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News

ALTA 2017-2018 Election

Following the latest election, we are pleased to announce the positions for the executive committee:

  • Stephen Wan (president), DATA61|CSIRO
  • Ben Hachey (secretary, outgoing President), Hugo.AI
  • Andrew MacKinlay (treasurer), IBM Research
  • Yitong Li (student representative), University of Sydney
  • Diego Molla (regular member), Macquarie University
  • Sarvnaz Karimi (regular member), DATA61|CSIRO
  • Trevor Cohn (regular member), University of Melbourne

ALTA 2016 Shared Task

The seventh ALTA shared task has concluded. Thank you to all participants, and congratulations to the winning team, EOF.

ALTA 2016 Workshop

The 2016 Australasian Language Technology Association Workshop (ALTA 2016) was held on the 5th - 7th of December at the Caulfield Campus of Monash University in Melbourne Australia, co-located with the Australasian Document Computing Symposium.

OzCLO's best ever results at ILO

OzCLO, the Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad, has had its best performance at International Linguistics Olympiad, Mysore, India!

Australia was represented by our Gold winning team from Melbourne Grammar and our Silver winning team from Baulkham Hill. Here are the final results:

  • Team Contest: Australia won silver.
  • Individual contest: 1 Gold (Max Zhang-MG), 1 Silver (Henry Wu-BH), an honorable mention (Tom Ryan - MG) and winner of best solutions for a problem (Max Zhang - MG).

Congratulations to all! For more details about OzCLO and IOL, visit:

ALTA 2015 Workshop

The 2015 Australasian Language Technology Association Workshop (ALTA 2015) was co-located with the 2nd Conference of the Australian Music and Psychology Society (AMPS 2015), the 20th Australasian Document Computing Symposium 2015 (ADCS 2015) and the 46th Australian Linguistic Society conference (ALS 2015). Please visit the Confluence site for more details on shared events.

ALTA 2015 Shared Task

The sixth ALTA shared task has concluded. Thank you to all participants, and congratulations to the winning team, LookForward.

OzCLO 2015 Competition Results

OzCLO, the Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad, has a winner for 2015! Here are the final results of the National competition:

  • 1st Senior: All Saints Anglican School (Queensland)
    Alastair Butcher, Nitin Niranjan, Amareesh Ravirajah, Matthew Jones
    (You can see an interview with the team here)

  • 2nd Senior: Shore School (New South Wales)
    Jamie Abel, Anthony Ma, Chuyi Wang, Ben Jefferson

  • 3rd Senior: Brisbane State High School (Queensland)
    Eloise Browne, Matthew Nguyen, Hannah Song, Elsa Zhu

  • 1st Junior: Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Armidale (New South Wales)
    Ragavi Jeyakumar, Brianna Robertson, Jessica Chambers, Georgina Hebblewhite

Congratulations to all! For more details about OzCLO, visit:

ALTA 2015-2016 Election

Following the latest election, we are pleased to announce the positions for the executive committee:

  • Ben Hachey (president), University of Sydney
  • Karin Verspoor (secretary, outgoing President), University of Melbourne
  • Andrew MacKinlay (treasurer), IBM Research
  • Kellie Webster (student representative), University of Sydney
  • Trevor Cohn (regular member), University of Melbourne
  • Sarvnaz Karimi (regular member), CSIRO
  • Diego Molla (regular member), Macquarie University

ALTA 2014 Shared Task

The fifth ALTA shared task has concluded. Thank you to all participants, and congratulations to the winner team, MQ.

ALTA 2014 Workshop

The 2014 Australasian Language Technology Association Workshop (ALTA 2014) was held at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia on 26-28 November. ALTA 2014 was held in conjuction with the 19th Australasian Document Computing Symposium 2014 (ADCS 2014).

OzCLO 2014 Competition Results

OzCLO, the Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad, has a winner for 2014! The following OzCLO teams participated in the International Linguistics Olympiad (ILO) at Beijing:

PlaceTeamRegionParticipants
1st place at OzCLO Shore School NSW Anthony Ma, Chuyi Wang, Jamie Abel, Nathan Richards
2nd place at OzCLO The University High School VIC Vikram Sondergaard, Tracy Castro, Carmel O'Hair

Congratulations to all! For more details about OzCLO, visit:


ALTA 2013 Workshop

[9/12/2013]

The 2013 Australasian Language Technology Association Workshop (ALTA 2013) was held at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane. ALTA 2013 was held in conjuction with the 18th Australasian Document Computing Symposium 2013 (ADCS 2013).

