The natural language processing and computational linguistics sector has never been as dynamic and alive as it has been in the last few years. The buzz around AI has driven a significant increase in the amount of conferences and events dedicated to NLP. Whether you’re already working on NLP or related technologies, or if you’re new to the sector, how do you know which events are worth your time? In this post, I share my picks for the three natural language processing conferences that strike the right balance between academic and commercial that should be on your calendar for the 2016-2017 conference season.
Natural language processing conferences: the best
- The Annual Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (NAACL): Human Language Technologies. The annual conference always offers a broad set of topics and tries to avoid being a purely academic event. The focus on live demonstrations (there is usually a full track dedicated to this) is especially relevant for natural language processing professionals working in the enterprise. If you’e interested in looking at the future of NLP, this track of the NACL natural language processing conference is a must. The 2016 event will be held June 12-17 in San Diego.
- The Language Technology Industry Summit, organized by the Language Technology Industry Association. This event is particularly interesting because it brings together universities focused on advanced research in language technologies and industry, meaning companies that are engaged in marketing and selling natural language processing technology to enterprises and government organizations. The roster of speakers for this event is also very qualified and the combination of the two makes it a must attend natural language processing conference. The next event will be held in 2017.
- The annual meeting of the Association of Computational Linguists. The yearly event is particularly significant for the technology sector and this event represents an important recruitment opportunity. Theformat is very similar to that of the NAACL, including the emphasis on practical demonstration. Stay tuned for dates for the 2017 meeting.
In the last few years, the topics of natural language conferences have increasingly overlapped with those covered by Artificial Intelligence events. I think this a great step forward for the world of computational linguists as it progressively and continuously moves out of the research labs in universities and into the world of well-funded startups of giants like Facebook or Google. This process will continue over the next few years, and it will bring transformational innovation to interfaces, business process automation and information intelligence.