This is the second in a series of six-week-long research workshops on Machine Learning for Speech Language and Computer Vision Technology. These workshops bring together diverse “dream teams” of leading professionals, graduate students, and undergraduates, in a truly cooperative, intensive, and substantive effort to advance the state of the science.
These workshops constitute a continuation of the well known Johns Hopkins University summer workshops, and encompasses all areas of human language technology including automatic speech recognition, natural language processing, machine translation, topic detection and tracking, information retrieval and extraction, summarization and question answering, and certain related areas of computer vision, including image understanding and visual scene analysis. These fields share many important algorithmic and statistical approaches, allowing cross-fertilization. Machine learning challenges that arise from these areas are of fundamental scientific interest, and are shared with many other fields of science and engineering, such as medical-/bio-informatics and social network analysis.
The primary goals of the workshop series are to advance basic science, attract students to the field and prepare them for research by putting them to work on exciting problems alongside senior researchers in a highly collaborative environment. Creation of research infrastructure and lasting collaborations are secondary goals.
To ensure that the workshop projects address current or relevant novel problems in the state of the art, an open call for workshop project proposals will be issued each year to researchers in the worldwide HLT community. Proposals will be particularly encouraged each year in three focus areas of current interest.
The proposals received each year will be competitively evaluated and cooperatively refined at interactive peer review meetings, where project proponents, government representatives, and experts from related fields will meet to assess the viability and promise of the proposals and to identify revised candidate projects for the summer workshop. The graduate students attending the workshop will be familiar with the field and will be selected in accordance with their demonstrated performance. The undergraduates will be entering seniors who are new to the field and who have shown outstanding academic promise; they will be selected through a national search. The participation of undergraduates in these summer research programs is intended to encourage gifted undergraduates to pursue graduate studies in HLT.
In addition to establishing new research directions and providing hands-on education to students, the workshops will provide facilities for widespread dissemination of these results and their incorporation into continuing, large-scale, collaborative research efforts by faculty, graduate and undergraduate students from geographically diverse institutions. The workshops will create a shared infrastructure for continuing the research started at the workshop, which will be maintained all year long. After returning to their home institutions, students in the workshop will continue to use this facility to work on their research projects under the direction of their academic advisors and the senior members of the workshop projects.
The Center for Language and Speech Processing at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) has 20 years of experience with organizing workshops of this kind. JHU will therefore act as an anchor for these workshops, but the actual host institution will rotate from year to year in order to ensure wider community ownership and engagement, and to distribute the organizational burden more widely. The 2014 workshop was hosted at Charles University in Prague, and University of Washington in Seattle, WA, will be the site of the 2015 workshop.