Report from EACL 2012

13th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Day 1:

Workshop on Semantic Analysis in Social Media (SASN2012)

The first half of the day had some pretty interesting talks: on unsupervised part-of-speech tagging for social media, emotional stability on Twitter, speech act tagging for Twitter, topic classification for blogs. The second half was a bit less interesting (IMHO) as it focused more on tools/software, but note this one on predicting Dutch election results. (full workshop proceedings available online here)

Day 2:

Workshop on Computational Models of Language Acquisition and Loss

Mark Steedman’s keynote on CCG grammar induction from semantics was very interesting – there’s little information in the workshop abstract but see the related EACL conference paper. (full workshop proceedings available here).

Workshop on Unsupervised and Semi-Supervised Learning in NLP

Generally interesting for techniques, but mostly applied to standard text tasks (parsing, coreference resolution etc which I find it hard to get excited about). But one on child language acquisition. (full workshop proceedings available here).

Main Conference:

The keynote speeches were great: Martin Cooke on how to make speech more intelligible without necessarily making it louder; Regina Barzilay on using reinforcement learning to learn language/semantics directly from task success; Ray Mooney on learning language from context (although I missed that one to come back & give revision lectures …)

Some other highlights for me: Heriot-Watt’s demo of their most recent POMDP dialogue system; Postdam/Bielefeld’s experiments on improving NLU by using incremental pragmatic information; some nice stuff on unsupervised learning of semantic roles; and possibly the worst talk I have ever had the misfortune to sit through (I won’t link to it but it’s on paraphrase generation via machine translation, if you really want to find it. I’m sure the paper’s excellent).

Oh, and my & Stuart’s paper on Twitter emotion detection of course.

Full proceedings available here.