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CSL Associate Professor Mark Allan Hasegawa-Johnson was a recipient of the 2012 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research.
Hasegawa-Johnson, a researcher in the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, received his award for his work in speech recognition technology. He said he was happy to be one of this year’s recipients. “It’s nice to have that confirmation that your research is noticed,” he said.
He and his team have been working on mathematically formalizing theories from linguistics. His most recent work has been based on a particular model of human speech perception. “When [people] listen to an audio signal, there are events that stand out, or are perceptually salient to the listener,” Hasegawa-Johnson said. “A lot of the information relevant to deciding exactly what the person said tends to be localized in time, very close to that perceptually salient event.”
When that model of speech perception is transferred to speech recognizers, it can improve the accuracy of the recognizers. “It [the recognizer is] focused differentially well on the moments of time, the 20 to 70 milliseconds right around one of these perceptually salient syllable peaks or rapid transitions,” Hasegawa-Johnson said.
He and his team published this new technology, and Hasegawa-Johnson says he believes people in industry have been using those publications. “We made a decision early on that the learning technologies aren’t different in a way that would be easy to patent so instead we just published them and people have been taking advantage of these ideas I think and building them into commercial speech recognizers.”
Hasegawa-Johnson received his award on April 23 at the Engineering at Illinois Faculty Awards Ceremony.