Since 2016, computer science departments and universities in the Southern California region have heavily invested in Natural Language Processing (NLP) research, and several junior faculty members related to this area were hired across campuses. This includes Prof. William Wang (UCSB), Prof. Sameer Singh (UCI), Prof. Kai-Wei Chang (UCLA), Prof. Xiang Ren (USC), Prof. Vagelis Papalexakis (UCR), and Prof. Ndapa Nakashole (UCSD).
The goal of Southern California Natural Language Processing Symposium is to gather faculty, students, postdocs, and researchers from the Southern California region with broad expertise in natural language processing. The symposium provides a participatory environment where attendees from a variety of fields working on natural language processing can share and discuss their latest findings. This year, SoCal NLP Symposium was hosted on April 6, 2018 at University of California, Irvine, and UCSB's NLP Lab co-organized the event. Prof. William Wang served as the founding faculty co-chair, and Ph.D. student Jiawei Wu was one of the student co-chairs. Google Cloud, Amazon, PIMCO, UCI Data Science, NVIDIA, DATASCIENCE.COM sponsored this event.
The first iteration of this event included invited talks from academia (UCSC, Georgia Tech, Stanford, UCLA) and industry (Google Research), contributed work, poster presentations, and open discussion. A total of more than 120 students, postdocs, and faculty members from universities in the region, including UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, University of Southern California (USC), UC Los Angeles, UC Riverside, Pomona College and other schools have participated the first SoCal NLP Symposium this April.