NACLO 2014 — North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad

Hosted by Google and UW Madison Dept. of Computer Science

Madison, WI site


BREAKING NEWS: NACLO Training Session 3 (Final Training Session) will be held on Saturday Jan. 25, 2014!

Please note that Training Session 3 is being held at a different location than the first two training sessions.
See below for details.

(1) What is NACLO?

NACLO, the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad, is a contest in which middle-school and high-school students solve linguistic puzzles. In solving the problems, students learn about the diversity and consistency of language, while exercising logic skills. No prior knowledge of linguistics or second languages is necessary. Professionals in linguistics, computational linguistics and language technologies use dozens of languages to create engaging problems that represent cutting edge issues in their fields. The competition has attracted top students to study and work in those same fields. It is an opportunity for young people to experience a taste of natural-language processing in the 21st century.

Google's Madison office and the UW Madison Department of Computer Science are pleased to co-host NACLO 2014. The first round of the contest, open to any middle-school or high-school student (including home-schooled students), will take place on January 30, 2014. Well-performing students will be invited to a second round to be held on March 13, 2014.

Three training sessions are currently scheduled to help interested participants prepare for the competition and learn more about computational linguistics and natural-language processing. Participants are encouraged to come to any or all training sessions! You can attend any training session without having attended earlier sessions.

(2) Site Coordinators and Contact Info:

Steve Lacy, Hardware Engineer at Madison Google Office
mobile: 608-217-3208

T.R. Fitz-Gibbon, Software Engineer at Madison Google Office

(3) Important Dates and Times

Training Session 1:        Saturday, Nov. 23, 2014, 9am - 12pm
Training Session 2:        Saturday, Dec. 7, 2014, 9am - 12pm
Training Session 3:        Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, 9am - 12pm
NACLO Open Round:    Thursday, January 30, 2014, 8am - 12pm (actual competition is 9am - 12pm)
NACLO Invited Round:  Tuesday, March 13, 2014, 9am - 3pm (actual competition time including 1 hour break)

(4) Locations

IMPORTANT: Note that the Training Sessions and the actual competition are in different locations...

Location of Training Sessions 1 and 2 (Nov. 23, Dec. 7 2013):

  Madison Google Office
  301 S. Blount St., Suite 301
  Madison, WI 53703

Location of Training Session 3 (January 25, 2014):

  Constellation Building, 10 North Livingston St. (2nd floor), Madison, WI 53703.

Directions to Constellation Building:
Heading away from the Capitol on E. Washington, turn left onto N. Livingston. The Constellation Building is a recently constructed building on the corner of E. Washington and N. Livingston. Enter the building from the entrance on N. Livingston and follow the signs to the 2nd floor. If entrance is locked, then please phone Steve Lacy at 608-217-3208 to be let in.

Location of NACLO Competition Open Round (January 30, 2014):

  UW Madison Campus
  Computer Science Building, 1210 W. Dayton Street
  Room CS 1240 (Main Lecture Hall)

CS 1240 is on the first floor of the CS Building. The doors leading to the Lecture Hall are immediately to the left after entering the building from the Dayton Street entrance. Signs with directions will also be posted the day of the competition.

Location of the Invitational Round: TBA

NOTE: Planning is currently in progress for the locations of the Jan. 25 Training Session and the Invitational Round. Registering for the competition guarantees you will receive updated information via email as it becomes available. If you are not yet sure you want to register for the competition, you may send an email to Steve Lacy ( to be added to an email list for updates, or simply periodically visit this site.

(5) Important Info for the Day of the Open Round Competition

The competition will start promptly at 9:00 am. Participants may check in starting at 8:10 am. Participants should plan on arriving at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the competition to check in and get settled. While participants are strongly encouraged to register BEFORE the competition day via the NACLO site (, walk-in registrations on the competition day will be accepted from 8:10 am through 8:40 am.

With the exception of bottled water, no food or drink will be allowed in the competition room. The reason behind this is to avoid disturbing other participants and to avoid any spills in what is a very nice lecture hall. If you have a special condition or circumstance which makes this policy a hardship, please contact Steve Lacy at

- Participants will be admitted starting at 8:10 am
- No participants will be admitted once seating begins at 8:40 am

(6) Walk-In Registration Policy

Walk-ins will be accepted on the day of the competition as long as there are vacancies available. If you are planning to register as a walk-in participant, it is advisable to contact the site coordinator (Steve Lacy) the day before the competition to see if there are vacancies. Upon arrival, walk-in participants must register via the internet to obtain a registration number. An internet connection will be available for registration of walk-in participants. It is advisable that walk-in participants arrive as early as possible to facilitate a smooth registration process. Participants will be admitted starting at 8:10 am and seating for the competition will begin promptly at 8:40 am. Any walk-in candidate must be properly registered before seating begins at 8:40 am. This implies that 8:30 am is the latest advisable time that walk-in candidates be admitted.

(7) Schedule for the Open Round Competition (January 30, 2014)

Participant Check-In and Registration of Walk-Ins:  8:10 am - 8:40 am
Seating of Candidates:  8:40 am
Reading of Rules by Site Coordinator:  8:45 am - 9:00 am
Contest Begins:  9:00 am
Contest Ends:  12:00 pm

(8) Training Sessions

The training sessions will include problem solving practices along with an overview/discussion of the field of natural language processing and career opportunities in this area.

While formal registration for the training sessions isn't necessary, participants interested in attending one or both sessions are strongly encouraged to send a brief email to Steve Lacy at This will help greatly with planning the sessions. You can also elect to receive a reminder email for the training sessions if you RSVP!