The Association for Computational Linguistics Appoints Baidu’s Haifeng Wang as the Founding Chair of the Newly Launched Asia-Pacific Chapter


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Today, at the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) in Melbourne, Australia, Dr. Haifeng Wang, Baidu’s Senior Vice President and Head of AI Group, has been elected as Chair of the Executive Committee of the newly launched Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (AACL). The six-day meeting, which  began on July 15, brought together world’s leading experts and researchers to discuss and share the latest developments of Natural Language Processing (NLP).


Founded in 1962, ACL is an international scientific and professional society for people working on problems involving natural language and computation. It has been one of the most influential and active academic communities. ACL has two regional chapters, EACL and NAACL, which were founded in 1982 and 1999 respectively. The need for establishing a new reginal chapter for Asia-Pacific arises with the advance of NLP research in the region in recent years. For example, the percentage of research papers accepted by the annual meeting of ACL from the region has been rising steadily in the past several years to 33.3% in 2017. However, despite the increase in paper submissions, the membership growth in the region has been slow. In 2016, only 17% of the ACL members are from the Asia-Pacific, lower than the other two regions.


In order to encourage and facilitate ACL membership across the Asia-Pacific region, ACL established AACL. Dr. Wang, having served as the president of ACL in 2013 and being the youngest and only ACL fellow from Chinese Mainland, becomes the natural selection for this position. Going forward, Dr. Wang will lead the founding Executive Committee to boost the international academic exchange in the region and motivate more people to contribute to the research of NLP.  


In the future, AACL will play a significant role to provide a regional focus and a source of information on regional activities for ACL members in the Asia-Pacific, establish platforms for the dissemination of ACL and AACL publications, and promote collaborations among scientific and professional societies within the region. AACL’s first meeting will be held in 2020 and the following meetings will take place once every two years.


NLP is one of the most challenging fields in Artificial Intelligence. Dr. Wang believes that the ultimate goal of AI is to enable machines to think like a human through learning knowledge. Language is the carrier of knowledge, hence the significance of NLP to AI.


Under the leadership of Dr. Wang, Baidu NLP team has forged a solid foundation after more than ten years in research. Equipped with the most advanced and comprehensive portfolio of technologies, Baidu has developed the world’s largest knowledge graph and achieved leading results in natural language syntactic analysis, semantic understanding, reading comprehension, language generation, intelligent writing, dialogue system, machine translation and more. Every day, Baidu’s NLP Cloud platform receives hundreds of billions of requests. Currently, not only are Baidu’s NLP technologies deployed in Baidu’s products but are also used by a vast number of developers and partners.