[Corpora-List] ALTA 2018 Second Call for Papers

Xiuzhen Jenny Zhang xiuzhen.zhang at rmit.edu.au
Tue Sep 25 13:19:28 CEST 2018


The 16th Annual Workshop of the Australian Language Technology Association will be held on 10th to 12th of December at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, co-located with the Australian Document Computing Symposium 2018.

The ALTA 2018 workshop is the key local forum for socialising research results in natural language processing and computational linguistics, with presentations and posters from student, industry, and academic researchers. This year, we would also like to encourage submissions and participation from industry and government department researchers and developers.

For this year's workshop, we are planning to feature invited keynote speakers and a shared task that encourages promising students to get involved in language technology research.

ALTA 2018 website: http://alta2018.alta.asn.au

#Key Dates

Submission Deadline: 15th October, 2018 Author Notification: 9th November, 2018 Camera-Ready Deadline: 16th November, 2018 Registration closes 16th November Tutorials: 10th December, 2018 Main Conference: 11th-12th December, 2018

# Invited keynote talks

We are pleased to announce our invited keynote talks for ALTA 2018:

Topic: Learning to talk like a baby A/Prof. Alistair Knott, University of Otago / Soul Machines

Abstract: In recent years, computational linguists have embraced neural network models, and the vector-based representations of words and meanings they use. But while computational linguists have readily adopted the machinery of neural network models, they have been slower to embrace the original aim of neural network research, which was to understand how brains work. A large community of neural network researchers continues to pursue this ‘cognitive modelling’ aim, with very interesting results. But the work of these more cognitively minded modellers has not yet percolated deeply into computational linguistics.

In my talk, I will argue the cognitive modelling tradition of neural networks has much to offer computational linguistics. I will outline a research programme that situates language modelling in a broader cognitive context. The programme is distinctive in two ways. Firstly, the initial object of study is a baby, rather than an adult. Computational linguistics models typically aim to reproduce adult linguistic competence in a single training process, that presents an ‘empty’ network with a corpus of mature language. I’ll argue that this training process doesn’t correspond to anything in human experience, and that we should instead aim to model a more gradual developmental process, that first achieves babylike language, then childlike language, and so on. Secondly, the new programme studies the baby's language system as it interfaces with her other cognitive systems, rather than by itself. It pays particular attention to the sensory and motor systems through which a baby engages with the physical world, which are the primary means by which it activates semantic representations. I’ll argue that the structure of these sensorimotor systems, as expressed in neural network models, offer interesting insights about certain aspects of linguistic structure. I will conclude by demoing a model of the interface between language and the sensorimotor system, as it operates in a baby at an early stage of language learning.

Speaker bio: Alistair Knott is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science department at the University of Otago. He studied Psychology and Philosophy at Oxford University, then took a MSc and PhD in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh. His PhD research was on theories of discourse structure, focussing on how coherence relations are signalled by sentence and clause connectives. His postdoc work was in text generation, on Edinburgh University’s ILEX project, which developed one of the first text generators to be deployed on the web. After moving to New Zealand, Ali developed an interest in dialogue models, building a mixed-initiative multi-speaker dialogue system that combined HPSG and Discourse Representation Theory. Aside from these topics, Ali's main research interest for the last 20 years has been in models of how language is implemented in the brain. His focus is on models of the interface between language and the sensorimotor system, that address how it is we can talk about the things we see and do. In 2012 he published a programmatic model of this interface (‘Sensorimotor Cognition and Natural Language Syntax’, MIT Press). This model proposes that certain elements of syntactic structure have their origin in the structure of the sensorimotor routines involved in perceiving events in the world, and in the structure of the circuits which store these events in working memory. In 2017, Ali began working on a commercial contract with the Auckland-based AI startup Soul Machines. This company creates biologically realistic avatars that can engage in dialogues with human users. There is an emphasis on modelling dialogue agents’ physical bodies and sensory systems, and how these interface with actual brain mechanisms.. which makes it an ideal environment for Ali. Ali also works on the ethical and social implications of AI. In January 2016 co-founded the AI and Society discussion group at Otago University. This year he co-founded Otago’s Centre for AI and Public Policy, which is actively engaging with the New Zealand government to provide oversight of the predictive analytics tools used by government departments.

