Announcement: North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad

Thomas E. Payne tpayne at UOREGON.EDU
Sat Feb 3 06:47:16 UTC 2007

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

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, Lingtyp 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. lsl at
Thomas E. Payne - Co-chair. tpayne at
Dragomir R. Radev - Program chair. radev at

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