Dragomir Radev, co-founders recognized as NACLO receives Linguistics, Language and the Public Award
The North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO), an annual competition that identifies high school students with linguistic talent while simultaneously acquainting them with the field of computational linguistics, received the Linguistic Society of America‘s (LSA) 2011 Linguistics, Language and the Public Award. NACLO was co-founded by Assoc. Prof. Dragomir Radev, who is NACLO’s program chair and head coach.
The award is presented annually at the LSA conference to recognize people or organizations that have had a demonstrable impact on the public awareness of linguistics.
NACLO was founded in 2006 to raise awareness of computational linguistics amongst high school students as a field of study. Computational linguistics is an important element in search engines, voice-recognition systems, and computer translation systems.
More than a thousand students from across the United States and Canada competed in NACLO last year. Eight top students from the competition represented the United States last summer at the 8th International Olympiad in Linguistics in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2010, US team members claimed one gold, three silver, and two bronze medals in individual competition at the Olympiad, plus two honorable mentions, the most medals ever. In addition, the US Blue team ranked first in overall composite team score. 26 teams of high school linguists from 18 countries competed in the Olympiad.
The first round of the 2011 NACLO will be Feb. 2 at numerous sites across the country, including the University of Michigan. The registration deadline is Jan. 20, with late registration available as space permits through Feb. 1. Applicantscan register at the NACLO webssite.
In addition to Radev, the founders of NACLO include NACLO co-chair Lori Levin of Carnegie Mellon University; former co-chair Tom Payne of the University of Oregon; sponsorship chair James Pustejovsky of Brandeis University; and Tanya Korelsky of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Other key volunteers include coaches Adam Hesterberg, a Princeton University undergraduate; Patrick Littell, a Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia; and David Mortensen of the University of Pittsburgh. Amy Troyani of Pittsburgh Allderdice High School serves as school liaison and Mary Jo Bensasi of Carnegie Mellon is administrator.
NACLO is sponsored by the NSF, the North American chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics, the University of Michigan, CMU’s Language Technologies Institute and Gelfand Center for Community Outreach, and Brandeis University, among others.