EMNLP 2015: Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing — September 17–21, 2015 — Lisbon, Portugal.


Local Arrangements


EMNLP 2015 will take place at Culturgest, a cultural foundation located at the heart of the city of Lisbon. More details about the venue, about hotels, restaurants and attractions located nearby, and about general travel details, will be posted closer to the conference date.

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Social Events

EMNLP 2015 will feature welcome and farewell receptions, respectively on the 18th of September (second day of the conference) and on the 21st of September (the last day of the conference). These receptions will take place at Culturgest, the main conference venue. EMNLP 2015 will also feature a conference banquet, on Sunday the 20th of September, which will take place at Páteo Alfacinha, in the Ajuda area of Lisbon. Transportation to Páteo Alfacinha will be arranged.

Páteo Alfacinha was created in 1981, featuring several spaces typical from the beginning of XX century Lisbon: a chapel, a barber shop, a tavern, a bakery, a pub, an antiquary, and houses for the “alfacinhas” (inhabitants of Lisbon). Nowadays, Páteo Alfacinha remains a multifaceted place, with restaurants and facilities for events such as EMNLP's conference banquet.

About Lisbon

Situated in the west coast of Portugal, where the Tagus river meets the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and the westernmost capital in mainland Europe. The light, the atmosphere, and the climate offer marvelous walks all over the city. Lisbon is an extremely lively city, with a wealth of cultural events happening every day, and a vibrant nightlife.

A huge selection of restaurants is available, featuring Portuguese and international cuisine. Many affordable accommodation options are also available.

The public transportation system is far-reaching and reliable, and has the Metro (subway) as its main backbone. Lisbon can also be easily reached by daily direct flights from major international cities. The city stretches along the northern bank of the river Tejo as it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. There are several beaches a few minutes away from the center. As the terrain rises north away from the water, steep streets and stairways from the old tangled neighborhoods or give way to green parks in the western suburbs.

The city has also experienced a renaissance in recent years, with a contemporary culture that is alive and thriving and making its mark in today's Europe. Perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is one of the rare Western European cities that face the ocean and uses water as an element that defines the city. Lisbon enchants travelers with its white bleached limestone buildings, intimate alleyways, and an easy going charm that makes it a popular year round destination.

This video provides some background on what to expect.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Lisbon?

Lisbon is located on the coast of Portugal, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, west central Portugal and at the mouth of the Tagus River. The city is the westernmost capital of a mainland European country. Portugal itself lies at mainland Europe’s western most point, where the inland Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean, and is simultaneously the western coast of the Iberian Peninsula with Spain as its sole land border. More information is available on the Wikipedia article on Lisbon, and also on the Wikitravel article about Lisbon.

Where is the conference venue?

EMNLP 2015 will take place at Culturgest, a foundation with an important place in Lisbon’s cultural scene, located right at the heart of the city and close to Instituto Superior Técnico, the Engineering School of the University of Lisbon. Culturgest is physically located at the head building of Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD), an important Portuguese state bank. The foundation is a part of the bank itself, and it features exhibition centers, showrooms, and rooms for theater, cinema or meetings, on the underground floors of CGD's head building.

Culturgest regularly offers some of the best cultural activities in town, with a programme that consists of an eclectic mix of exhibitions, cinema cycles, concerts, conferences and dance performances, all at very affordable prices with discounts for students & people under 30/over 65. The foundation also supplies services to other companies, hiring out its facilities for performances, conferences, meetings and other events, specifically maintaining close links with schools, universities and other educational institutions.

Have you planned to connect people attending the conference?

An e-mail discussion group for EMNLP 2015 has been created, with the aim of connecting people attending the conference (e.g., for helping students to arrange for accommodation on a shared basis, for supporting the exchange of tips on local restaurants and attractions, or for supporting general discussions about the conference). Fell free to join the discussion group.

How is the weather like in Lisbon?

Lisbon enjoys a warm climate, with mild winters and very warm summers. Strongly influenced by the Gulf Stream it has one of the mildest climates in Europe. Among all the metropolises in Europe, here are the warmest winters on the continent, with average temperatures above 15.2 °C (59.4 °F) during the day and 8.9 °C (48.0 °F) at night in the period from December to February. The typical Summer lasts about 6 months, from May to October, with an average temperature of 25 °C (77 °F) during the day and 16.2 °C (61.2 °F) at night. Rain occurs mainly in winter, the summers being generally dry.

Specifically in September, the weather in Lisbon is mild, with an average high of 26.5 °C (79.7 °F) and a low of 17.6 °C (63.7 °F). The precipitation values for the month of September are of 32.9 mm (1.295 inches).

How safe is Lisbon?

Lisbon is a very safe city, although you should use common sense precautions, especially at train stations and on public transport. According to the Global Peace Index from 2014, Portugal is ranked #18, ahead of many other European countries. (References: Institute for Economics and Peace and Wikipedia)

What is there to do in Lisbon?

