Prof. Hirschberg Wins Speech/Audio Award

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers has honored Computer Science Professor Julia Hirschberg with its James L. Flanagan Speech and Audio Processing Award.
The IEEE has given the award annually since 2002 to an individual or team for outstanding contribution to the advancement of speech and/or audio signal processing. The group honored Hirschberg for her “pioneering contributions to speech synthesis and prosody research.
“I am particularly honored to receive this award since Jim Flanagan was my first center director when I arrived at Bell Labs,” Hirschberg says.
The award citation calls Hirschberg an innovator in building viable computational models of human prosody for use in speech synthesis.
“Her goal,” the citation continues, “has been to make human­–computer interaction in spoken dialog systems more natural and effective. She was one of the architects of the Tone and Break Indices (ToBI) system for labeling human prosodic contours that is used in many text to speech systems and is widely used in prosody research. Initially used for intonational description of standard American English, ToBI has been extended to model other languages. Professor Hirschberg has also pioneered work in emotional and deceptive speech and on audio browsing and retrieval research, both in techniques to improve audio search and to make audio search engines more usable.”
Hirschberg has been a fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence since 1994, a fellow of the International Speech Communication Association (ISCA) since 2008 and president of ISCA from 2005-2007, editor-in-chief of Computational Linguistics from 1993-2003 and co-editor-in-chief of Speech Communication from 2003-2005, and received a Columbia Engineering School Alumni Association (CESAA) Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award in 2009.


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