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TAC 2008
Preface

The Text Analysis Conference (TAC) is organized by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and developed out of NIST's Text REtrieval Conference (TREC) and Document Understanding Conference (DUC). TAC's mission is to support research within the Natural Language Processing community by providing the infrastructure necessary for large-scale evaluation of NLP methodologies. TAC's primary purpose is not competitive benchmarking; rather, the emphasis is on advancing the state of the art through evaluation results.

A TAC cycle consists of a set tracks, areas of focus in which particular NLP tasks are defined. NIST distributes test data for each track; participants run their NLP systems on the data and return their results to NIST; NIST then pools the individual results, judges them for correctness, and evaluates the results. The TAC cycle culminates with a workshop that is a forum for participants to discuss their work and plan future tasks and evaluations.

This volume constitutes the Proceedings of the First Text Analysis Conference (TAC 2008). The TAC 2008 workshop was held in Gaithersburg, Maryland, November 17-19, 2008. TAC 2008 brought together three closely related tracks -- Recognizing Textual Entailment (RTE), Question Answering (QA), and Summarization -- each of which was a continuation of an evaluation series previously organized under separate frameworks. Sixty-five teams submitted results to one or more of the TAC 2008 tracks. The teams represented universities and companies, as well as individual researchers. Teams were based in 20 different countries and six continents, with the greatest participation from Europe (24), North America (23), and Asia (15).

TAC 2008 was sponsored by NIST and the U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), with additional support for the RTE track from the PASCAL-2 Network of Excellence. Their sponsorship is gratefully acknowledged, as is the invaluable contribution of the TAC 2008 advisory committee, track organizers, and track participants.

TAC 2008 Advisory Committee

    Hoa Trang Dang, NIST (chair)
    John Burger, MITRE
    John Conroy, IDA/CCS
    Ido Dagan, Bar Ilan University
    Maarten de Rijke, University of Amsterdam
    Bonnie Dorr, University of Maryland
    Donna Harman, NIST
    Andy Hickl, Language Computer Corporation
    Ed Hovy, ISI/USC
    Boris Katz, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Bernardo Magnini, ITC-irst
    Kathy McKeown, Columbia University
    Ani Nenkova, University of Pennsylvania
    Drago Radev, University of Michigan
    Lucy Vanderwende, Microsoft Research
    Ellen Voorhees, NIST
    Ralph Weischedel, BBN

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