Computational linguistics (or Natural Language Processing, NLP), is a branch of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), specialised in the processing and analysis of text and speech in natural language. Despite its key applications being increasingly present in everyday tools (GPS, spellchecker, automatic translation software, etc.), it remains, however, a rather unknown domain to the general public. After having enjoyed a significant attention from the authorities and media during several years (in respect of the emergence of the “internet network”), the computational linguistics field is nowadays less visible, whereas the fundamental stakes remain or even expand. For example, the actual growth of the Internet towards semantic Web or the big European ICT projects (digital libraries, information systems of the public sector, the access to multilingual web) will intensify the needs in the natural language processing field.
- Bringing the main actual trends on the market to light through lectures and accounts of key actors in research, industries and high institutions
- Favouring interaction between professionals (bringing into contact supply and demand, B2B)
- Stimulating professional networks specialised in natural language processing and, if possible, bringing out new possibilities of international collaborations and cross-disciplinary projects.
- Informing the general public and heightening public awareness of the stakes and challenges of natural language processing
- Making students of diverse academic backgrounds discover an often unsuspected branch of industry.