,
      starting with Vol. 11) should be separately pointed to from a
      new "the Finite String" identification line. I've many of the
      paper copies and can scan them for ACL. (Robert A. Amsler, May
      14, 2008) 

    * In recognition of the amount of effort they have put in
      organizing their workshop, workshop chairs should not have to
      pay registration fees to attend their own workshop (Dragomir
      Radev, May 1, 2008) 

    * Authors of papers should, wherever feasible, include in their
      papers a URL from which source code and/or data relevant to
      their papers can be downloaded (Dragomir Radev, May 1, 2008) 

    * It would be nice if part of the waived "student volunteer"
      package at least included tutorials (which are of big interest
      to junior students), if not also workshops. (Hal Daume III, May
      14, 2007) 

2. Peter Turney added a page on the Wiki:

http://aclweb.org/aclwiki/index.php?title=ACL_Data_and_Code_Repository

The ACL Data and Code Repository is a repository of data (e.g.,
hand-labeled text, hand-parsed text, feature vectors for machine
learning, etc.) and source code (e.g., taggers, parsers, chunkers,
etc.) for computational linguistics and natural language
processing. The goal of the repository is to make it easier for
researchers to replicate each other's work and to compare different
approaches using the same benchmarks.