2011Q3 Reports: General Chair

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ACL 2011 General Chair Report

by Dekang Lin

I am happy to report that all of the activities of the organizing committee have wrapped up. The master copies of the Proceedings and the Handbook were sent to the publisher/printer on time. They are scheduled to arrive at the conference venue during the week before the conference. The proceedings will go live on ACL Anthology on June 13th.

I am very grateful for the hard work by all the committee chairs. Most of the details about conference organization efforts are found in their reports. I will discuss several matters that I was involved in.

Publication/ACLPUB

The April-May period was a particularly busy time for PC, Publication and Local chairs. There were many sequentially dependent deadlines in a short period of time, including best paper selection, conference schedule, compilation of the proceedings and the handbook.

As in previous years, the proceedings were put together using ACLPUB package. Some of the functionalities of ACLPUB were integrated into START. The software seems to be sufficiently adequate for the job. The main hurdle was the learning curve. The publication chair not only needed to master the package, but also to give advise to the workshop organizers. The effort spent on learning software package is largely not re-used. The hard-learned lessons are sometimes re-learned in the following years. A better alternative may be to shift some of the tasks of the publication chair to SoftConf.

Software/Dataset Attachments

One of the innovations by this year's PC co-chairs is to give the authors an option to attach software or datasets to their papers in the proceedings. This seems a wonderful idea and I hope that the practice will be continued in future years. One mistake that we almost made (but fortunately avoided) was to under-estimate the required capacity of the USB drive. One attachment turned out to be bigger than the total size of all the papers and the other attachments combined. By relying bzip2 instead of zip or gzip for some of the large attachments, we managed to fit everything on an 1GB USB drive, with uncomfortably small space to spare.

The ACLPUB package does not support these attachments and they were incorporated into proceedings manually. The ACL Executives need to think about mechanisms for updating the software/datasets on ACL Anthology.

Hardcopy Tutorial Notes

Since the tutorial notes are included in the USB drive, it could be argued either way whether to print the hard copies. Eventually, we decided to print the notes in case some tutorial registrants expect the hard copies. Tutorial Chairs recommendation is to have opt-in option for hardcopy notes on the registration form in future years.

Concurrent Meetings

One of the issues we encountered was that some groups requested holding meetings/workshops during the conference in the same hotel. We adopted the policy to accommodate smaller meetings (e.g., smaller than a typical workshop) and recommended larger ones to be held on adjacent dates to avoid conflict/competition with the conference.