2010Q3 Reports: SIGGEN

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ACL SIGGEN report 2009-2010

SIGGEN continues to be a valued shared resource for an active and developing community of researchers in natural language generation. Over the past year we have overseen the organisation of the INLG 2010 conference, supported a number of other workshops and initiatives, and maintained and developed our web presence. We are now heading into SIGGEN board elections and it would be great to see some strong nominations to take the sig forward over the next four years.

SIGGEN organises the biennial INLG conferences, and this year is conference year, with INLG 2010 taking place in Ireland immediately prior to ACL 2010. Organised by Ielka van der Sluis (Trinity College, Dublin), John Kelleher and Brian McNamee (Dublin Institute of Technology), the conference attracted 50 paper and poster submissions, and the 24 papers accepted promise to give us a very exciting conference. At the time of writing, 54 attendees had registered, and we are confident that the conference will be a great success, academically, socially and financially.

In addition, SIGGEN offers (non-financial) endorsement to workshops and activities related to language generation. This year we were pleased to support the ACL-IJCNLP'09 Workshop on Language Generation and Summarisation (UCNLG+Sum), the CogSci 2009 workshop on Production of Referring Expressions (PRE-CogSci 2009), the second Generation Challenges initiative, the second Challenge on Generating Instructions in Virtual Environments (GIVE-2), and the 3rd Workshop on Multimodal Output Generation (MOG 2010). It is encouraging to see all this activity in the field, and in particular the establishment of several series of workshops on NLG themes. However, the visibility of NLG in mainstream conferences remains rather low, and it would be of considerable value to the field to understand why this is, and attempt to rectify it.

The SIGGEN website has been well-maintained over the year, almost exclusively due to the efforts of our webmaster Christian Pietsch. Christian has also been instrumental in converting one of the key resources in the field - the Bateman/Zock List of NLG systems - into a user-maintainable wiki (at http://www.nlg-wiki.org/systems).

There have been no changes to the SIGGEN committee during the past year. However three committee members (Roger Evans, Mike White and Christian Pietsch) come to the end of their appointments on 31 December 2010. We will therefore be holding elections to these positions in September.

SIGGEN's financial position is healthy. There has been no change in our balance over the past year. However Graeme Hirst (ACL Treasurer) has advised us of an additional $3 due from INLG 2006, so our total balance is currently $3875. Maintaining a reserve is useful for underwriting risk in free-standing events. However, the board are currently considering more pro-active ways of using some of this money (subsidising attendance to the INLG conferences etc.), rather than just accruing an ever increasing balance.

Roger Evans, Cecile Paris, Christian Pietsch, Sebastian Varges, Mike White

SIGGEN board

21 June 2010