Posts Tagged ‘North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad’

Registration is now open for the 2012 North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO).  This is a contest that appeals to many students who enjoy mathematical problem solving competitions.  As in past years, Dr. Vincent Ng will offer the contest at UT Dallas and will also provide a prep session before the contest.

Knowledge of specific languages is not being tested, but rather the ability of our students to detect patterns and solve problems.  Computational Linguistics and Natural Language processing are two exciting fields whose benefits we experience every day when we interact with Google search or Apple’s Siri.

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Many of us have been following the extraordinary events of last week as the IBM computer, Watson, defeated the two greatest human Jeopardy champions in three matches.  This milestone in artificial intelligence will go down in history along with Deep Blue’s defeat of Garry Kasparov in chess over a decade ago.

It took a decade to make the leap from dominating chess to a game like Jeopardy because of the challenges in understanding the ambiguity of human language.  The field focused on overcoming these challenges is called Natural Language Processing and it is an area of focus for UT Dallas and of several area companies.

Natural Language Processing in turn is closely related to Computational Linguistics.  Dr. Vincent Ng has presented to the Metroplex Math Circle before on Statistical Natural Language Processing and Computational Linguistics.  UT Dallas and Dr. Ng also host the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO) which is used to select the team that represents the US at the International Linguistics Olympiad.

The winners of these contests are often those who do well in math problem solving contests and attend programs like the Metroplex Math Circle.  So if you would like to be a part of the next exciting milestone in artificial intelligence, come to Metroplex Math Circle and learn the skills that will help you “serve our computer overlords.”  🙂


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Many of our circle members enjoy participating in the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad, NACLO.   Like the USAMO, this set of contests is used to select the team that will represent the US in the International Linguistics Olympiad, ILO.  This is not a test of how many languages you know, but rather your ability to problem solve and therefore many successful math problem solvers have made it onto the ILO team.

Once again Dr. Vincent Ng will be offering the NACLO at UT Dallas.  Please take advantage of this excellent opportunity to broaden your problem solving skills and potentially earn a highly regarded credential.  Here is information from the NACLO website:

This olympiad is a contest in which high-school students solve linguistic puzzles. In solving the problems, students learn about the diversity and consistency of language, while exercising logic skills. No prior knowledge of linguistics or second languages is necessary. Professionals in linguistics, computational linguistics and language technologies use dozens of languages to create engaging problems that represent cutting edge issues in their fields. The competition has attracted top students to study and work in those same fields. It is truly an opportunity for young people to experience a taste of natural-language processing in the 21st century.

Round 1: Wednesday, February 2 (2011)
Round 2: Thursday, March 10 (2011)



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