Alan Yuille and Rama Chellappa added as members of CLSP

August 27, 2020

The Center for Language and Speech Processing (CLSP) enjoyed a boost to its ranks recently with the additions of two Bloomberg Distinguished Professors: Alan Yuille, who holds joint primary appointments with the departments of Computer Science, and Cognitive Science, and Rama Chellappa, who holds joint primary appointments with the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering.

CLSP director Hynek Hermansky views the additions as being “a major enhancement to JHU’s efforts in establishing a top Artificial Intelligence lab in Baltimore.”

Alan Yuille and Rama Chellappa

“We are lucky that the Bloomberg Professorships recently attracted two leading figures in the field of emulating human intelligence, who are now part of our center,” Hermansky said.

Yuille and Chellappa both cited the opportunity to expand their network of collaborators as motivation for joining CLSP.

In fact, Yuille said that CLSP factored into his decision to Hopkins from University of California, Los Angeles in January of 2016. At the time, Yuille was working in the area of computer vision, and was intrigued by the field’s possible impact on language.

“There aren’t many people doing research into language at such an extensive level like Ben Van Durme and Jason Eisner. That was a big attraction for me to come to Hopkins,” Yuille said. “Since coming to Hopkins, I’ve been increasingly looking to join robotics, language, and vision together. At the same time, there have been many discussions about AIX and artificial intelligence within Hopkins in general. I felt that there were quite a lot of people doing AI type research, but we never got together, so joining with everyone under a larger entity felt essential to pursuing this work.”

Chellappa joined Hopkins from the University of Maryland earlier this summer, but has already become affiliated with the Mathematical Institute for Data Science (MINDS) and The Center for Imaging Science (CIS), in addition to CLSP. He describes his approach to working with others as “the more, the merrier,” and views working with those at CLSP as a way of returning to his roots.

“Way back when, my master’s thesis was actually on speech recognition. I started in that area, and then eventually moved more to image and computer vision,” Chellappa said. “CLSP is such a well-known entity in the world, and becoming a member seemed like a great opportunity. I feel like there is so much potential for speech, language and video to work together, and I’m excited to pursue this with my colleagues.”

An added bonus for both professors is the chance to collaborate with each other. The two have known each other for roughly 30 years and have closely followed each other’s careers, but have never worked together despite knowing many of the same people. Yuille has even worked with a few of Chellappa’s former students, while Chellappa has previously collaborated with a colleague of Yuille’s at UCLA.

“Alan brings his vast knowledge of human cognitive processing and its emulations by machines. Rama, with his achievements in processing of visual scenes, comes in with his world class engineering expertise in building intelligent machines,” Hermansky said. “Both of them will create excellent collaborations with each other and our current members, and I expect they’ll both help raise the profile of the center.”


Center for Language and Speech Processing