Dragomir Radev Coaches US Linguistics Team to Multiple Wins

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US Linguistics Olympiad team members and mentors. Front row: Wesley Jones (Germantown, TN), Chelsea Voss (San Jose, CA), Aaron Klein (Brookline, MA), Allen Yuan (Farmington Hills, MI), Duligur Ibeling (Maple Grove, MN). Middle row: Ophir Lifshitz (Rockville, MD), Rachel McEnroe (Jackson, NJ), Lori Levin (Carnegie Mellon University, Local Chair for IOL 2011, NACLO Chair), Caroline Ellison (Newton, MA), Morris Alper (Palo Alto, CA). Back row: Erik Andersen (Sunnyvale, CA), Arjun Srinivasan (Herndon, VA), Alexander Wade (Reno, NV), James Pustejovsky (Brandeis University, NACLO Board Member), Dragomir Radev (University of Michigan, IOL 2011 US Team Coach, NACLO Program Chair)

Dragomir Radev, Professor in Computer Science and Engineering, the School of Information, and in the Department of Linguistics in LS&A, has led US high school students in their best showing ever at the 9th International Linguistics Olympiad (IOL), which was held at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, in late July. It is the fifth year that Radev has coached the team.

This year’s US students did exceptionally well, winning a total of six individual medals – one gold (Morris Alper), four silver, and one bronze – as well as five honorable mentions and three awards for the best solution received for a single question. One US team, Team Red, won an additional two team awards, placing first in the team portion of the competition and having the highest combined score of its members on the individual round.

The IOL mimics the skills used by researchers and scholars in the field of computational linguistics, which is increasingly important for the United States and other countries. Using computational linguistics, experts can develop automated language technologies such as search engines and translation software that cut down on the time and training needed to work with other languages.

In the 2011 IOL, student competitors were challenged to solve problems about Faroese orthography, Menominee morphology, Vai syntax, Nahuatl semantics,the structure of the barcode language EAN-13, and Sanskrit poetry.

102 high school linguists on 27 teams from 19 countries competed in the 2011 IOL. US team members were selected from more than 1,100 students who competed in the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO) last winter. Radev, along with Lori Levin (Carnegie Mellon University), Tom Payne (University of Oregon), James Pustejovsky (Brandeis University), and Tanya Korelsky (National Science Foundation) founded NACLO.

This year’s US and Canadian teams as well as the entire North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad were sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the North American Chapter of the Association for Computation Linguistics (NAACL), Yahoo!, and the University of Michigan.


IOL press release (PDF): USA, Estonia and Russia win the gold medals at the International Olympiad in Linguistics
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Wikipedia: International Linguistic Olympiad

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