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The National Science Foundation put out a press release today under the title "U.S. Students Win Big at the International Linguistics Olympiad", subtitle "Event in Poland highlights significance of emerging field of computational linguistics".

High school students from across the U.S. won individual and team honors last week at the seventh annual International Olympiad in Linguistics held in Wroclaw, Poland. The results reflect U.S. competence in computational linguistics, an emerging field that has applications in computer science, language processing, code breaking and other advanced arenas.

The U.S. fielded two teams at the Olympiad, which featured competitors from 17 different countries, including Australia, Germany, India, South Korea and Russia. Rebecca Jacobs of Los Angeles took the highest individual honor of any U.S. competitor with a silver medal, while John Berman of Wilmington, N.C., Sergei Bernstein of Boston, and Alan Huang of Beverly Hills, Mich., each took home bronze medals. Morris Alper of Palo Alto, Calif., Daryl Hansen of Sammamish, Wash., Anand Natarajan of San Jose, Calif. and Vivaek Shivakumar of Arlington, Va. received honorable mentions for their work. Berman and Huang were also recognized for their solutions to specific problems.

The U.S. Red team, comprised of Alper, Huang, Jacobs, and Natarajan took home the gold cup in team competition.

Further information about the team is here, including this important background:

While the linguistics competition is fun, it also requires dedication and hard work by many people, all of whom are volunteers. The organizing committee is headed by Professor Dragomir Radev (University of Michigan) and Professor Lori Levin (Carnegie Mellon University), and it also includes Mary Jo Bensasi, Eugene Fink, Adam Hesterberg, Patrick Littell, Ida Mayer, James Pustejovsky, and Amy Troyani. The program committee includes twenty more people, who create new competition problems and judge the performance of contestants. The other volunteers are high-school teachers and college students who help to organize and proctor the event.


  1. Don Campbell said,

    August 6, 2009 @ 9:23 pm

    It's great to see that Australia sent a team for the first time this year.

  2. Vivaek Shivakumar said,

    April 3, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

    Wow! I never realized I was mentioned in Language Log! My life is now almost complete :)

  3. Janice Huth Byer said,

    April 4, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

    Vivaek, your life appears to be on a wide-open highway headed to great places. Heartiest congratulations to you!

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