There is plenty to keep you busy in Lisbon. The westerner southern European capital is probably one of the most beautiful, breathtaking and not overwhelmingly touristy world-class cities, with plenty of history and architectural gems, great food, extremely friendly people and unbeatable good weather. Some highlights include:

For more info, please consult:

How do I get around in Lisbon?

Lisbon has a very efficient public transport network that covers the entire city in addition to the surrounding areas. Lisbon's recently refurbished metro system is clean, quick, and efficient. While metro announcements are made only in Portuguese, signs and ticketing machines are generally bilingual in Portuguese and English. The extensive bus and electrico (tram) network is run by Carris.

The best and, in many cases, the sole way to pay for city transport is buying a rechargeable green-colored card 7 Colinas (Viva Viagem). It is valid for metro, trams (electrico), urban trains, most buses and ferries. The exception is buses run not by Carris—other bus companies have their own tickets. The card itself can be purchased for €0.50 (this price doesn't include any trips—add as many trips as you want), and remains valid for a year.

Taxis are also widely available. They are usually cream in colour, although there are still some painted black with a green roof in the traditional Portuguese style. The fare is shown on the taximeter and the prices are usually affixed inside the car, or you can ask the driver about them. If you phone for a taxi you have to pay an extra 0.80 euros. There is a charge of 1.60 euros for luggage, regardless of weight or the number of pieces. Carry cots, pushchairs, wheelchairs and walking aids are carried free of charge. Outside towns, transport by taxi is paid per kilometre, and the passenger is informed of the amount in advance. Where they exist, the passenger has to pay the road tolls there and back.

If your accommodation is in the center of Lisbon, walking or cycling are both great alternatives. Many of the attractions of the city, such as the Castelo and the Alfama and Bairro Alto districts, are within easy walking distance of the Baixa.

People visiting Lisbon can use a national licence from any country to drive a car, although licences issued in some countries are not valid in Portugal beyond a fixed period. Licences issued by EU and EEA countries are valid in Portugal, and need not be exchanged while they remain valid. Driving should nonetheless be avoided within the city, due to the busy traffic and narrow streets. Traffic drives on the right in Portugal and international traffic signs are used. The minimum age for driving is 18 years. Speed limits are 120kph (74mph) on motorways, 90kph (56mph) outside built-up areas, and 50kph (30mph) in towns.

Do I need to know Portuguese to get around?

While Portuguese is the official language, English is also widely spoken, particularly among students and by all people who work within the tourist industry. Traffic signs on the roads, and general signs and ticketing machines on the public transportation network are usually bilingual in Portuguese and English, although metro announcements are made only in Portuguese.

If you want to learn a few important phrases, you can have a look here:

Getting to Lisbon, visas and immigration

What are the best transportation options for getting to Lisbon?

Lisbon is just a few hours flying away: 6-8 hours from North America and 2-3 hours from most European cities. The Lisbon airport is located seven kilometres (four miles) north of the city center and is served by major international airlines.

The national airline is TAP Air Portugal. TAP Portugal has agreed with the local committee to offer a discount to the participants (10% in economy class and 20% in business class) who make their flight booking and buy their ticket exclusively through TAP Portugal’s website. The code IT15TPCG68 has been given to this event and must be mentioned when making the booking, in order to benefit from the discount. For more information, please refer to the section with important travel information.

The Lisbon airport is only 10-15 minutes away from the city center and from the conference venue. For ground transportation, there are several bus lines and a subway connection (red line) from the airport to the city center.

For those coming by road, the A1 highway (auto-estrada do Norte) extends from Porto to Lisbon and the A8 arrives from destinations to the north and west of the city. The A9 bypasses Lisbon, connecting the A1, A8 and the A5, which links Lisbon with Cascais and the beaches. The A2 highway (auto-estrada do Sul) arrives from the Algarve via Almada and the 25 de Abril bridge. The A12 crosses the Vasco da Gama bridge, offering a less congested route into the city.

What are the formalities for entering Portugal?

Citizens of the European Union, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Romania and Switzerland need only an identity card to enter Portugal.

For visits of less than 90 days, a passport valid for at least three months after the end of their stay is necessary for visitors from Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Special Administrative Regions of the People’s Republic of China in Hong Kong and Macao and Taiwan territorial Authority.

Citizens from countries not mentioned above need a visa to enter Portugal, which may for instance be requested at the Portuguese Embassy or Consulate of their country for stays of up to 90 days.

How can I apply for a visa?

Attendees from several countries will need a visa or other forms of travel authorization for entry into Portugal. It is advisable to check the information available from the Portuguese Immigration Authority, and to check how the regulations apply to travelers in advance. For more information, please refer to the visa information section.

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