Three individuals are involved as primary organizers in the summer school. One is the German partner (Butt), the other is from the hosting institution in Sri Lanka (Weerasinghe), the third is located in Pakistan and is part of the organizational team because of his important role in fostering NLE efforts in the region via the PAN localization project (Hussain in Pakistan). He has extensive regional contacts to NLE groups as well as important experience with organizing summer schools and training sessions in the region. We would have in fact liked to have the PAN localization project as an organizing partner, but this is not possible within the constraints of this DAAD call.
Professor Dr. Miriam Butt is professor for theoretical and computational linguistics in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Konstanz. Professor Butt specializes in South Asian languages and is co-editor of the international Journal of South Asian Linguistics (JSAL, http://jsal-journal.org). She has recently completed a project on the development of a computational grammar for Urdu (funded by the DFG, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). Prof. Butt has extensive experience with summer schools both from an organizational and lecturer point of view. She has organized two summer schools in Konstanz and has participated as a lecturer in eight. She was the main applicant for the DAAD summer school in Advanced Language Engineering in Nepal. She will be the German organizer.
Professor Dr. Ruvan Weerasinghe is Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC) and was its Director from 2006 to 2010. He is the Head of the Language Technology Research Laboratory of the UCSC and teaches courses in Natural Language Processing and Localization for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. He has also been a organizing committee member, programme committee member and Chair of the International IT Conference series held in Sri Lanka including the Advances in ICT in Emerging Regions. He has organized international workshops around these conferences on Computational Linguistics and Bioinformatics. He has also been an active member of the PAN Localization Network. With his extensive connection with state and private sector academic and research organizations including the National Science Foundation (NSF) of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Association of Software & Services Companies (SLASSCOM), he is in a position to publicize the summer school widely within Sri Lanka and will function as the local organizing partner.
Professor Dr. Sarmad Hussain is a Professor of Computer Science and heads the Center for Language Engineering (www.cle.org.pk) at the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) in Lahore, Pakistan. He leads the PAN Localization project, one of whose primary objectives is to develop research capacity in local language computing across developing Asia. The PAN Localization project has already been working in the region, developing a network of researchers and organizations. The project has also developed significant technology and capacity to develop local language computing, organizing an extensive Summer School in Asian Language Computing and many short term trainings and workshops (for details, see http://www.panl10n.net/english/activities.htm). He will be a co-organizer from Pakistan. In particular, we are relying on Prof. Hussain for PR and promotional measures in the region. Via the PAN Localization project, Prof. Hussain has many regional contacts to emerging NLE groups and we will rely on him to publicize the summer school among the right target groups.
The three summer school co-organizers are associated with three different institutions.
University of Colombo School of Computing will be the host institution, the University of Konstanz the German institution and University of Engineering and Technology an additional foreign partner university.
The University of Colombo was established in 1921 as Ceylon University College and was amalgamated with the Ceylon Medical College (founded in 1870) to form the University of Ceylon in 1942. It assumed its current name based on the Universities Act of 1978. Computing was established as a separate Department in 1985, which evolved and amalgamated with a postgraduate Institute of Computer Technology in 2002. The University now has 7 Faculties with 41 Academic Departments, a Campus, a School, 6 Institutes and 5 centres. The University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC) is a financially autonomous entity dedicated to specializations and joint honors programmes in computing.
University of Konstanz was established in 1966 as a so-called “reform” university. One direct consequence of this is that linguistics exists as an independent department at the university and has been able to move with the times by integrating research and teaching in areas such as computational linguistics. Another direct consequence is that the linguistic faculty is not tied to the traditional philologies (German, English, Romance, Slavic), but is free to pursue areal language interests of their own. As a result, there has been a cluster of professors interested in South Asian languages over the last 10 years, which has led to the organization of a conference with focus on South Asia, research projects focusing on South Asian languages and collaborations with universities and researchers in South Asia.
University of Technology and Engineering (UET) is the oldest and most prestigious public technical universities in Pakistan. Established as a technical college in 1921, it became an independent university in 1961, and offers multiple undergraduate and graduate programs in the disciplines of Science, Engineering and Technology. The current proposal will be executed through its Center of Language Engineering at Al-Khawarizmi Institute of Computer Science, the latter being an R&D organization of the University. The Center for Language Engineering (www.cle.org.pk) is the regional project secretariat for PAN Localization project, a project which has been responsible for developing local language computing capacity across Asia.
Funding for the Summer School is provided by the DAAD – German Academic Exchange Service with grants from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Similarly, the Summer School is partly supported by the University of Colombo School of Computing, Sri Lanka