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META-FORUM 2017 - Keynotes


13 November 2017 – Opening Keynote


A Language Transparent Society

Alex Waibel – Carnegie Mellon University, USA; Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

Bio: Dr. Alexander Waibel is a Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh and at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. He is the director of the International Center for Advanced Communication Technologies (interACT). The Center works in a network with eight of the world’s top research institutions. The Center’s mission is to develop advanced machine learning algorithms to improve human-human and human- machine communication technologies. Prof. Waibel and his team developed many statistical and neural network learning algorithms that made such communication breakthroughs possible. Most notably, the “Time-Delay Neural Network” (1987) (the first “convolutional” neural network) now is at the heart of many of today’s AI technologies. System breakthroughs at Waibel’s lab included early multimodal interfaces, speech and language interfaces, the first speech translation system in Europe&USA (1990/1991), the first simultaneous lecture translation system (2005), and Jibbigo, the first commercial speech translator on a phone (2009). Dr. Waibel founded and served as chairmen of C-STAR, the Consortium for Speech Translation Advanced Research in 1991. He directed many research programs in speech, translation, multimodal interfaces and machine learning in the US, Europe and Asia. He served as director of EU-Bridge (2012-2015) and CHIL (2004-2007), two large European multi-site Integrated Project initiatives on intelligent assistants and speech translation services. He also was co-director of IMMI, a joint venture between KIT, CNRS & RWTH. Dr. Waibel is an IEEE Fellow and received many awards for his work on multilingual and multimodal communication and translation. He published extensively (>750 publications, >25,000 citations, h-index 80) in the field and received/filed numerous patents. Waibel was elected to the National Academy of Sciences of Germany in 2017, and was named Honorary Senator of the Hochschulrektorenkonferenz (Representation of German Universities) During his career, Dr. Waibel founded and built 10 successful companies. Following the acquisition of Jibbigo by Facebook, Waibel served as founding director of the Language Technology Group at FB. He also deployed speech translation technologies in humanitarian and disaster relief missions. His team recently deployed the first simultaneous interpretation service for lectures at Universities and interpretation tools at the European Parliament. Dr. Waibel received his BS, MS and PhD degrees at MIT and CMU, respectively.

14 November 2017 – Closing Keynote


Breaking Language Barriers on Facebook

Necip Fazil Ayan – Facebook, USA

Abstract: At Facebook, our mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. In this talk, we present our most recent work on using deep learning for machine translation and language understanding to unlock meaning across languages and break the language barriers on Facebook to help that mission. We talk about the challenges of doing machine translation and language understanding at large scale, and discuss technologies and platforms we built to tackle these challenges.

Bio: Necip Fazil Ayan is leading the Language and Translation Technologies team in the Applied Machine Learning group at Facebook. Fazil got his PhD degree in Computer Science at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2005, and he has been working on various natural language processing problems such as machine translation, language understanding and personal assistants since then. He has been at Facebook for 4 years chasing his passion of breaking the language barriers across the world.