14 August 2019 – Associate Professor Kan Min Yen was conferred the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) Distinguished Service Award on 2 August 2019. The award was given out at the 57th ACL Annual Meeting held in Florence, Italy, from 28 July to 2 August.
The inaugural Distinguished Service Award recognises an individual for his extraordinary service to the computational linguistics community. A/P Kan received the award for his dedicated work as Editor of the ACL Anthology — the largest archive of published research in computational linguistics and natural language processing.
Computational linguistics and natural language processing is the field in which computers learn to analysis, comprehend and synthesise written and spoken language. Work in these area include instant machine translation, speech recognitition systems, text-to-speech synthesisers, and more. According to A/P Kan, ACL is the premier field of research for computational linguistics and has the strongest impact on the subject matter worldwide.
A/P Kan served the association as Editor from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2018. Under his leadership, the publication saw a quadruple increase in the number of academic articles. Beyond the day to day process of managing and indexing new publications, A/P Kan also oversaw the overhaul of the publication’s complete upgrade to include DOI support and features for data sharing and video links. ACL Anthology – unlike many other computer science publications – does not lock its resources under a paywall and is freely accessible to anyone in the world.
In addition to his service as Editor, A/P Kan was also the first Information Officer for the association, where he was part of the ACL Executive Board and expanded the association’s commitment to make its scholarly publications more accessible. He also served as a reviewer, editor and chair for a number of conferences and journals.
“It was a great honour and privilege to be the inaugural recipient of this award. It is humbling as many of my duties involve working with volunteers who are equally—if not more—responsible for the positive outcomes of my tenure as Editor,” said A/P Kan. “I was touched to have receive this award while sitting next to my own academic mentor, Prof Kathy McKeown, who was my joint doctoral thesis advisor.”