Paradigm Shift

It sounds natural that the focus of a research community changes over time. This focus, which presumably shows people’s main interest, is easy to observe by reading the papers that appear within a community every year.

Well, ACL is no exception, with Statistical Machine Translation being considered popular these days. But was that always the case? To answer this question, I collected all the papers that appeared in ACL in each year, and found which article these papers have cited the most. This would, to some degree, show what the ACL community have written about in each year.

Interestingly, the top cited topics are Dialogue and Discourse till mid 90s, but the focus has shifted to Parsing, and then Machine Translation in the past decade.

1979:     A Goal Oriented Model Of Human Dialogue
1980:     Ungrammaticality And Extra-Grammaticality In Natural Language Understanding Systems 
1981:     A Snapshot Of KDS A Knowledge Delivery System 
1982:     Linguistic Analysis Of Natural Language Communication With Computers
1983:     A Practical Comparison Of Parsing Strategies 
1984:     Relaxation Techniques For Parsing Grammatically Ill-Formed Input In Natural Language Understanding Systems 
1985:     Parsing As Deduction
1986:     Providing A Unified Account Of Definite Noun Phrases In Discourse
1987:     Categorical Unification Grammars
1988:     Attention, Intentions, And The Structure Of Discourse
1989:     Attention, Intentions, And The Structure Of Discourse
1990:     A Logical Semantics For Feature Structures
1991:     Attention, Intentions, And The Structure Of Discourse
1992:     Attention, Intentions, And The Structure Of Discourse 
1993:     Attention, Intentions, And The Structure Of Discourse 
1994:     Attention, Intentions, And The Structure Of Discourse 
1995:     Attention, Intentions, And The Structure Of Discourse
1996:     A Stochastic Parts Program And Noun Phrase Parser For Unrestricted Text
1997:     The Mathematics Of Statistical Machine Translation: Parameter Estimation
1998:     Building A Large Annotated Corpus Of English: The Penn Treebank
1999:     Building A Large Annotated Corpus Of English: The Penn Treebank
2000:     Building A Large Annotated Corpus Of English: The Penn Treebank 
2001:     The Mathematics Of Statistical Machine Translation: Parameter Estimation
2002:     A Maximum-Entropy-Inspired Parser 
2003:     The Mathematics Of Statistical Machine Translation: Parameter Estimation
2004:     The Mathematics Of Statistical Machine Translation: Parameter Estimation
2005:     A Maximum-Entropy-Inspired Parser 
2006:     The Mathematics Of Statistical Machine Translation: Parameter Estimation
2007:     Minimum Error Rate Training In Statistical Machine Translation
2008:     Minimum Error Rate Training In Statistical Machine Translation
2009:     Minimum Error Rate Training In Statistical Machine Translation
2010:     Moses: Open Source Toolkit for Statistical Machine Translation
  

(Raw data from http://clair.si.umich.edu/clair/anthology/)
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