It has been quite some time since people working in NLP/CL in Switzerland have met. I think we should resume our tradtion of meeting roughly once a year or so to discuss common interests and problems. As present chairman of the Special Interest Group for NLP of SGAICO I tought it to be my duty to take steps in this direction. I think, however, that attendance at the workshop should not be limited to members of SGAICO but I hope that everybody with any interest in NLP/CL will try to join us.
It is very likely that a number of decisions concerning research policy in Switzerland affecting our community very directly will be taken in the forseeable future. An initiative is already under way to chart our strategy in one concrete respect (successor programmes to the SSP programmes) but I think we should also try to position our discipline in a wider context to assure its growth.
The main focus of this year's workshop will therefore be an attempt to delineate the external and internal forces that will determine the devlopment of our field in the forseeable future. We have invited two speakers (deliberately from outside our own small community) who are qualified to give us their view on, first, the research policy of Switzerland and the European Union with particular reference to NLP/CL and, second, on the probable ``growth zones'' of CL.
The first speaker, Dipl.-Ing. ETH Grégoire Bagnoud is at the ``KBF'' in Zurich (Office de coordination des participations Suisses aux projets de recherche internationaux). He will give us an overview of the various funding agencies in Switzerland supporting scientific research, with particular emphasis on those institutions that are relevant for research in NLP (incl. the different modalities of financing research projects, with concrete examples). He will then outline the position of NLP research in the Fourth Framework Programme of the European Community, and tell us how far plans for the Fifth Framework Programme have developed.
The second speaker, Prof. Dr. Karin Harbusch from the University of Koblenz (Germany) was asked to tell us what she thinks are the real problems of our disicpline (as opposed to the merely fashionable problems) , and what methods/technologies she thinks might be useful in solving them. Our field (as many others) is often a bit too ``fashion-driven'', and we should step back somewhat and try to see where the fundamental problems of our field at the present time seem to be, and how we could overcome them.
We hope that everybody in Switzerland either doing active research in the field of Natural Language Processing, Computational Linguistics and Language Engineering (i.e. academia) or using language engineering products (i.e. people from so-called ''industry'') , will be able to attend.
Although this year we will not focus on the question of what kind of input industry expects from academia we urge people from companies and administration with interest in language engineering products to attend. We are convinced that it is in our common interest to know what is going on on the ``other side'' of the divide: Academia, on the one hand, needs to know what types of products users need and want but users, on the other hand, should know what types of language engineering products might be available in five of ten years from now.
We invite all academic groups to prepare a short outline of their present research projects to be presented during a panel. The individual presentation should take approx. 10 mins., but the exact timing will be announced once we know who will attend (we will inform the people concerned by e-mail). Please indicate your interest in a presentation on the application form.