LINGUIST List 18.370

Fri Feb 02 2007

FYI: North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad

Editor for this issue: Maria Moreno-Rollins <>

Directory         1.    Thomas Payne, North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad

Message 1: North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad
Date: 02-Feb-2007
From: Thomas Payne <>
Subject: North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad

On 29 March, 2007, an academic competition in linguistics for secondary school students will be held in four US cities and the Internet. The program is called the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad ( Students throughout North America (defined as Canada, the USA and Mexico) are eligible to compete for prizes and a chance to participate in the International Linguistics Olympiad to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia, in August of 2007.

The host cities for the 2007 pilot program will be Boston (Brandeis University), Pittsburgh (Carnegie Mellon University), Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania) and Ithaca (Cornell University). The program has received funding from the US National Science Foundation, the Linguistics Society of America and several corporate sponsors.

The North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NAMCLO) is the direct descendent of the Olympiad in Linguistics and Mathematics founded in 1965 in Moscow, Russia. High school students compete by solving linguistics and logic problems based on natural languages. This program is credited with introducing thousands of Russian students to the field of linguistics, many of whom have gone on to become prominent professional linguists. Although the term ''computational'' is employed in the title of the new program, you will find that most of the problems are of the traditional type. This is not a competition that deals with computer technology, but with all aspects of natural language structure and function, including computational thinking as it relates to natural language processing.

Over the years, many problems have been created for the Russian Olympiad, various olympiads in other countries, and the International Linguistics Olympiad. These can often be adapted for use in introductory (or even advanced!) linguistics courses, and are being made available for use by professional linguists. However, each year fresh problems are needed to stimulate new generations of budding linguists. For that reason, we would like to ask you, Linguistlist subscribers, to consider submitting a problem in a language you know well. Guidelines for problem creation and a list of ideas for potential problems are available from the organizers mentioned below.

Thank you very much for your help in raising the profile of our discipline among secondary school students. Please contact any of the executive team members below if you have any questions or would like to be involved in some way, including possibly hosting a competition in your area next year and/or submitting a problem for future competitions.

Lori Levin - Co-chair.

Linguistic Field(s): Computational Linguistics General Linguistics