ALTA 2013 Shared Task

[29/7/2013]

The fourth ALTA shared task concluded with a strong participation of 50 teams. Thank you to all participants, and congratulations to the winner team, NLP PhD.

OzCLO 2013 Competition Results

[23/4/2013]

OzCLO, the Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad, has a winner for 2013! The final results are:

PlaceTeamRegionParticipants
1st place Qld Academy for Science Mathematics and Technology (Team #312) Queensland Alexandra Grant, Laura Boyle, Martyna Judd, and Rebecca Day
2nd place Murdoch College (Team #143) Western Australia Calvin Rokich, Caleb Thomas, Tomoki Ward, and Lewis Tolonen
3rd place Sydney Grammar School (Team #28) New South Wales Richard Howe, Edwin Ho, Grant Kynaston, and Asanka Wijetunga
Top Junior (equal) All Saints Anglican School (Team #243) Queensland Alastair Butcher, Nitin Niranjan, Ama Ravirajah, and Matthew Jones
Canberra Grammar School (Team #218) Queensland Brendan Falk, Kevin Jacob, Stephen Melhuish, and Benjamin Mynott

Congratulations to all! For more details about OzCLO, visit ozclo.org.au.

ALTA 2012 Proceedings now available from the ACL Anthology

11/4/2013

The ALTA 2012 Proceedings are now available from the ACL Anthology.

The ACL Anthology now holds a complete collection of ALTA proceedings from 2003 to 2012 inclusive.

ALTA 2012 Workshop in Dunedin

14/9/2012

The 2012 Australasian Language Technology Workshop (ALTA) was held at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand on Tuesday 4 December to Thursday 6 December 2012.

The ALTA Workshop was held in conjunction with the Seventeenth Australasian Document Computing Symposium 2012 (ADCS 2012).

Take Part in the Second Language Technology Programming Competition

[1st July 2011]

The Australasian Language Technology Association is organising a programming competition for university undergraduate and Masters students.

Following on the success of last year's competition, the Language Technology Programming Competition is formatted as a "shared task": all participants compete to salve the same problem. The problem highlights an active area of research and programming in the area of language technology. You can easily obtain reasonable results with little effort yet nobody has managed to obtain 100% correct results so far.

The winner to the competition will be invited to the workshop of the Australasian Language Technology Association (ALTA 2011) at Canberra on 1-2 December.

The key dates are:

  • Right Now - Registration and release of training and development data
  • 4 Oct 2011 - Release of test data
  • 7 Oct 2011 - Deadline of submission of results
  • 12 Oct 2011 - Notification of results
  • 28 Oct 2011 - Deadline of submission of system description poster
  • 1-2 Dec 2011 - ALTA workshop at Canberra

Details of the task and registration are available at (the competition website).

ALTA 2010 A Great Success

[7th February 2011]

ALTA 2010 is now (well and truly) over and was a roaring success! We had more than 60 people register for the workshop, and all sessions were very well attended. Two successful new activities at ALTA 2010 were the shared programming task, and the industry workshop. Based on the very positive feedback, we hope to build upon these activities at future ALTA events.

Two papers were jointly awarded the best paper award:

Congratulations to Shunichi, Jette and Robert.

Attendees had lots of feedback and suggested some great ideas for the ALTA Exec to follow-up on in 2011. If you have any suggestions or feedback on what ALTA can do to advance language technology in Australasia, don't hesitate to email Andrew Lampert (secretary@alta.asn.au).

Language Technology Programming Competition

[16th September 2010]

Macquarie University and ALTA are organising a programming competition for university undergraduate and Masters students.


Support ALTA to regain its ERA Conference ranking

[25th August 2010]

You may be aware that, in a last minute decision at the beginning of 2010 the ARC decided to drop all conferences with FOR code 0807 from the ERA rankings. Our understanding is that this was a request from ALIA (Australia Library and Information Association), on the grounds that library researchers do not use conferences as their research input. This was unfortunate for ALTA, ADCS and other conferences who happened to fall under the 0807 code but which are not primarily attended by librarians. We (ALTA and ADCS) have informally asked people who were involved in the ERA rankings to consider restoring the two conferences to their original B ranking. We have received no positive response other than the name of a contact person, Andrew Calder, to whom we could approach. We are going to send this letter and we urge all ALTA members to post the same letter or one with similar contents. We think that it will be most effective if the letters are posted on paper, rather than electronically.

Feel free to adapt the text to your particular case, but by all means please post a request to restore the ERA level B to ALTA. If you do send a letter, tell me by email so that I can keep track of petitioners.

