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Pioneering Speech Recognition

Speech recognition research and development has been going strong at IBM for almost 50 years. Throughout that time, more than 200 IBMers have contributed to the significant advancements in this field. Here are some of the key players over the years, as well as the IBM employees who are currently working in the field at IBM Research labs around the world.

  • Frederick Jelinek 

    Frederick Jelinek
    “Every time I fire a linguist, the performance of the speech recognizer goes up.”

    Frederick Jelinek was born in Kladno, Czechoslovakia, in 1932, and emigrated to the United States in 1949. Jelinek finished high school in New York City and took electrical engineering classes at the City College of New York. There he excelled and went on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he earned a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and PhD. He taught at MIT, Harvard and Cornell before joining IBM in 1972. At IBM, Jelinek was head of the Continuous Speech Recognition group at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center, where he and his team revolutionized approaches to speech recognition and machine translation. In 1993, he retired from IBM and went to Johns Hopkins University, where he was director of the Center for Language and Speech Processing and the Julian Sinclair Smith Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Jelinek passed away in 2010.

  • William C. Dersch 

    William C. Dersch
    Dersch once said he hoped speech recognition systems could one day understand as many as 1000 to 10,000 words.

    IBM engineer William C. Dersch developed the Shoebox at IBM’s Advanced Systems Development Division Laboratory in San Jose, California. He personally demonstrated the Shoebox at the IBM Pavilion of the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle.

  • Genung L. Clapper 

    Genung L. Clapper

    Genung L. Clapper was an IBM Fellow and speech recognition researcher, who pioneered the art of voice recognition in many ways and earned several patents throughout the 1960s and ’70s for his inventions related to speech recognition. At one time, he had more patents than any other IBM employee.

  • David Nahamoo 

    Dr. David Nahamoo

    David Nahamoo is the Speech Chief Technology Officer at IBM Research. He received a B.S. degree from Tehran University, Iran, an M.S. from Imperial College of London, England, and his Ph.D. in 1982 from Purdue University in Indiana; all of his studies were in electrical engineering. He is responsible for IBM Research technical and business strategy directions for speech technologies. He provides technical direction for Conversational and Multimodal Interaction Technologies as well Speech-To-Text and Speaker Verification Technologies at IBM Research Labs worldwide. He joined IBM in 1982 as a Research Staff Member. Since then, he has held a number of positions in the organization including Manager, Speech Recognition Modeling and Interim General Manager, Speech Business Unit. In 1993, he was appointed Senior Manager of the Human Language Technologies Group, of which he became the Department Group Manager in 1998. From 1993 to 2006, he was responsible for delivering speech technologies to IBM Divisions for desktop, embedded, and server-based speech products. During these years, he managed a team of 60 scientists at IBM Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York and a team of 20 researchers and developers in Prague. Dr. Nahamoo was appointed an IBM Fellow in May of 2008 and holds more than 40 patents.

  • Michael Picheny 

    Dr. David Nahamoo

    Michael Picheny is the Senior Manager of the Speech and Language Algorithms Group at the IBM TJ Watson Research Center. Michael has worked in the Speech Recognition area since 1981, joining IBM after finishing his doctorate at MIT. He has been heavily involved in the development of almost all of IBM’s recognition systems, ranging from the world’s first real-time large vocabulary discrete system through IBM’s current product lines for telephony and embedded systems. He has published numerous papers in both journals and conferences on almost all aspects of speech recognition. He has received several awards from IBM for his work, including three outstanding Technical Achievement Awards and two Research Division Awards, and most recently, a Corporate Award. He is the co-holder of over 40 patents and was named a Master Inventor by IBM in 1995 and again in 2000. Michael served as an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing from 1986-1989, was the chairman of theSpeech Technical Committee of the IEEE Signal Processing Society from 2002-2004, and is a Fellow of the IEEE. He served as an Adjunct Professor in the Electrical Engineering Department of Columbia University in the fall of 2009 and co-taught a course in speech recognition. He is currently a member of the board of ISCA(International Speech Communication Association) and is a co-organizer of the upcoming 2011 IEEE Automatic Speech Recognition and Understanding workshop.

