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Speech and Language Processing Technical Committee Newsletter

November 2012

Welcome to the Winter 2012 edition of the IEEE Speech and Language Processing Technical Committee's Newsletter! In this issue we are focusing on news from recent conferences (such as MLSLP and SANE) and workshops (such as Telluride and NIST TRECVID). This issue of the newsletter includes 9 articles from 9 guest contributors, and our own staff reporters and editors. Thank you all for your contributions!

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 submit job postings here, and reach us at speechnewseds [at] listserv (dot) ieee [dot] org.

We'd like to recruit more reporters: if you are still a PhD student or graduated recently and interested in contributing to our newsletter, please email us (speechnewseds [at] listserv (dot) ieee [dot] org) with applications. The workload includes helping with the reviews of submissions and writing occasional reports for the Newsletter. Finally, to subscribe to the Newsletter, send an email with the command "subscribe speechnewsdist" in the message body to listserv [at] listserv (dot) ieee [dot] org.

Dilek Hakkani-Tür, Editor-in-chief
William Campbell, Editor
Patrick Nguyen, Editor
Martin Russell, Editor


From the SLTC and IEEE

From the IEEE SLTC chair

John Hansen

CFPs, Jobs, and Announcements

Calls for papers, proposals, and participation

Edited by William Campbell

Job advertisements

Edited by William Campbell


Speech and Language Processing for Educational Applications

Klaus Zechner

This article provides a brief overview of the history, current state-of-the-art, and anticipated future trends in the areas of speech and language technology for educational applications. It also provides some examples of seminal applications in the field.


MLSLP 2012 brings together speech, natural language processing, and machine learning researchers

Karen Livescu

The 2nd Symposium on Machine Learning in Speech and Language Processing (MLSLP) was recently held as a satellite workshop of Interspeech 2012 in Portland on September 14.


Increasing Popularity of Speech and Audio Event Recognition in Unconstrained Multimedia Data

Case Study: NIST TRECVID Multimedia Event Detection Evaluations

Murat Akbacak

Due to the popularity of online user-submitted videos, multimedia content analysis and event modeling for the purposes of event detection and retrieval is getting more and more attention from the speech and audio processing communities. As the amount of online multimedia data is increasing every day, and the users' search needs are changing from simple content search (e.g., find me today's Giants videos) to more sophisticated searches (e.g., find me this week's Giants home-run video snippets), speech and audio components are becoming more important as they convey complimentary and richer information to image/video content. In this article, we will talk about the increasing popularity of speech recognition and audio event recognition technologies for multimedia content analysis. We will also present the challenges as well as the ongoing research efforts in these two fields by using Multimedia Event Detection (MED) track of NIST TRECVID evaluations as our case study.


A Glimpse of IEEE SLT 2012

Ruhi Sarikaya and Yang Liu

The fourth biannual IEEE SLT workshop will be in Miami, Dec 2-5, 2012. Full preparation for the workshop is currently underway, and the conference program has been finalized. The accepted papers cover a wide range of topics in spoken language technology, ranging from speech recognition to various language understanding applications.

Pay Attention, Please:
Attention at the Telluride Neuromorphic Cognition Workshop

Malcolm Slaney

The role of attention is growing in importance as speech recognition moves into more challenging environments. This article briefly describes recent projects on attention at the Telluride Neuromorphic Cognition Workshop. These projects have studied different parts of attention in a short, focused, working workshop, using EEG signals to "listen" to a subject's brain and decode which of two speech signals s/he was attending.

The 10th Information Technology Society Conference on Speech Communication

David Suendermann

This article provides a short review of the 10th Information Technology Society Conference on Speech Communication held in Braunschweig, Germany, September 26 to 28. Organized by a primarily German scientific committee, the conference has grown very selective with a good number of major contributors in the field (e.g. the keynote speaker Steve Young and at least five more SLTC members involved as organizers, chairs, etc.). Sessions spanned a wide range of domains such as Spoken Language Processing, Speech Information Retrieval, Robust Speech Recognition, or Automotive Speech Applications, and were hosted at the Braunschweig University of Technology, well-known for Carl Friedrich Gauss, former professor at this university.


SANE Conference Overview

Tara N. Sainath

The Speech and Audio in the Northeast (SANE) Conference was held on October 24, 2012 at Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL) in Cambridge, MA. The goal of this meeting was to gather researchers and students in speech and audio from the northeast American continent.


Unfamiliar applications of some familiar techniques

Martin Russell, Chris Baber, Manish Parekh and Emilie Jean-Baptiste

This article considers applications in other domains, of techniques that are familiar in the context of speech and language processing. The focus is the EU CogWatch project, although there are many other examples. Do technique such as hidden Markov models (HMMs) lend themselves naturally to these new domains, or is it just an instance of Maslow's hammer, or perhaps (apologies to Maslow) a variant that should be referred to as Maslow's HMMer - "I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a HMM, to treat everything as if it were speech recognition"? This article briefly explores this issue and argues that this is not the case, that these methods are appropriate because of the nature of the problems, that these new applications can benefit from the experience and investment of the speech and language research community, and that, conversely, challenges in these new areas might give new insights into difficult speech and language processing problems.


Grounding and Levels of Understanding in Human-Computer Dialogue

Matthew Marge

Spoken dialogue system researchers have adopted theoretical models of human conversation; this article describes one theory of human-human communication and its adaptation to human-computer communication.



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