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Speech and Language Processing Technical Committee Newsletter

July 2009

Welcome to the Summer 2009 edition of the IEEE Speech and Language Processing Technical Committee's Newsletter.

In this issue we are pleased to provide another installment of brief articles representing a diversity of views and backgrounds. We are delighted to feature articles from guest contributors Paolo Baggia, Alan W. Black, Honza Cernocky, Maxine Eskenazi, Tina Kohler, Catherine Lai, James A. Larson, Matthew Marge, V. John Mathews, Ali H. Sayed, K. W. "Bill" Scholz, Matt Speed, Marcel Waeltermann, and Steve Young. We are also, as ever, pleased to provide articles from our staff reporters, Satanjeev "Bano" Banerjee, Svetlana Stoyanchev, Antonio Roque, Annie Louis, and Filip Jurcicek. And once again, Chuck Wooters has assembled a comprehensive list of CFPs and job postings.

Also, in this issue we will conduct a trial of a new feature: reader comments. At the bottom of each of the articles in this issue, readers will be able to comment on articles. Comments will be screened by the editors to ensure they are appropriate and on-topic. If this experiment is successful, we hope to make this feature permanent. Thanks to Rupal Bhatt at the Signal Processing Society for implementing this feature for us.

We believe the newsletter is an ideal forum for updates, reports, announcements and editorials which don't fit well with traditional journals. We welcome your contributions, as well as calls for papers, job announcements, comments and suggestions. You can reach us at speechnewseds [at] listserv (dot) ieee [dot] org.

Finally, to subscribe the Newsletter, send an email with the command "subscribe speechnewsdist" in the message body to listserv [at] listserv (dot) ieee [dot] org.

Jason Williams, Editor-in-chief
Pino Di Fabbrizio, Editor
Chuck Wooters, Editor

From the SLTC and IEEE

IEEE Signal Processing Society Awards: Do they matter?

Steve Young

Identifying suitable candidates, and then putting together a strong supporting case for an award takes considerable time and effort. So is it worth it?.

IEEE-THEMES: A New Kind of Conference from the Signal Processing Society

V. John Mathews and Ali H. Sayed

IEEE Thematic Meetings on Signal Processing (IEEE-THEMES) are a new series of one-day meetings, devoted to a specific theme. The first meeting will explore Signal and Information Processing for Social Networking, and be held on March 15, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.

CFPs, Jobs, and book announcements

Calls for papers, proposals, and participation

Edited by Chuck Wooters

Job advertisements

Edited by Chuck Wooters

Book announcements

Edited by Jason Williams


CoNLL-2009 Shared Task

Filip Jurcicek

Results from the shared task evaluation of the Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL-2009) were presented in Boulder, CO, USA at June 4-5, 2009. Shared tasks have a long tradition at CoNLL and it already was the 11th task for which the organizers provided common task definition, data, and evaluation. In 2009, the shared task was dedicated to the joint parsing of syntactic and semantic dependencies in multiple languages.

The 2009 NIST Language Recognition Evaluation

Tina Kohler

The U.S. National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) sponsored a language recognition evaluation in Spring 2009. This article describes the evaluation tasks, data, participant algorithms, and results.

Multilingual Models for NLP

Annie Louis

Ambiguity in language is problematic for NLP systems. However, what is ambiguous in one language might be unambiguous in another. This benefit forms the motivation for a multilingual framework to perform disambiguation in several language tasks and this approach has often found to yield considerable improvements over results using monolingual features. This article surveys a suite of multilingual models that have been discussed in some of the most recent work presented at the NAACL and EACL conferences this year.

Speech Application Student Contest

K. W. "Bill" Scholz and James A. Larson

AVIOS sponsors an annual speech application contest for college students. Student participation is ensured by offering substantial prizes funded by multiple corporate sponsors. Participants are encouraged to select from a variety of platforms including hosted and desktop VXML platforms, desktop speech APIs, multimodal environments, and smartphone-resident development suites. Contest judges use systematically developed evaluation criteria to rank contestant's entries. Since its inception in 2006, over 60 students from 4 countries have demonstrated their creativity, submitting applications ranging from children's games to an appointment manager, a communication tutorial, and even a calorie counter!

Louis Pols, Lauri Karttunen, and Jean-Paul Haton talk to Saras Institute

Matt Speed, Catherine Lai, and Marcel Waeltermann

We continue the series of excerpts of interviews from the History of Speech and Language Technology Project. In these segments Louis Pols, Lauri Karttunen, and Jean-Paul Haton discuss how they became involved with the field of speech and language technology.

Speech and Language Technology as a Hearing Aid

Svetlana Stoyanchev

This article gives an overview of speech and multimodal technology used to help people with hearing disabilities. One of the described methods uses visualization and natural language processing techniques. The other method involves an invasive procedure that enables deaf people to gain the ability to hear.

Updates in Voice Browsing and Multimodal Interaction

Paolo Baggia

This piece reviews the formative role of the W3C in language technology standards in the past decade, and its current activities which are shaping future standards.

Speech Transcription using Amazon Mechanical Turk Rivaling Traditional Transcription Methods

Satanjeev Banerjee and Matthew Marge

Amazon's Mechanical Turk offers an opportunity to lower the cost of manual transcription while maintaining relatively high quality.

The Spoken Dialog Challenge

Alan W Black and Maxine Eskenazi

We announce a Spoken Dialogue Challenge (SDC) for the spoken dialogue community. After listening to discussions on the need for better assessment and comparison of work at venues like SigDIAL and the Young Researchers' Roundtable on Spoken Dialogue Systems we have taken on the responsibility of running a Spoken Dialogue Challenge for the whole community with the aid of a group of advisors who are seasoned researchers in our field.

Brno University of Technology detecting OOVs in DIRAC project

Honza Cernocky

OOVs (out of vocabulary words) are truly the nightmare of large vocabulary speech recognition. Researchers of Speech@FIT group at Brno University of Technology are focusing their research effort on the detection of OOVs by combining the posterior probabilities generated by strongly and weakly constrained recognizers.

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