Analyzing and interpreting neural networks for NLP

Revealing the content of the neural black box: workshop on the analysis and interpretation of neural networks for Natural Language Processing.

BlackboxNLP 2020: Analyzing and interpreting neural networks for NLP – An EMNLP 2020 Workshop

BlackboxNLP 2020 is the third BlackboxNLP workshop. The programme and proceedings of the previous editions, which were held at EMNLP 2018 and ACL 2019, can be found here and here.

Workshop description

Neural networks have rapidly become a central component in NLP systems in the last few years. The improvement in accuracy and performance brought by the introduction of neural networks has typically come at the cost of our understanding of the system: How do we assess what the representations and computations are that the network learns? The goal of this workshop is to bring together people who are attempting to peek inside the neural network black box, taking inspiration from machine learning, psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

This year, we especially encourage submissions that compare multiple techniques to target a specific research question or that perform careful evaluation of interpretation methods.


We call for two types of papers:

  1. Archival papers. These are papers reporting on completed, original and unpublished research, with a maximum length of 8 pages + references. Papers shorter than this maximum are also welcome. Accepted papers are expected to be presented at the workshop and will be published in the workshop proceedings. They should report on obtained results rather than intended work. These papers will undergo double-blind peer-review, and should thus be anonymized.
  2. Extended abstracts. These may report on work in progress or may be cross submissions that have already appeared in a non-NLP venue. The extended abstracts are of maximum 2 pages + references. These submissions are non-archival in order to allow submission to another venue. The selection will not be based on a double-blind review and thus submissions of this type need not be anonymized.

Both papers and abstracts should follow the official EMNLP 2020 style guidelines and should be submitted via softconf:

Dual submissions

Dual submissions with the main conference are allowed, but authors must declare dual submission by entering the paper’s main conference submission id. The reviews for the submission for the main conference will be automatically forwarded to the workshop and taken into consideration when your paper is evaluated. Authors of dual-submission papers accepted to the main conference should retract them from the workshop by September 15.

Shared Interpretation Mission

BlackboxNLP 2020 will feature the first edition of the Shared Interpretation Mission. This is an event designed based on shared tasks. However, its goal is not to find a best-performing system for a well-defined problem but rather to encourage the development of useful, creative analysis techniques that would help us better understand existing models. More details and intermediate important dates are available here.

Important dates

Note: All deadlines are 11:59PM UTC-12:00.