Leading Natural Language Processing Conference Kicks off in Abu Dhabi for the First Time This Week

The five-day conference will welcome key leaders from the artificial intelligence industry

New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), in partnership with Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), kicked off today, December 7, the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP), which will run until December 11. 

Taking place in Abu Dhabi for the first time, leading voices in artificial intelligence will deliver keynote speeches. These include Mona Diab, lead AI research scientist with Meta, and Professor of Computer Science at the George Washington University; Neil Cohn, an American cognitive scientist best known for his research on the overlap in structure and cognition between language and graphic communication including comics and emojis; Gary Marcus, a scientist, best-selling author, and serial entrepreneur; and Nazneen Rajan, research lead at Hugging Face, a startup with a mission to democratize machine learning.

Local organizing committee co-chairs include NYUAD Professor and Program Head of Computer Science Nizar Habash and MBZUAI President Eric Xing.


“We are very excited to welcome some of the world’s top scientists in artificial intelligence, specifically Natural Language Processing (NLP), to Abu Dhabi for the 2022 EMNLP conference for the first time. Together, we will engage with key stakeholders in a vital global community conversation for what lies ahead in this field. NLP is altering the fundamental interaction between humans and machines, and with the dynamically evolving language and technology we continue to witness, it can be utilized in new fields of science and business to make a positive impact on our lives.”

Program Head of Computer Science Nizar Habash

“EMNLP is a unique opportunity for Abu Dhabi to engage with world leaders in NLP, and to showcase the nation’s AI capabilities and aspirations,” Professor Timothy Baldwin, Associate Provost for Academic and Student Affairs, Acting Department Chair of NLP at MBZUAI, said. “MBZUAI is creating a world leading department in recognition of the unique requirements of NLP in the region in terms of dialect support, multilinguality, and to help knock down digital barriers for UAE society.”

In her talk, Diab will explore practical ideas around framing a responsible NLP vision with higher scientific standards, issuing a call to action and an invitation to various stakeholders to engage in multilateral conversations on the issue. Cohn will deliver a speech on multimodal language faculty and the visual languages of comics, while Marcus will delve into role models like GPT-3 and PaLM play in artificial general intelligence (AGI). Rajani will highlight key takeaways from a systematic study of 75K models on Hugging Face, the benchmarking, and evaluating NLP models.

With a total of 2,500 expected to partake in the conference both virtually and in-person, EMNLP 2022 will feature six tutorials and 24 workshops, including the Seventh Arabic Natural Language Processing Workshop, the 13th International Workshop on Health Text Mining and Information Analysis, as well as the Fourth Workshop on Financial Technology and Natural Language Processing among others. Additionally, EMNLP 2022 will have two co-located conferences on Machine Translation and Computational Natural Language Learning. The conference’s industrial sponsors include Amazon, Apple, Bloomberg, Google, Meta, Microsoft, and Duolingo, among others.

In addition to leveraging Abu Dhabi’s strong MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) infrastructure and capabilities, the conference has also received additional support in various aspects from the Abu Dhabi Convention and Exhibition Bureau (ADCEB), part of the Department of Tourism and Culture – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi). 

EMNLP 2022 is being held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) until December 11 with an option to attend in person or virtually. Those interested in attending can register here.

EMNLP is a leading conference in the area of natural language processing and artificial intelligence. Natural language processing (NLP) is a subfield of linguistics, computer science, and artificial intelligence that considers the interactions between computers and human language. The discipline helps machines process and understand human language so that they can automatically perform repetitive tasks. Everyday examples include machine translation, automatic summarization, and automatic spelling correction.  EMNLP is a very competitive conference with about a 20 percent acceptance rate of submitted full scientific papers.  All conference publications will be publicly available for free at the Anthology of the  Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL)