Fourth Annual

WeCNLP Summit

Friday, October 29th, 2021

The fourth annual WeCNLP (West Coast NLP) Summit is an opportunity to foster discussion and collaboration between NLP researchers in academia and industry. The event will include talks and a panel from research leaders on the latest advances in NLP technologies.

Like last year, WeCNLP will be a virtual event due to the pandemic.


  • Registration is now open!

  • Acceptance results will be available by Thursday September 30

  • The deadline for abstracts/papers is extended to Aug 14 2021!

  • WeCNLP is happening virtually on Oct 29 2021!

Invited Speakers

Verena Rieser

Verena leads research on Conversational AI at the intersection of Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning. She is a full professor in Computer Science at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, co-founder of ALANA AI, and Director of Ethics at the UK National Robotarium. Verena received her PhD in 2008 from Saarland University (Germany) and then joined the University of Edinburgh as a postdoctoral research fellow, before taking up a faculty position at Heriot-Watt in 2011 and joining ALANA AI in 2020. She is the PI of several funded research projects and industry awards. She was recently awarded a Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship by the Royal Society in recognition of her work in developing multimodal conversational systems.

David Traum

David Traum is the Director for Natural Language Research at the Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) and Research Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Southern California (USC). He leads the Natural Language Dialogue Group at ICT. More information about the group can be found here: Traum’s research focuses on Dialogue Communication between Human and Artificial Agents. He has engaged in theoretical, implementational and empirical approaches to the problem, studying human-human natural language and multi-modal dialogue, as well as building a number of dialogue systems to communicate with human users. Traum has authored over 250 refereed technical articles, is a founding editor of the Journal Dialogue and Discourse, has chaired and served on many conference program committees, and is a past President of SIGDIAL, the international special interest group in discourse and dialogue. Traum earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Rochester in 1994.

Luke Zettlemoyer

Luke Zettlemoyer is a Professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, and a Research Scientist at Facebook. His research focuses on empirical methods for natural language semantics, and involves designing machine learning algorithms, introducing new tasks and datasets, and, most recently, studying how to best develop self-supervision signals for pre-training. Honors include multiple paper awards, a PECASE award, and an Allen Distinguished Investigator Award. Luke received his PhD from MIT and was a postdoc at the University of Edinburgh.

Michelle Zhou

Dr. Michelle Zhou is a Co-founder and CEO of Juji, Inc., a California-based company that powers and democratizes Cognitive Artificial Intelligence (AI) Assistants in the form of chatbots. She is an expert in the field of Human-Centered AI, an interdisciplinary area that intersects AI and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). Zhou has authored more than 100 scientific publications and 45 patent applications on subjects including conversational AI, personality analytics, and interactive visual analytics of big data. Prior to founding Juji, she spent 15 years at IBM Research and the Watson Group, where she managed the research and development of Human-Centered AI technologies and solutions, including IBM Watson Personality Insights.

Zhou serves as Editor-in-Chief of ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems (TiiS) and an Associate Editor of ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology (TIST), and was formerly the Steering Committee Chair for the ACM International Conference Series on Intelligent User Interfaces. She is an ACM Distinguished Member and received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Columbia University.

Meliha Yetisgen

Dr. Yetisgen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education. She leads the Biomedical Language Processing group (UW-BioNLP). Before joining the University of Washington, she worked in industry as a researcher. During this period, she designed and developed statistical Natural Language Processing (NLP) systems for event extraction from various types of text. Her current research specializes on the design and development of text processing systems in the clinical domain for a wide range of secondary use applications that have direct impact on improving quality of patient care and advancing clinical research.

Antonios Anastasopoulos

Antonios Anastasopoulos is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at George Mason University. He received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Notre Dame, advised by David Chiang and then did a postdoc at Languages Technologies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. His research is on natural language processing with a focus on low-resource settings, endangered languages, and cross-lingual learning, and is currently funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Google, Amazon, and the Virginia Research Investment Fund.

Dilek Hakkani-Tür

Dilek Hakkani-Tür is a senior principal scientist at Amazon Alexa AI focusing on enabling natural dialogues with machines and a Visiting Distinguished Professor at UC Santa Cruz. Prior to joining Amazon, she was leading the dialogue research group at Google (2016-2018), a principal researcher at Microsoft Research (2010-2016), International Computer Science Institute (ICSI, 2006-2010) and AT&T Labs-Research (2001-2005). She received her BSc degree from Middle East Technical Univ, in 1994, and MSc and PhD degrees from Bilkent Univ., Department of Computer Engineering, in 1996 and 2000, respectively.

Her research interests include conversational AI, natural language and speech processing, spoken dialogue systems, and machine learning for language processing. She has over 80 patents that were granted and co-authored more than 300 papers in natural language and speech processing. She received several best paper awards for publications she co-authored on conversational systems, including her earlier work on active learning for dialogue systems, from IEEE Signal Processing Society, ISCA and EURASIP. She served as an associate editor for IEEE Transactions on Audio, Speech and Language Processing (2005-2008), member of the IEEE Speech and Language Technical Committee (2009-2014), area editor for speech and language processing for Elsevier's Digital Signal Processing Journal and IEEE Signal Processing Letters (2011-2013), and served on the ISCA Advisory Council (2015-2019). She is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE/ACM Transactions on Audio, Speech and Language Processing, an IEEE Distinguished Industry Speaker (2021) and a fellow of the IEEE (2014) and ISCA (2014).

Marine Carpuat

Marine Carpuat is an Associate Professor in Computer Science at the University of Maryland. Her research aims to design technology that helps people communicate no matter what language they speak, focusing on multilingual natural language processing and machine translation. Before joining the faculty at Maryland, Marine was a Research Scientist at the National Research Council Canada. She received a PhD in Computer Science and a MPhil in Electrical Engineering from the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, and a Diplome d'Ingenieur from the French Grande Ecole Supelec. She is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award, research awards from Google and Amazon, best paper awards at the *SEM and TALN conferences, and an Outstanding Teaching Award.

Dan Bohus

Dan Bohus is a Senior Principal Researcher in the Adaptive Systems and Interaction Group at Microsoft Research. His work centers on the study and development of computational models for physically situated spoken language interaction and collaboration. The long term question that shapes his research agenda is how can we enable interactive systems to reason more deeply about their surroundings and seamlessly participate in open-world, multiparty dialog and collaboration with people? Prior to joining Microsoft Research, Dan obtained his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University.