ALTA on Twitter

[29 June 2010]

ALTA has joined the Twitterverse, and will now be posting news updates to Twitter. Follow @altanlp on Twitter to keep abreast of local LT and NLP news. We'll be using the RSS feed from the ALTA Twitter page as our News RSS feed from now, so if you fol low our RSS feed, please update your feed reader.


ALTA Proceedings now in the ACL Anthology

[27 April 2010]

ALTA is pleased to announce that all papers from past ALTA workshops are being uploaded to the ACL Anthology.

Currently all papers since 2005 are available in the Anthology; the rest will soon be uploaded. We will continue uploading the papers of future workshops.

ALTA would like to thank Pawel Mazur (ALTA) and Min-Yen Kan (ACL) for their work on the preparation and upload of the past papers.


OzCLO 2010 Report

[15 April 2010]

On 21 March, the National Round of OZCLO was held simultaneously in Adelaide, Armidale, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. In the National Round, the winning teams from each State Round competed to solve problems on Etruscan dice, Quechua counting systems, possession in a language of Vanuatu, and other problems. Competitors ranged from year 9 to year 12, and came from both state and private schools. The competition was a huge success and a lot of fun for all involved.

The winners of the National Round of OzCLO 2010 are:

First Prize: Victoria: PLC (Senior team ) Samantha Hauptman, Michelle Jayasuriya, Carmen Wu, Sally Yu

Second Prize: New South Wales: James Ruse Agricultural High School (Senior team) Gerald Mak, Evan Tran, Richard Yuen, Andrew Wang

Third Prize and Top Junior Team: Western Australia: St Mary's Anglican Girls School (Junior team) Rikki Thorne, Lucy Wu, Sasha Newman, Julia Liu


ALTA 2009

[10 December 2009]

This year, the Australasian Language Technology Workshop (ALTA) was held as part of the HCSNet Summerfest 2009 at the University of New South Wales in Sydney on Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th of December 2009. This event was the seventh annual installment of the ALTA Workshop in its most-recent incarnation, and the continuation of an annual workshop series that has existed under various guises since the early 90s.


ALTA Brochure Available

[8 September 2009]

We have created a foldable brochure about ALTA. Please feel free to download, print and distribute it.


OzCLO 2009 Report

[5 October 2009]

The 2009 OzCLO report is available for download.


CFP for ALTA 2009 Released

[23 June 2009]

The Call for Papers for Australasian Language Technology Workshop (ALTA) 2009 has been released. This year, ALTA will be held as part of the HCSNet Summerfest 2009 at the University of New South Wales in Sydney on Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th of December 2009. This event will be the seventh annual installment of the ALTA Workshop in its most-recent incarnation, and the continuation of an annual workshop series that has existed under various guises since the early 90s.


ALTA Now More Social

[7 April 2009]

We have created the following ALTA groups:

We hope you find them useful for networking.


ALTA 2008

[22 January 2009] The ALTA workshop, ALTA 2008, took place at Hobart in December 8 to 10, in conjunction with the Australasian Document Computing Symposium (ADCS).

We would like to congratulate the winners of the best paper and best presentation awards:

Best paper award
Susan Howlet and James Curran: "Automatic Acquisition of Training Data for Statistical Parsers"
Best presentation award
Tara McIntosh and James R Curran: "Weighted Mutual Exclusion Bootstrapping for Domain Independent Lexicon and Template Acquisition"

We would also like to thank all the authors who submitted papers, the members of the program committee for the time and effort they contributed in reviewing the papers; Rosie Jones (Yahoo!) for joining us as Keynote Speaker, as well as ADCS for their joint support of the conference and keynotes. Our thanks also go to local organizers Dipak Bhandari and Shlomo Berkovsky (CSIRO), to webmasters Darius Pfitzner and Richard Leibbrandt (Flinders University) for their logistical support, to members of the ALTA executive for their assistance in organizing the workshop, and to our sponsors (NICTA and CSIRO) who enabled us in particular to support student participation and accommodation, as well as free registration for all early registrants.


New ALTA Executive Committee

[12 January 2009]

The election has now concluded, and we are pleased to announce the following positions:

Candidate          Position                Affiliation
-------------------------------------------------------------
 Diego Molla       President               Macquarie University
 Andrew Lampert    Secretary               CSIRO / Macquarie Uni
 Dominique Estival Regular Member          University of Sydney
 David Martinez    Regular Member          NICTA Victoria Research Lab
 Pawel Mazur       Student Representative  Macquarie University
 Rolf Schwitter    Outgoing President      Macquarie University
--------------------------------------------------------------

We sincerely thank Cecile for the huge contribution she has made during her 6 years as a member of the ALTA executive, including 2 years as President.