Topic: ‘Where am I, and what am I doing here? Extracting geographic information from natural language text.’ Dr Kristin Stock, Massey University

Abstract: The extraction of place names (toponyms) from natural language text has received a lot of attention in recent years, but location is frequently described in more complex ways, often using other objects as reference points. Examples include: ‘The accident occurred opposite the Orewa Post Office, near the pedestrian crossing’ or ‘the sample was collected on the west bank of the Waikato River, about 3km upstream from Huntly’. These expressions can be vague, imprecise, underspecified, rely on access to information about other objects in the environment, and the semantics of spatial relations like ‘opposite’ and ‘on’ are still far from clear. Furthermore, many of these kinds of expressions are context sensitive, and aspects such as scale, geometry and type of geographic feature may influence the way the expression is understood. Both machine learning and rule-based approaches have been developed to try to firstly parse expressions of this kind, and secondly to determine the geographic location that the expression refers to. Several relevant projects will be discussed, including the development of a semantic rather than syntactic approach to parsing geographic location descriptions; the creation of a manually annotated training set of geographic language; the challenges highlighted from human descriptions of location in the emergency services context; the interpretation and geocoding of descriptions of flora and fauna specimen collections; the development of models of spatial relations using social media data and the use of instance-based learning to interpret complex location descriptions.

Speaker bio: Dr Kristin Stock is Director of the Massey Geoinformatics Collaboratory, and a Senior Lecturer in Information Technology. She has 25 years’ experience in geospatial information management in the private, public and University sectors, has led a number of large international geospatial projects in Europe, Australia and New Zealand and played a key role in Europe-wide data sharing projects such as INSPIRE and EuroGEOSS. Her research focuses on geospatial natural language in collaboration with researchers in the Europe and Australia, most specifically on the development of methods for the extracting location information from text in order to map objects and events that cannot otherwise be located. Dr Stock was recently AI on a $2.74m MBIE Research Programme grant to develop a Maori land classification system, as well as receiving grants from MBIE (Our Land and Water National Science Challenge), the European Union FP7 programme and numerous industry-funders.

# Tutorial

We are very pleased to announce the following tutorial:

Topic: Towards Collaborative Dialogue Dr. Phil Cohen Professor and Director, Laboratory for Dialogue Research Faculty of Information Technology, Monash University

Abstract: This tutorial will discuss a program of research for building collaborative dialogue systems, which are a core part of virtual assistants. I will briefly discuss the strengths and limitations of current approaches to dialogue, including neural network-based and slot-filling approaches, but then concentrate on approaches that treat conversation as planned collaborative behaviour. Collaborative interaction involves recognizing someone’s goals, intentions, and plans, and then performing actions to facilitate them. People have learned this basic capability at a very young age and are expected to be helpful as part of ordinary social interaction. In general, people’s plans involve both speech acts (such as requests, questions, confirmations, etc.) and physical acts. When collaborative behavior is applied to speech acts, people infer the reasons behind their interlocutor’s utterances and attempt to ensure their success. Such reasoning is apparent when an information agent answers the question “Do you know where the Sydney flight leaves?” with “Yes, Gate 8, and it’s running 20 minutes late.” It is also apparent when one asks “where is the nearest petrol station?” and the interlocutor answers “2 kilometers to your right” even though it isn’t the closest, but rather the closest one that is open. In this latter case, the respondent has inferred that you want to buy petrol, not just to know the location of the station. In both cases, the literal and truthful answer is not cooperative.

In order to build systems that collaborate with humans or other artificial agents, a system needs components for planning, plan recognition, and for reasoning about agents’ mental states (beliefs, desires, goals, intentions, obligations, etc.). In this tutorial, I will discuss current theory and practice of such collaborative belief-desire-intention architectures, and demonstrate how they can form the basis for an advanced collaborative dialogue manager. In such an approach, systems reason about what they plan to say, and why the user said what s/he did. Because there is a plan standing behind the system’s utterances, it is able to explain its reasoning. Finally, we will discuss potential methods for incorporating such a plan-based approach with machine-learned approaches.

Speaker bio: Dr. Phil Cohen has long been engaged in the AI subfields of human-computer dialogue, multimodal interaction, and multiagent systems. He is a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, and a past President of the Association for Computational Linguistics. Currently, he directs the Laboratory for Dialogue Research at Monash University.

