2007 North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad

What is the Computational Linguistics Olympiad?

The North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NAMCLO) is modeled after similar Linguistics Olympiads held in the United States and Europe. In these events, hundreds of high school age students have participated, challenged by interesting linguistic problems from dozens of the world's languages.

USA team wins at the 2007 International Linguistics Olympiad

The results and solutions for the 2007 NAMCLO have been announced. Click here to see

See pictures from the 2007 NAMCLO

The Contest

Goals of NAMCLO

- Increase the size and diversity of the pool of future scientists in Linguistics, Computational Linguistics, and Human Language Technologies

- Identify talented high school students and help them get the background that they need for higher education in Linguistics, Computational Linguistics, and Human Language Technologies

- Get the scientific study of language into high school curricula (in cooperation with the LSA's Language in the School Curriculum committee)

the top finishers will represent the US at the International Linguistics Olympiad in Saint Petersburg, Russia!

Read about former Linguistics Olympiad participants here

A Computational Linguistics Olympiad

Like former Olympiads, NAMCLO is a Linguistics contest. It challenges you to demonstrate your ability to understand and analyze human language. Unlike former contests, however, the NAMCLO focuses on Computational Linguistics problems, in addition to general linguistic ones.

NAMCLO 2008 site


Official problems and results for NAMCLO 2007

Click here for the official results.

Click here for the problem booklet.

Click here to read the Press Release for NAMCLO 2007

Letter of Thanks

Dear Students, Parents, and Teachers,

Less than one year ago we began planning the first North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad. Imagine how pleased we were on March 29 to find that 195 students had come to participate. Participants came from 13 states and the District of Columbia. They participated in either one of the three main sites (Pittsburgh, Boston, and Ithaca) or remotely.

Many people made this successful event possible. First we would like to thank the teachers and parents who encouraged their students and children to participate. We would also like to thank many college students, graduate students, and professors from all over the world , especially our colleagues from the Moscow Linguistics Olympiad and the International Linguistics Olympiad whose experience we relied on to help us through our first event. We are also gratefully indebted to Linguist List for hosting this web site. Finally, we thank our sponsors, Google, Cambridge University Press, the North American chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics, and most of all, the National Science Foundation, without whom NAMCLO would not have taken place.

Lori Levin
NAMCLO co-chair

Thomas Payne
NAMCLO co-chair

Dragomir Radev
NAMCLO program chair

Try this problem!


Quechua is a South American language family with about 8,000,000 speakers, most of whom inhabit the Andes mountains of Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. Quechua was the official language of the Tawantinsuyu or Inca Empire before the Spanish invasion of 1532. For hundreds of years Cuzco, in what is now Peru, was the capital of the Inca empire. The sentences below represent the variety of Quechua currently spoken in Cuzco and in the area around Lake Titicaca.
The following are some sentences in Quechua, with their translations in random order. Indicate which translation goes with each Quechua sentence by placing the letter of the correct translation in the space provided:

1. Antukaq chakranpiqa t'ikashanmi papa.       ____
2. Siskuq chakranpiqa wiñashanmi sara.        ____
3. Siskuq chakranpiqa rurushansi kiwña.        ____
4. Antukaq chakranpiqa t'ikashanchá kiwña.   ____
5. Siskuq chakranpiqa wiñashansi sara.         ____
6. Antukaq chakranpiqa wiñashanchá papa.   ____

Translations in RANDOM order

A. Potatoes may be growing in Antuka's field.
B. Barley may be flowering in Antuka's field.
C. Corn is growing in Sisku's field.
D. I've heard corn is growing in Sisku's field.
E. I've heard barley is yielding fruit in Sisku's field.
F. Potatoes are flowering in Antuka's field.

Now, provide English translations for the following Quechua sentences:
7. Istuchaq chakranpiqa t'ikashansi sara.
8. Sawinaq chakranpiqa wiñashanchá kiwña.
9. Tumasaq chakranpiqa rurushanmi papa.
10. Kusiq chakranpiqa t'ikashanchá papa.
11. Inashuq chakranpiqa rurushansi kiwña.

(Problem by Pilar Valenzuela, Copyright © 2007, University of Oregon)

Click here to see the solution to this problem.

For more problems, click here

Olympiad Locations

Organizing Committee

Pittsburgh area (hosted by Carnegie Mellon University)
contact: Lori Levin, lslcs.cmu.edu
Lori Levin (General Chair), Carnegie Mellon University
Philadelphia area (hosted by U. of Pennsylvania)
contact: Mitch Marcus, mitchcis.upenn.edu
Thomas Payne (General Chair), University of Oregon
Boston area (hosted by Brandies Univeristy, Cambridge)
contact: James Pustejovsky, boston.olympiadgmail.com
Dragomir R. Radev (Program Chair), University of Michigan
Ithaca area (hosted by Cornell University)
contact: Claire Cardie, cardiecs.cornell.edu
William Lewis (Outreach Chair), University of Washington
Online participation
contact: Dragomir R. Radev, radevumich.edu
James Pustejovsky (Sponsorship Chair), Brandeis University
Barbara Di Eugenio (Follow-up Chair), University of Illinois at Chicago
Supported by NSF                                             Website Developed by The LINGUIST List                                                          The Association for Computational Linguistics                               Google