BBN Technologies’ John Makhoul, Pioneer in Speech Signal Processing, Receives 2009 IEEE James L. Flanagan Speech and Audio Processing Award

Work Has Explained the Properties and Behaviors of Speech Models and Helped Extend Them for Use in Real-World Applications

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--()--BBN Technologies, an advanced technology solutions firm, announced today that John Makhoul, a chief scientist at BBN, was honored by the IEEE with the 2009 IEEE James L. Flanagan Speech and Audio Processing Award for making unparalleled strides in speech modeling and language processing. IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional society.

The award, sponsored by the IEEE Signal Processing Society, recognizes Makhoul for pioneering contributions to speech modeling. Dr. Makhoul accepted the award on April 21, 2009 at the IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing in Taipei, Taiwan.

A recognized leader in speech processing, Makhoul has made a number of contributions to the mathematical modeling of speech signals. Prominent among these contributions is an understanding of linear prediction, which models the evolution of a signal over time, and vector quantization, allowing for the efficient coding of signals and parameters. These formulations have had applications in various aspects of speech processing, including speech analysis and synthesis, speech coding, and speech recognition.

Makhoul’s tutorial review paper on linear predictive coding in 1975 made linear prediction accessible to the growing field of speech processing and coding. He unified the spectral and time-domain views of linear predictive coding, showing that using both ways of looking at the same process leads to important insights and properties. This led to selective linear prediction, which has had many applications. His tutorial paper was named a “citation classic” by the Institute for Scientific Information in May 1982.

Makhoul’s early vocoder work in the 1970s resulted in practical coded speech over networks, forming the basis of later practical speech transmission at a variety of data rates for both government and consumer applications. His development of software-only solutions for fast speech recognition that relied on new search algorithms instead of special-purpose hardware changed the way fast speech recognition is done and led to systems that monitor news broadcasts 24/7 in real-time. His patented work on the direct application of speech recognition techniques for accurate, language-independent optical character recognition (OCR) has had a dramatic impact on the ability to create OCR systems in multiple languages relatively quickly. His current activities focus on the emerging area of speech translation.

An IEEE Life Fellow and Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, Makhoul was the recipient of the IEEE Third Millennium Medal in 2000. He received a bachelor’s degree from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, in 1964; a master’s degree from the Ohio State University, Columbus, in 1965; and a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, in 1970, all in electrical engineering. He is chief scientist at BBN Technologies, where has worked since 1970.

About BBN Technologies

BBN Technologies is a legendary R&D organization that leverages its substantial intellectual property portfolio to produce advanced, repeatable solutions such as the Boomerang shooter detection system. With expertise spanning information security, speech and language processing, networking, distributed systems, and sensing and control systems, BBN scientists and engineers have amassed a substantial collection of innovations and patented solutions. BBN now employs over 700 people in seven locations in the US: Cambridge, Massachusetts (headquarters); Arlington, Virginia; Columbia, Maryland; Middletown, Rhode Island; San Diego, California; St. Louis Park, Minnesota; and O'Fallon, Illinois. For more information, visit www.bbn.com.

Contacts

BBN Technologies
Joyce Kuzmin, 617-873-8193
jkuzmin@bbn.com
or
BBN Technologies
Mark Gauthier, 978-325-7048
mgauthier@bbn.com

Contacts

BBN Technologies
Joyce Kuzmin, 617-873-8193
jkuzmin@bbn.com
or
BBN Technologies
Mark Gauthier, 978-325-7048
mgauthier@bbn.com