CoNLL 2016 Shared Task

Multilingual Shallow Discourse Parsing

Task period : January 15 - April 24, 2016
CoNLL Conference : August 11 - 12, 2016 in Berlin, Germany

Multilingual Shallow Discourse Parsing

This is the 2nd edition of the CoNLL Shared Task on Shallow Discourse Parsing, following the first edition in 2015. A participant system is given a piece of newswire text as input and returns discourse relations in the form of a discourse connective (explicit or implicit) taking two arguments (which can be clauses, sentences, or multi-sentence segments). Specifically, the participant system needs to

  1. locate both explicit (e.g., "because", "however") discourse connectives in the text
  2. identify the spans of text that serve as the two arguments for each discourse connective
  3. predict the sense of the discourse connectives (e.g., "Cause", "Contrast")
Recognizing such discourse relations is an important part of natural language understanding, which benefits a wide range of natural language applications. More detail and examples.

What's new this year?

There are a few things. More detail will be provided later.
  • You can choose to do the task in English and/or Chinese.
  • You can choose to do the supplementary task, which is sense classification using gold standard argument pairs
  • Evaluation based on argument partial matching

Official blind test sets in English and Chinese

The task has already concluded. We have released the blind test sets used in English and Chinese.

Joining the shared task

The instructions are the same whether you would like to participate in both languages and/or just the supplementary task.
  1. Complete the registration form (one per team)
  2. Submit the license agreement form to LDC
  3. Download the data from the link, which LDC will send to you after a few days
  4. Check out the resources that might be useful
  5. Login to the evaluation platform on using your credential, which we will send to you
  6. Clone/fork from our github repo and familiarize yourself with the data format
  7. Start developing the parser

Stay updated

Updates and announcements will be made through the task forum. You should also read our weekly blog posts for tips, literature reviews, and interesting stuff related to discourse parsing. Last year blog might also be of interest.


  • January 15, 2016: Task begins
  • February 29, 2016: Last day to join the task
  • By April 29, 2016: Test sets available
  • May 8, 2016 (11:59PM UTC/GMT-10): System submission deadline
  • May 16, 2016: Results announced to participants
  • May 25, 2016 (11:59PM UTC/GMT-10) : System papers due.
  • June 1, 2016: Reviews due.
  • June 8, 2016: Notification of acceptance.
  • June 15, 2016: Camera-ready version of system papers due.
  • Aug 11-12, 2016: CoNLL conference (Berlin, Germany, colocated with ACL).