Like Cecile, Lawrence Cavedon will be stepping down from the committee. We'd like to thank him for his significant contribution to ALTA during his time on the executive committee.

In addition to Dominique and David, we welcome back long-serving Diego Molla as our new president, Rolf Schwitter as past president, Andrew Lampert as secretary, and we welcome Pawel Mazur as our new student representative.

As always, we invite suggestions and ideas from all our members about the future of ALTA.


OzCLO 2008

[18 August 2008] The National Round of the Inaugural Computational and Linguistics Olympiad (OzCLO) was held at the Universities of Melbourne and Sydney on Wednesday 6th August. The winning teams from the State rounds in both states competed to solve problems in Icelandic agreement, finite state automata, Mayan hieroglyphs, Manam Pile directionals, and spectrograms of English. Competitors ranged from year 10 to year 12, and came from both state and private schools.

Thanks to HCSNet we were able to run this event at all. Thanks to ALS we had food and drinks for the competitors. Thanks to Appen, the Macquarie Dictionary and Franklin Electronic Publishers we have as prizes books and hand-held electronic Macquarie Schools Dictionaries (which include material from the Macquarie Dictionary of Aboriginal languages)

The results are now available on the OzCLO website

It was such fun, and the students seemed so pleased and excited by problem solving, that we plan to run the Olympiad again next year. We'd like to hold the event earlier than June/August, and this time to make it truly nation-wide, covering all states. But this requires a lot of lead time - letting the schools know, getting them to do training sessions, and so on. We plan to put out soon a call for expressions of interest in being involved in the 2009 Computational and Linguistics Olympiad. In the meantime feel free to join the OzCLO GoogleGroup for running it. Or else talk to one of us:


OzCLO 2008

[13 June 2008] The Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad (OzCLO) is a linguistics competition aimed at high school students of all ages. The state rounds will be held at University of Sydney and Macquarie University in Sydney, and University of Melbourne in Melbourne on the afternoon of June 25th 2008, with the national round to be held (in each location) on August 6th 2008. OzCLO will consist of teams of up to three students.


ALTA 2007

[10 January 2008] The ALTA workshop, ALTA 2007, took place at the Melbourne Zoo in December 10 and 11, in conjunction with the Australasian Document Computing Symposium (ADCS).


Regional Research Groups

[1 August 2007]

We have added a new section in the resources section where we plan to add all the research groups in Australia and New Zealand. If you know of a research group that is not listed there or if the link is broken, please send an email to the ALTA secretary with the details.


New Calendar of Events

[1 August 2006] We have created a public calendar of Australasian events in the area of Language Technology. The calendar is a Google calendar, and it can be viewed as a Google calendar or as an iCalendar. Additionally, it can be viewed as an RSS feed. For a listing of all upcoming events, you can also see the Resources page. Note that the old RSS link is no longer supported. RSS version iCal version HTML version

To add an event send an email to Diego Molla or Andrew Lampert with specific details and a Web link to more detailed information.


Top Conferences in Computational Linguistics and Language Technology hosted in Australia

[16 November 2005] In July 2006, the two top conferences in the areas of computational linguistics and language technology, COLING and ACL, will be combined in one single event to happen in the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. This is only the third time in their 40+ year histories that these two international conferences have been combined.

The combined conference will be held in Sydney, Australia, from 17th-21st July 2006, with tutorials on July 16, workshops on July 22-23, and co-located events on July 15-16 and July 22-23.

A Search Engine that Answers Questions

[CRI Online, 10 October 2005] Australian scientist Hong Liang Qiao successfully developed Lexxe, a search engine that returns the answer to the user's question. For example, if one enters the question "Who assassinated President Lincoln?", one will immediately get the answer "John Wilkes Booth".

Read the full story.

News and Events Available in RSS Feeds

[8 February 2005] We have incorporated two RSS feeds to the ALTA website:

  • ALTA Topnews ALTA News with news related to ALTA and related events plus media references to language technology in Australia and New Zealand. The contents is basically the same as the "News" section of the front page.
  • ALTA Events ALT Events with a list of upcoming events in the area of language technology in Australia and New Zealand, including conferences, workshops, seminars, and public lectures. The contents is basically the same as the "Events" section of the "Resources" link.

You are welcome to contribute with news published in the media and events announcements by sending an email to Diego with a summary and a link to more detailed information. If the traffic of information becomes heavy enough we will produce a web form to submit news or events.

