At the 49th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies in Portland Oregon, Eugene Charniak was presented with the 2011 ACL Lifetime Achievement Award.
The award, presented annually since 2002, is given for scientific achievement, of both theoretical and applied nature, in the field of Computational Linguistics. Each year's winner is a well-kept secret until the closing plenary session of the Annual Conference, held this year on June 24. The recipient then gives the closing talk of the conference.
Eugene is the ninth recipient of this prestigious award.
Typically, award recipients give talks about what guided their research over the course of their career. Instead, Eugene gave a talk titled, "The Brain as a Statistical Information Processor" for more than 1,000 attendees. His presentation made a case for the idea that computational linguistics has become cognitive psychology of higher level functioning.