  • Raimo Bakis 

    Ramio Bakis

    Dr. Raimo Bakis joined IBM Research in 1959 and began working on speech recognition. He and other colleagues developed what may have been the first software-only speech recognition system. This work used statistical techniques, but some colleagues dismissed it as “brute-force number crunching—not science.” Not long after, management shut down the effort, arguing that computing hardware was not yet ready for such massive projects. They were right, but only for the time being. Raimo then worked on Optical Character Recognition for a few years. In 1971, he was asked to be part of a task force to study the possibility of speech recognition as a suitable application focus for the tremendous computational power that was beginning to emerge. The task force resoundingly recommended that speech recognition was an ideal compute-intensive application, and the speech recognition work at IBM was (re)born. Another early breakthrough of Raimo was the development of what is now known as the “Bakis Model” for speech recognition. It was a revolutionary concept for modeling entire words rather discrete sounds. Today, 35 years later, speech recognition systems are nothing more than glorified Bakis Models, albeit with orders-of-magnitude greater parameters. Since then, Raimo pioneered a series of novel acoustic models for speech recognition, and worked on speech synthesis from 2001 to his retirement in 2006. He is currently working with the team on conversational speech systems.

  • IBM Watson Research Lab 

    Following are the people currently working on speech and related areas at the Thomas J. Watson Research Lab: Abhinav Sethy, Andrzej Sakrajda, Andy Aaron, Bhuvana Ramabhadran, Bowen Zhou, Cezar Pendus, Brian Kingsbury, Cheng Wu, David Lubensky, David Nahamoo, Dimitri Kanevsky, E E Jan, Etienne Marcheret, George Saon, Gregg Daggett, Hagen Soltau, Hong-kwang Kuo, Jason W Pelecanos, Jerome L Quinn, Jing Huang, Jiri Navratil, John Pitrelli, Juan Huerta, Larry Sansone, Leiming R Qian, Leonid Rachevsky, Lidia Mangu, Martin Cmejrek, Martin Franz, Max Tahir, Michael Picheny, Miroslav Novak, Mohamed K Omar, Osamuyi Stewart, Peder A Olsen, Pierre Dognin, Raimo Bakis, Rajesh Balchandran, Raul Fernandez, Ruhi Sarikaya, Salim Roukos, Sameer Maskey, Sasha P Caskey, Shanchan Wu, Stanley Chen, Stephen Chu, Steven Rennie, Tara N Sainath, Todd Ward, Tony Lee, Upendra V Chaudhari, Vaibhava Goel, Wei Zhang and Xiaodong Cui.

  • IBM Prague Research Lab 

    Following are the people currently working on speech and related areas at the Prague Research Lab: Tomas Beran, Vladimir Bergl, Milos Cernak, Jan Curin, Martin Fanta, Petr Fousek, Jiri Havelka, Michal Juza, Radek Kazbunda, Jan Kleindienst, Jakub Krchak, Pavel Kveton, Martin Labsky, Jan Macek, Tomas Macek, Michal Mylek, Petr Novak, Roman Otec, Ondrej Pejchal, Otakar Smrz and Josef Vopicka.

  • IBM Haifa Research Lab 

    Following are the people currently working on speech and related areas at the Haifa Research Lab: Alexander Sorin, Asaf Rendel, Hagai Aronowitz, Jonathan Mamou, Ron Hoory, Shay Ben-David, Slava Shechtman, Yael Erez, Zvi Kons and Orith Toledo-Ronen.

  • IBM China Research Lab 

    Following are the people currently working on speech and related areas at the China Research Lab: Qin Yong, Jiang Dan Ning, Qin Shi, Zhang Shi Lei, Liu Wen, Zhou Jie and Fang Han.

  • IBM Tokyo Research Lab 

    Following are the people currently working on speech and related areas at the Tokyo Research Lab: Masafumi Nishimura, Nobuyasu Itoh, Osamu Ichikawa, Ryuki Tachibana, Gakuto Kurata, Takashi Fukuda and Tohru Nagano.

  • IBM India Research Lab 

    Following are the people currently working on speech and related areas at IBM Research - India: Ashish Verma, Om D Deshmukh, Karthik Viswesariah, Shajith M Iqbal and Jitendra Ajmera.

