On January 26, 2017, 11 high school students from around Orange County came to UCI to participate in the National Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO).
NACLO is a fun and educational contest for U.S. and Canadian high school students in which contestants compete by solving compelling and creative puzzles in linguistics and computational linguistics. Requiring no previous knowledge of linguistics, languages or computing, these puzzles can be solved by analytic reasoning alone, and serve as an engaging introduction to a field which many high school students have never encountered before. Winners of NACLO are eligible to compete in the International Linguistics Olympiad, one of only 12 international high school science olympiads. This year, the international olympiad will be held in Dublin, Ireland, from July 31-August 4.
Although NACLO has been running as a national event for a number of years, this is the first time it was organized at UCI. Such events are especially helpful for recruiting young women into majors like computer science (nine of the 11 attendees were female), where maintaining a gender balance has been an ongoing challenge. This event also serves as good advertisement for the upcoming B.A. in Language Science.
The open event, sponsored jointly by the Department of Linguistics and Computer Science, and organized by UCI faculty members Sameer Singh, Lisa Pearl and Greg Scontras, was held in the Calit2 building. The students selected in the open round will return for the invitational round on March 9. More details about the open and the invitational events are available on http://sites.uci.edu/naclo/.
– Story submitted by Sameer Singh, Assistant Professor of Computer Science