Formerly Chief Scientist, AI and Sr. Vice President for Advanced Technology at Voicebox Technologies, he has also held positions at Adapx Inc (founder), the Oregon Graduate Institute (Professor), the Artificial Intelligence Center of SRI International (Sr. Research Scientist and Program Director, Natural Language Program), Fairchild Laboratory for Artificial Intelligence, and Bolt Bernanek and Newman. His accomplishments include co-developing influential theories of intention, collaboration, and speech acts, co-developing and deploying high-performance multimodal systems to the US Government, and conceiving and leading the project at SRI International that developed the Open Agent Architecture, which eventually became Siri. Cohen has published more than 150 refereed

# Submissions

We invite submissions of two different formats: (1) Original Research Papers and (2) Abstract-based Presentations

Submissions are accepted on EasyChair via the following link: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=alta2018 Once login to Easychair, select the Author role, and then select the "research papers" track or "Presentation abstracts" track for submission. Submission closes at 23:59pm GMT time on 15th October 2018.

## Original Research Papers

We invite the submission of papers on original and unpublished research on all aspects of natural language processing.

Long papers should be 6-8 pages. Accepted long papers will have a 15 minute slot for oral presentation plus 5 minutes for questions and discussion. Short papers should be 3-4 pages. Accepted short papers will have a poster presentation plus a short approximately 5 minute talk to advertise the poster. Both formats may include up to 2 pages of references in addition to these page count requirements.

Note that the review process is double-blind, and accordingly submitted papers should not include the identity of author(s) and the text should be suitably anonymised, e.g., using third person wording for self-citations, not providing URLs to your personal website, etc.

Original research papers will be included in the workshop proceedings, which will be published online in the ACL anthology and the ALTA website. Long papers will be distinguished from short papers in the proceedings.

## Abstract-based Presentations

To encourage broader participation and facilitate local socialisation of international results, we invite 1-2 page presentation abstracts. Submissions should include presentation title and abstract, name of the presenter, any publications relating to the work, and any information on existing or planned collaboration (e.g. visits or joint publications) with the local ALTA community. Abstracts will not be published in the proceedings, but simply reviewed by the ALTA executive committee to ensure that they are on topic, coherent and likely to be of interest to the ALTA community. Abstracts on work in progress and work published or submitted elsewhere are encouraged. ALTA invites submissions of all manner interesting research, not limited to, but including:

- established academics giving an overview of an exciting paper or paper/s published in international venues; - completing research students giving an overview of their thesis work; - early candidature research students presenting their work-in-progress and ideas, which may not have been published; and - industry presenting research and development over linguistic data in the context of their business.

# Topics ALTA invites the submission of papers and presentations on all aspects of natural language processing, including, but not limited to:

- phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and discourse; - speech understanding and generation; - interpreting spoken and written language; - natural language generation; - linguistic, mathematical, and psychological models of language; - NLP-based information extraction and retrieval; - corpus-based and statistical language modelling; - machine translation and translation aids; - question answering and information extraction; - natural language interfaces and dialogue systems; - natural language and multimodal systems; - message and narrative understanding systems; - evaluations of language systems; - embodied conversational agents; - computational lexicography; - summarisation; - language resources; - topic modelling and unsupervised language analysis; - social media analysis and processing; - domain-specific adaptation of natural language processing algorithms; and - applied natural language processing and/or applications in industry.

We particularly encourage submissions that broaden the scope of our community through the consideration of practical applications of language technology and through multi-disciplinary research. We also specifically encourage submissions from industry.

#Multiple Submission Policy

Original research papers that are under review for other publication venues or that you intend to submit elsewhere may be submitted in parallel to ALTA. We request that you declare at submission that your paper is submitted to another venue, and identify the venue. Should your paper be accepted to both ALTA and another venue, we allow you to decide whether the paper should be published in the ALTA proceedings, or if it should be treated as a Presentation (without archival publication). In this case you would still be able to present a research talk at the ALTA workshop. This is to encourage more internationally leading research to be presented at the workshop.

# Student Funding As in previous years, ALTA will provide student travel support to attend the workshop. For more information, please see the ALTA Workshop website.


Workshop Co-chairs Xiuzhen(Jenny) Zhang, RMIT University Mac Kim, CSIRO Data61

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