Decision making processes, be it at the societal or at the personal level, eventually come to a point where one side will challenge the other with a why-question, which is a prompt to justify one's stance. Thus, technologies for argument mining and argumentation processing are maturing at a rapid pace, giving rise for the first time to argument retrieval. We invite you to participate in the first lab on argument retrieval at CLEF 2020 (paper) featuring two tasks. [video]

Shared Tasks

Important Dates

  • March 31, 2020: Early bird software submission.
  • April 26, 2020: Registration closes.
  • June 1, 2020 (was May 5): Approaches submission deadline.
  • July 17, 2020 (was May 24): Participant paper submission.
  • August 3, 2020: Evaluation results out. Leaderboard: [argument retrieval for controversial questions] [argument-retrieval-for-comparative-questions]
  • August 14, 2020 (was June 14): Peer review notification.
  • August 28, 2020 (was June 28): Camera-ready participant papers submission.
  • September 19, 2020: Conference registration closes.
  • September 22-25, 2020: Conference.
  • September 23, 2020: Workshop Touché (online) starts at 15:00 CEST.

All deadlines are 23:59 CEST.


Yufang Hou
Argument Retrieval in Project Debater

IBM Research Europe, Dublin

Project Debater is the first AI system that can meaningfully debate humans on complex topics. As an IBM grand challenge, the system can help people build persuasive arguments and make well-informed decisions. In this talk, first Yufang will briefly tell the story of Project Debater from an industry researcher's perspective. Then she will focus on its underlying technology on argument retrieval.

Yufang is a research scientist at IBM Research. She was a member of Project Debater. Her research interests include anaphora resolution, computational argumentation and information extraction from scientific literature. Yufang published 25 peer-reviewed articles in these areas. She serves as an area chair at EACL 2021 and is a member of the standing review committee of TACL. Yufang received her Ph.D. in Computational Linguistics from Heidelberg University in 2015.

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Annette Hautli-Janisz
Debate Technology for Empowering the Public: Insights and Avenues

University of Konstanz, Department of Linguistics

This talk revolves around debate technology as a way to track and analyze the process of public decision-making, the exchange of arguments, and the stance of individual participants to the points raised in a debate. Annette will present some of the insights for implementing such a real-time system in the general public and give an overview of the key linguistic properties in natural, spontaneous communication and the challenges and opportunities related to it for mining dialogue structures. A particular focus will be on conventional implicatures that is crucial in this respect: They are highly frequent in natural communication and offer strong signals of propositional boundaries and inter-propositional relationships - the two key aspects of argumentation mining. Annette will also showcase how an interdisciplinary collaboration with Visual Analytics allows us to explore the dynamics of this type of communication on a large scale and conclude with an outlook on the potential for public debate technology in other scenarios (e.g., public service encounters, education platforms) and some of the ways with which NLP can empower the general public.

Annette Hautli-Janisz is a PostDoc at the Department of Linguistics at the University of Konstanz and an associate member of the Center for Argument and Technology (ARG-tech) at the University of Dundee, UK. She is PI in (and coordinator of) ADD-up, an international research project on augmenting deliberative democracy, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation from 2017 to 2021. She also leads the Steinbeis Transfer Center "Linguistic Data Analysis". Her main research focus lies on the linguistic foundations of arguments in real, multi-party dialogue and the exploration and interpretation of linguistic information with Visual Analytics systems.

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Touché's program is part of the CLEF 2020 conference program. [video]

September, 23 (all times are CEST)
Touché: Argument Retrieval Workshop will be held online
15:00-15:10 Touché 2020 Welcome [slides]
15:10-16:30 Session 1: Conversational Argument Retrieval
15:10-15:40 Keynote: Argument Retrieval in Project Debater [slides]
Yufang Hou (IBM Research Europe, Dublin)
15:40-15:50 Overview of Task 1 on Conversational Argument Retrieval [slides]
15:50-16:00 Exploring Argument Retrieval with Transformers (paper presentation) [slides]
Christopher Akiki
16:00-16:10 Ranking Arguments by Combining Claim Similarity and Argument Quality Dimensions (paper presentation) [slides]
Lorik Dumani and Ralf Schenkel
16:10-16:30 Lightning talks [slides]
Touché Task 1 participants
16:30-17:00 Break
17:00-18:30 Session 2: Comparative Argument Retrieval
17:00-17:25 Keynote: Debate Technology for Empowering the Public: Insights and Avenues [slides]
Annette Hautli-Janisz (University of Konstanz)
17:25-17:35 Overview of Task 2 on Comparative Argument Retrieval [slides]
17:35-17:45 Retrieving Comparative Arguments using Deep Pre-trained Language Models and NLU (paper presentation) [slides]
Viktoriia Chekalina and Alexander Panchenko
17:45-17:55 University of Amsterdam at CLEF 2020 (paper presentation)
Mahsa S. Shahshahani and Jaap Kamps
17:55-18:05 Lightning talks [slides]
Touché Task 2 participants
18:05-18:30 Panel discussion and closing remarks [slides]

Organizing Committee