What is NACLO?
NACLO is a fun (and educational!) contest for U.S. and Canadian high school students in which contestants compete by solving compelling and creative puzzles in linguistics and computational linguistics. Requiring no previous knowledge of linguistics, languages, or computing, these puzzles can be solved by analytic reasoning alone, and serve as a fun introduction to a field to which many high school students have never been introduced. Winners of NACLO are eligible to compete in the International Linguistics Olympiad, one of twelve international high school science Olympiads.
Although NACLO has been running as a national event for a number of years, this is the first time it was organized at UCI. Such events are especially helpful for recruiting young women into majors like Computer Science (9 of the 11 attendees were female), where maintaining a gender balance has been an ongoing challenge. This event also serves as good advertisement for the upcoming B.A. in Language Science.
The open event, sponsored jointly by the Department of Linguistics and Computer Science, and organized by UCI faculty members Sameer Singh, Lisa Pearl, and Greg Scontras, was held in the Calit2 building. The students selected in the open round returned for the invitational round on March 9. More details about the open and the invitational events are available on http://sites.uci.edu/naclo/.