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Three Countries - One Conference

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For the first time the biennial International Conference on Computational Linguists will be hosted by several countries. COLING 2000 will take place in the centre of Europe jointly organised by three countries of the European Union. The main conference will be held on the campus of Saarland University at Saarbrücken in Germany. Nancy in France will serve as the location for pre-COLING tutorials. The site for the the post-conference workshops is the Centre Universitaire in Luxembourg, the beautiful capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Although the three cities are located in three different countries, they belong to three closely related neighbouring historical regions (Saarland, Lorraine, Luxembourg) that have established close cooperation under the SaarLorLux treaty. For centuries the area was the object of armed disputes between Germany, France and other Nations. 400 years ago, Luxembourg ruled large parts of Central Europe. In several periods in history, Lorraine belonged to Germany and not so long ago the Saarland recovered from the war under French administration. At several times Luxembourg was invaded by both large neighbours. But for the past fifty years, the area has enjoyed the longest period of peace ever. The embattled borders for which so many soldiers had to die are not visible anymore. Under the treaty of Schengen, check points have been abandoned. Visa for one of the countries are also valid for the others.

Saarbrücken is the capital of the Saarland, one of the smallest states of the German Federal Republic. Saarland University has the largest academic computational linguistics program in the SaarLorLux region. CL research is also conducted in other university departments such as in Computer Science and Translation Science as well as at DFKI and IAI, two research centers connected with the University. The Max Planck Institute for Computer Science is also located on the university campus. Several local software companies are engaged in language technology.

Luxembourg will be the smallest country so far to host COLING events, yet the city is ideally suited for international meetings and conventions because of its role as an international banking place and as the seat for several central institutions of the European Union. The city offers a wide range of hotels and conveniently located conference facilities. The international airport has many flights to European cities and a number of transcontinental connections. Luxembourg is the seat of the Directorate D of the Information Society DG of the European Commission, that has administered the EU R&D programs Linguistic Research and Engineering, Multilingual Action Plan, Language Engineering, Multilingual Information Society, and now is running the Human Language Technologies activities within the Information Society Technologies Programme.

Nancy has a rather new and fast growing program in CL as well as longstanding research in computational linguistics and speech engineering. Research is conducted at two universities, a CNRS research institute and the Nancy branch of INRIA.

Bus transportation from and to the satellite events will be arranged by the organizers. Travelling time is around 90 minutes in each case.

COLING 2000 is supported by the Charta of the SaarLorLux Universities, especially by the Centre Universitaire in Luxembourg, the Université Nancy II, and the Universität des Saarlandes.

DFKI Saarbrücken and the Department of Computational Linguistics at the University of the Saarland are providing the infrastructure and organizational lead in the preparation of the conference. They are supported by the Computer Science Lab of the University Center in Luxembourg, the Human Language Technologies Unit of the Information Society DG of the European Commission, INRIA, CNRS and the Computational Linguistics Program at the University Nancy II.

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