13th annual workshop of
The Australasian Language Technology Association

University of Western Sydney, Parramatta

ALTA Keynote

Mark Johnson, Professor at Macquarie University


Computational linguistics is about 5 decades old (the Association for Computational Linguistics was formed in 1962), and in that time the field has undergone several "scientific revolutions". In this talk I'll briefly describe these, and use them to discuss the tension between science and engineering, and the relationship between computational linguistics and neighboring disciplines such as linguistics and psychology. Then I'll get out my crystal ball to make some guesses about what the next 50 years might hold for the field.


Mark Johnson is a Professor of Language Science (CORE) in the Department of Computing at Macquarie University. He was awarded a BSc (Hons) in 1979 from the University of Sydney, an MA in 1984 from the University of California, San Diego and a PhD in 1987 from Stanford University. He held a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT from 1987 until 1988, and has been a visiting researcher at the University of Stuttgart, the Xerox Research Centre in Grenoble, CSAIL at MIT and the Natural Language group at Microsoft Research. He has worked on a wide range of topics in computational linguistics, but his main research area is parsing and its applications to text and speech processing. He was President of the Association for Computational Linguistics in 2003, and was a professor from 1989 until 2009 in the Departments of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences and Computer Science at Brown University.

ADCS Keynote

Doug Oard, Professor at University of Maryland

Details are available at the ADCS website.

ALTA-ADCS Panel: NLP and IR in the Wild


NLP and IR have come a long way recently. AI is popular again, machine learning has entered the popular vocabulary, and search has become truly ubiquitous, with mobile search now outstripping desktop search. Seventeen year olds can sell summarisation companies for millions of dollars, there are multiple dedicated natural language generation companies, and our phones both listen and talk to us. Where do we go from here?

Tim Baldwin

Tim Baldwin is a Professor in the Department of Computing and Information Systems, The University of Melbourne, and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow. He has previously held visiting positions at Cambridge University, University of Washington, University of Tokyo, Saarland University, NTT Communication Science Laboratories, and National Institute of Informatics. His research interests include text mining of social media, computational lexical semantics, information extraction and web mining, with a particular interest in the interface between computational and theoretical linguistics.

Grace Chung

Grace Chung studied in the US as an Australian Fulbright scholar and holds a PhD and Masters in Electrical Engineering / Computer Science, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After graduating, she worked as a research scientist in Washington D.C. under Robert E. Kahn, widely known as one of the founders of the Internet. She joined Google in Sydney in 2008 and has lead a number of exciting projects in her roles as Technical Lead and, now, Software Engineering Manager.

Maria Milosavljevic

Maria Milosavljevic has more than 20 years of experience, holding senior roles across government, industry and academia with responsibility for delivering innovative solutions. She completed a PhD in Language Technology with a scholarship from Microsoft Research Institute. In her role at the Australian Crime Commission, Maria established advanced information exploitation systems and teams including a new analytics unit. She is currently National Manager of Innovation and Technology and Chief Information Officer at the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre.

Doug Oard

Doug Oard is a Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, with joint appointments in the College of Information Studies and the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies. Additionally, he has affiliate appointments in Computer Science and in Applied Mathematics. His research interests center around the design and evaluation of systems that integrate complementary technologies to support information seeking by end users, including speech retrieval, cross-language retrieval, document image retrieval, e-discovery, and knowledge-base population.

David Hawking

David Hawking is an Applied Researcher in the Bing (Microsoft) team in Canberra. From 2008 to 2013, David worked at Funnelback enterprise search as Chief Scientist. His research interests include distributed search techniques, retrieval through textual annotations, enterprise/intranet search, query suggestion, contextual search, personal search, and search efficiency. David holds an adjunct professorship in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the Australian National University where he continues to advise PhD and other research students.