CCA student to represent U.S. in International Linguistics Olympiad

Canyon Crest Academy junior Wesley Zhang won the 2019 North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad, earning a chance to represent the United States in an international competition this summer.

Canyon Crest Academy junior Wesley Zhang has won the 2019 North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad, qualifying to represent the USA at the 2019 International Linguistics Olympiad in Yongin, South Korea, in July 2019.

The North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO) contest consists of two stages, an open round and an invitational round where students solve problems in language analysis drawn from languages around the world. The problems range widely across traditional and computational topics in linguistics, from phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics to writing systems and natural language processing.

In January’s open round, 1,506 students from across the U.S. and Canada competed at more than 200 university and high school sites. Wesley was among the 10 percent who qualified to participate in the invitational round on March 7.

The two rounds featured problems about Maltese, Ndebele, Catio, Lopit, Mongolian, Hanunó'o, Witsuwit’en, Mayangna, Vietnamese, Afrihili, Róng, Sranan Tongo, Polish, as well as computational topics, such as synchronic Begriffsschrift formulas, natural language inference, disambiguation, and character-level language modeling.

Wesley is among the top eight U.S. students who will compete in the International Linguistics Olympiad (IOL) in South Korea this summer. The IOL will involve an individual competition, structured similarly to NACLO, as well as a team round in which team members collaborate to solve a more in-depth linguistics challenge.

The IOL has grown from six countries in its founding year 2003 to 35 in 2018. The U.S. has participated since 2007.