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Speech and Language Processing

Welcome to the Summer 2020 Edition of the Speech and Language Processing Technical Committee Newsletter.  


Careful readers will recognize that it has been longer than usual since you’ve seen a Newsletter from me.  The reason is both surprising and universal.  This issue was originally scheduled for March, which was exactly timed with the initial surge of COVID-19 cases in NY (where I live).  I just wanted to take a small moment to apologize to all of you.  On with the good stuff. 


Eric Fossler-Lussier offers his perspective as it relates to Speech and Language Processing in his Chair’s Letter.  It is particularly full of challenges and opportunities and especially forward looking.


For those of you who are unaware IEEE SLT 2020 has been rescheduled, and is now, IEEE SLT 2021.  We have an announcement from the organizers Zhijian Ou, Tsinghua University and Lei Xie, Northwestern Polytechnical University here.


In further conference news, ASRU 2021 will be held in Cartagena, Colombia!  Some words from Jason Williams and the Conferences subcommittee.

The IEEE SLTC is pleased to announce that the next bi-annual IEEE Workshop on Automatic Speech Recognition and Understanding (ASRU) will be held in Cartagena, Colombia in December 2021.  The General chairs will be Elmar Nöth (FAU, Germany) and Juan Rafael Orozco-Arroyave (UdeA, Colombia), and the technical chairs will be Hynek Hermansky (JHU, USA), Carlos Busso (UT Dallas, USA), Michael Picheny (NYU, USA), Bhuvana Ramabhadran (Google, USA), Isabel Trancoso (INESC-ID, Portugal), and Kate Knill (U Cambridge, UK).  They are joined by 19 other members of the organizing committee. The IEEE SLTC selected this proposal after an open call for proposals, a feedback period, and then a selection vote by the SLTC.


Named a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1984, Cartagena de Indias is an outdoor museum of the Spanish Colonial period.  It is located on the ocean, with a year-round summer climate, and regularly recommended as a world-wide tourism destination.  ASRU has grown rapidly in the last few years, and the venue for the workshop and banquet can accommodate over 1000 people if needed, and the city itself has a wide selection of hotel options.  We look forward to seeing you there!


In this edition of "Getting to Know Your Fellow Researchers" we are getting to know Mark Hasegawa-Johnson of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  He is a Fellow of the IEEE and Acoustical Society of America.  Knowing the rigor of Prof. Hasegawa-Johnson’s work I’m not at all surprised by his advice for younger researchers.  But the role of poetry in his professional career is a very delightful revelation.


Become an IEEE Senior Member!  Julia Hirschberg and Michael Picheny on behalf of the Awards and Membership Honors Committee.  (Both Julia and Michael have both been featured in previous SLTC Newsletters.)

An IEEE Senior Member is a singular honor in the IEEE community awarded to IEEE members who have been working in the field for at least 10 years (or 5 years past PhD) with a demonstrated series of achievements. It is used as a mark of seniority and recognized both inside and outside of the IEEE as a sign of accomplishment.  


Please consider nominating yourself for Senior member. It will be very helpful to your career and it is quite simple. Here is how to do it:


Also, if you are a Fellow, a Senior Member, and/or Honorary Member, please consider contacting junior members who are not yet Senior but whom you believe would qualify and offer to endorse their nomination.


From Marc Delcroix for the Challenge subcommittee, we are happy to announce the SPS Challenge Program for supporting the effort of Challenge organizers

SPS has recently launched the SPS Challenge Program to offer support to challenge organizers by providing an organizational framework from the proposal to the dissemination of results.


The SPS Challenge Program provides official SPS sponsorship to approved SPS challenges, allows the use of SPS communication channels, and promotes the dissemination of the results by publishing challenge overview papers in the journals of SPS.


Interested challenge organizers should submit a challenge proposal for review to the Challenges and Data Collections Committee.

Please refer to the following webpage for more details:  


The Member Election Subcommittee of the SLTC is seeking nominations for new SLTC Members for a 3-year term (2021-2023). New member candidates can be self-nominated or nominated by current SLTC members. New members must be willing to review papers that are submitted to the Society's conferences within the area of the SLTC, review papers for workshops owned or co-owned by the SLTC, serve in the subcommittees established by the SLTC, and perform other duties as assigned. SLTC members will be elected by the members of the SLTC itself based on the needs of the SLTC. The deadline for the nominations will be around October 2020. More details on the SLTC nominations for the 2021-2023 term will be announced later. 


For information on Travel Grants for upcoming IEEE conferences and workshops watch this space, or for the more proactive among you, you can contact the Student Awards subcommittee directly Chair, Yu-Nung Chen and Vice-Chair, Ming Li.


Bhuvana Ramabhadran, Regional Director-At-Large Region 1-6, is working with our Technical Committee (TC) to promote more regional engagement between TCs and local chapters. Check out her thoughts here.  Watch this space for more activities and details about how to get involved!


As ever, we'd like to draw your attention to our community's upcoming conferences and workshops and job postings.  


And in case you didn’t know:

This 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 contact the TC via this form, or send mail to to propose articles. To subscribe to the Newsletter, send an email with the command "subscribe speechnewsdist" in the message body to


If you want to stay connected to the IEEE SLTC between newsletters, we are on twitter @IEEE_SLTC.


Stay safe, and take care of each other.

Andrew Rosenberg, Editor

Heidi Christenson, Vice-Chair


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