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Utah High School Student Participates in NACLO Invitational Round

Josephine Holubkov, a student at West High School, placed 23rd out of 160 participants in this year’s North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO) invitational round. NACLO is a contest in which high-school students solve linguistic puzzles. In solving these puzzles, students learn about the diversity and consistency of language, while exercising logic skills. No prior knowledge of linguistics or second languages is necessary.

The NACLO contest has two stages, an Open Round and an Invitational Round. Students solve problems in language analysis drawn from languages around the world. In the Open Round of the Olympiad held on January 26, 2017, 1509 students from across the U.S. and Canada competed at more than 200 university and high school sites. The Open Round featured problems about Tschiluba, Vietnamese, Turkish and Persian, Tamil, Central Alaskan Yup’ik, as well as neural networks, regular expressions, and finite-state transducers. A total of 160 students (the top 10% of participants) participated in the Invitational Round on March 9, 2017. The Invitational round included ten problems on topics and languages such as Basque, Norwegian, Abkhaz, Māori, Bulgarian, Khakas, Proto-Algonquian, as well as rewriting automata, context-based semantic inference, and recursive grammars.

Holubkov is interested in biology, chemistry, linguistics, and learning as many languages as she can. She plans to compete in the upcoming 2018 NACLO, and is interested in starting a NACLO club at her school to get other students involved in future competitions.

For more information about NACLO, visit

Last Updated: 6/29/17