Monthly Archives: August 2016

Name that Conference! (and a summary)

In our previous post, we hosted a discussion about a new conference for linguists and cognitive scientists on computational and mathematical modeling. In this post I’d like to solicit comments and suggestions about possible names for the conference. Before I lay out some existing suggestions for commentary, I’d like to summarize the overall plan and goals for the conference that emerged from that discussion:

Highest Priority Goals

1) We need to attract the core constituents to this conference, especially the first meeting. The core constituents are linguists/cognitive scientists who rely on computational/mathematical approaches and are concerned with questions about the human language faculty.
2) The conference should be accessible and affordable to linguists, including students. (to repeat from earlier, this rules out co-locating with ACL)
3) The conference should have quality, peer-reviewed paper submissions. I see this as an important move for the field of linguistics in general, not just this conference. This does not rule out the possibility discussed in the comments above of also having submissions of other kinds, such as presentation-only submissions which have possibly appeared elsewhere.
4) We want the meeting to be sustainable long-term, with room to become a 2-3 day ‘go-to’ event in linguistics/cognitive science.

High Priority Goals

5) Ideally, the conference would alternate US-Europe every other year rather than being solely a US conference to be inclusive of the international community.
6) Ideally, the conference would be a welcoming/accessible place to linguists who want to learn more about computational/mathematical approaches but don’t (yet) do that sort of work themselves. One way to do this would be to introduce a half-day of workshops or tutorials to initiate the conference. I’m not necessarily proposing this for our first meeting, but something to keep in mind for later.
7) Avoiding Balkanization. As we set up specialized conferences, we may contribute to the balkanization of our field (e.g. we may pull computational work out of AMP). To some extent this balkanization is an inevitable consequence of the specialization that is occurring as linguistics grows, but if we can avoid it, so much the better.
8) Increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in computational linguistics.

Overall Tentative/Consensus Plan
1) The first meeting is to be tentatively held at UMass in Fall 2017 in conjunction with a one-time workshop on computational modeling of language (invited speakers, pending funding, include Jacob Andreas, Emily Bender, Sam Bowman, Chris Dyer, Jason Eisner, Bob Frank, Matt Goldrick, Sharon Goldwater, and Paul Smolensky). The exact schedule is unknown at this point, but tentatively the new conference may be on a Friday or a Thursday-Friday, with the workshop probably Saturday-Sunday.
2) The second meeting is scheduled to be in Paris in Fall/Winter 2018, organized by Giorgio Magri.
3) We will have a general discussion of hosting options for subsequent meetings at the first meeting at UMass. One prominent possibility is holding the third meeting in conjunction with the LSA annual meeting in New Orleans in Jan. 2020.
4) The current plan is still to have paper submissions, possibly published with the ACL anthology (though stay tuned for another post to discuss this further).

Ok, so on to the candidate names! I think the current favorite in offline discussions among us is “Computational and Mathematical Modeling in Linguistics” with the acronym CAMML or CAMMIL or maybe even CAMMLing or CAMMILing. What do you think? I like that it is clearly about linguistics and that it is inclusive of both computational and mathematical approaches, and that it has a cute and pronounceable acronym. Earlier variants had “Linguistic Theory (LT)” or “Theoretical Linguistics (TL)” in them (like CLINT, CALT, CAMLT, or CATL, etc), there is also the option to add “meeting” (M) or “annual meeting” (AM) or “Society” (S) or “conference” (C) somewhere (yielding things like CALM, AMCTL, SCATL, etc). I’m sure there are many other possibilities, but I will leave off here with my favorite: CAMML (or is it CAMMLing).