Thursday, October 9, 2014

Natural Language and Computer Science (NLCS2) in Vienna

Some complain of too many tourists, too many "mozarts", too much gilding in Vienna. Personally I had a great time and enjoyed it very much.

It is true that it was difficult to see the talks you wanted in the Vienna Summer of Logic, as there were so many. It's true that in July the place is full of tourists and the many guys dressed as Mozart are a bit off putting, but we did have a great Workshop on Natural Language and Computer Science.

First it was fun that the phd student assigned by the central organization, Carol Blasio, to help out with machines, water, air conditioning, etc, happened to be a friend from Brazil. This was a good omen.

Then our workshop (organized by Larry Moss, Christian Retore' and myself) was full,  a few people decided not to come in, because there was no place to sit, or even stand. The discussions were good: I hate workshops where there are no questions and no dispute. The point of academic meetings is disagreeing, politely, so that everyone can improve their arguments. If there are no disagreements, then the organizers stood too much in their comfort zone and this was definitely not the case in our workshop.

We merged our workshop Second Workshop on Natural Language and Computer Science, which had many submissions, with the workshop on Natural Language Services for Reasoners.
This caused some problems with the program, as some people didn't realize that we had a full day of talks, assuming instead that there was a huge break, when the talks part of  NLSR were happening.
Even now, when trying to find a program of the workshop that shows what actually happened I have difficulties. Never mind, all's well that ends well.

I decided to write this post only now, as I was waiting for the technical report with the papers to be ready. Of course the technical report from the University of Coimbra (lovely place!) has been ready for a few weeks now, but other things intervened. Anyways before it gets too late I would like to thank Pedro Quaresma for producing the Technical Report and  my managers at Nuance for allowing me to organize meetings like this. (Shame we could not get all the papers that were presented into the volume ...)

This gives me an excuse to write another blog post with the program and some more comments later on.

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