If you are new to RSS feeds, in short RSS feeds are XML listings of information that can be gathered by third-party programs or online services like bloglines and presented to the user. If you want to know more, see the Wikipedia entries to RSS and news aggregators.

HCSNet Started

[31 January 2005] Jan. 27 marked the official launch of the Human Communication Science Network (HCSNet), an initiative led by Australia's University of Western Sydney and Macquarie University. HCSNet promotes interdisciplinary research in speech, language, and sonics. The network aims to build Australia's reputation as a leader in communication science and technology via advances in areas as diverse as automatic speech recognition, distress call monitoring, hearing prostheses, web interfaces, and data retrieval and data mining systems.

New ALTA Executive Committee

[2 December 2004] The new executive committee has been elected:

Cécile Paris (president)
CSIRO ICT Centre
Diego Mollá (secretary)
Macquarie University
Patrick Ye (student representative)
Melbourne University
Steven Bird
Melbourne University
James Curran
University of Sydney
Dominique Estival
DSTO
Andrew Lampert
CSIRO ICT Centre

The new committee will be effective from January 2005 to December 2006.

ALTSS and ALTW 2004

[18 June 2004] The Australasian Language Technology Summer School and the Australasian Language Technology Workshop occurred in Macquarie University during December 2004. Thank you to all organisers and participants. The event was co-located with SST 2004.

Speech Groups Form Industry Body

[NEWS.com.au, 28 October 2004] Vendors and customers of speech recognition technology will band together in a new industry group that will have its inaugural meeting in February.

Members of the new Speech industry Council will include the Australian Taxation Office, Centrelink, Telstra and Vodafone. On the service provider and vendor side, Dimension Data, Information Technologies Australia, VeCommerce and ScanSoft will be represented.

Read the full story.

Virtual Twin Always Happy to Chat

[Sydney Morning Herald, 3 August 2004] University of Wollongong accountancy lecturer George Mickhail is now available to students anytime and anywhere--as a Web-based version of himself driven by artificial intelligence. Virtual George, as the program is called, started life in 2003 as a text interface, but has evolved into a program that can carry on conversations with users by employing a database of linguistic terms. Its behavior and interaction with students was refined through the study of real chat sessions and their outcomes, and the real George Mickhail says the program is so successful that students thank him for assisting them even though it was Virtual George who actually helped them.

[excerpt from ACM TechNews]

Read the full story.

ALTSS and ALTW Proceedings and Updates

[29 April 2004] The proceedings of the Australasian Language Technology Summer School are now available from these webpages. To purchase a paperback version or a CD with the proceedings please contact Cathy Bow cbow@unimelb.edu.au Tel: (03)8344 1323.

Asia Federation of Natural Language Processing (AFNLP)

[7 November 2003] The newly formed Asia Federation of Natural Language Processing (AFNLP) is organising the 1st International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (IJC-NLP-04) on Hainan Island, China, on March 22-24, 2004. The conference is the first in its series and is to celebrate the inauguration of the AFNLP. The conference is organised by the AFNLP in co-operation with the member associations and the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL).

Multimedia support for use and preservation of Indigenous languages

[DCITA, 27 August 2003] The Australian Government will fund an innovative multimedia initiative to support remote Indigenous communities in the use and preservation of their languages.

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, said the Government will invest $400,000 in the development of multimedia language education resources that will contribute to the preservation and use of five Indigenous languages across Australia.

Read the full story.

Meet the PDA That Can Hold a Conversation

[Sydney Morning Herald, 10 July 2003] University of New South Wales researchers Dr. Mohammed Waleed Kadous and Professor Claude Sammut have developed a prototype personal digital assistant (PDA) that features virtual agents--a male agent named Joshua and a female agent named Amanda--that can schedule appointments, check the weather, read email, and perform other functions via natural language technology called Internet conversation agent (inCA). The voice of the PDA agents can be switched from a robotic monotone to an Australian accent.

Read the full story.

ALTSS and ALTW

[30 May 2003] We are organising the Australasian Language Technology Summer School and the Australasian Language Technology Workshop in Melbourne during December 2003.

ALTA Website

[17 March 2003] The ALTA website is new and we welcome your feedback. Is there any information you would like to see here? Please send feedback to diego.molla-aliod@mq.edu.au.

ALTA Founded

[1 January 2003] ALTA, the Australasian Language Technology Association, was founded at the 5th Australasian Natural Language Processing Workshop, in Canberra, December 2002. The ALTA Constitution was approved, and the first executive committee was elected in January 2003.

 

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