  • Former US Members No Longer at IBM 

    Daniel Povey, Ellen Eide, Gerasimos Potamianos, Giridharan Iyengar, Kishore Papineni, Michiel Bacchiani, Roberto Pieraccini, T V Raman, Ezra Black, Jordan Cohen, Stephen Della Pietra, Vincent Della Petra, Peter DeSouza, Jerome Bellegarda, James Baker, Janet Baker, Slava Katz, John Lafferty, Harry Printz, Robert Mercer, Mukund Padmanabhan, Arthur Nadas, Stephen Maes, Peter Brown, Scott Chen, Olivier Siohan, Geoff Zweig, Scott Axelrod, Jeff Sorensen, Adam Berger, Alexander Faisman, John R Hershey, Mark E Epstein, Vit Libal, Rob Donovan, Sankar Basu, Mark Gales, Adam Fineberg, Allen Delmar, Fu-Hua Liu, Yonggang Deng, Sreeram Balakrishnan, Lazaros Polymenakos, George Freeman, Photina Jang, Dong Yu, Satya Dharanipragada, Eva Muckstein, Teo Ancheta, Harvey Silverman, David Magerman, Glen Whitney, Jan Hajic, Meredith Goldsmith, Gideon Shichman, David Burshtein, Dirk Van Compernolle, Liang Gu, Wael Hamza, Harriet Nock, Ran Zilca, Sabine Deligne, Serdar Kozat, Hakan Erdogan, Ernest Chan, Santiago Garcia, Antii Rosti, Wei-Jing Zhu, Qigong Lin, Adwait Ratnaparkhi, Siegfried Kunzmann, Ganesh Ramaswamy, Amir Averbuch

  • Former Non-US Members No Longer at IBM 

    Fero Bachleda, Radim Ciz, Jaroslav Gergic, Jozo Ivanecky, Pavel Krbec, Pascal Fleury, Radek Hampl, Jan Sedivy, Jiri Semecky, Ladislav Seredi, Zhu Xiao Jin, Guo Xue Feng, Zhu Wei Bin, Niu Xiao Chuan, Chai Hai Xin, Ye Meng, Meng Fan Ping, Jia Lei, Guo Qing, Zohar Sivan, Yoav Medan, Nava Shaked. Yotam Medini, Ariel Sagi, Dorel Silberstein, Arkady Bron, Dima Markman, Ariel Gur, Darren Cohen, Meir Tzur, Doron Hoffman, Alexander Goldin, Aharon Satt, Scott Petrack, Avi Magid, Hagai Krupnik, Dror Gill, Ran Cohen, Ronen Mayrench, Sharon Urieli, Naftaly Sharir, Aviela Angel, Esther Bentur, Neri Merhav, Noam Amir, Hiroshi Kaneko, Kazuhide Sugawara, Kazuhiro Suzuki, Kohichi Toshioka, Osaaki Watanuki, Shinsuke Mori, Tetsuya Takiguchi, Yoshiaki Ohshima

  • Former Members Still at IBM and Retirees 

    Chalapathy Neti, Charles Prosser, Daniel M Coffman, Mahesh Viswanathan, Mike Monkowski, Roberto Sicconi, Jeffrey Kusnitz, Jennifer Lai, John Lucassen, Steve De Gennaro, Eddie Epstein, Burn Lewis, Ponani Gopalakrishnan, Ramesh Gopinath, Yuqing Gao, Catalina Danis, Bruce Lucas, Charles F Wiecha, Rafah Hosn, Rahul P Akolkar, Sara Basson, Arnon Amir, Liam Comerford, Fred Jelinek, Lalit Bahl, Ken Davies, Subrata Das, Mel Dixon, Julian Chen, Wei Zhang, EE Jan, Salim Roukos, Todd Ward, David Lubensky, Martin Franz, Juan Huerta, Scott McCarley, Karthik Visweswariah, N. Rex Dixon, Robert Riekert, Don Fraleigh, Bill Adams, Jiri Navratil, Jason Pelecanos, Mohamed Omar, Rich Thompson, Julie McNaught, Thomas Gegi, Abe Ittecheriah, Xiaoqiang Luo, Paul Cohen, Libor Banovsky, Jan Ingerle, Daniel Veleba, Borivoj Tydlitat, Lubos Ures, Uzi Shvadron, Ezra Silvera, Alexey Roitman, Ophir Azulai, Gal Ashour, Ehud Karnin, Dan Chazan, Dov Ramm, Israel Berger, Liu Yi, Ma Xi Jun, Jia Bin, Fu Guo Kang, Shen Li Qin, Mao Xin Sheng, Akio Kuroda, Kazutaka Yamasaki, Masaharu Sakamoto, Shiho Ogino, Takashi Saitoh, Yasuhide Hashimoto, Toyohisa Kaneko, Masaaki Okochi, Yasuhiro Matsuda, Nitendra Rajput, Tanveer A Faruquie, L V Subramaniam, Vivek Tyagi, Roger Goldwyn