Keynote Speech

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Keynote Speech I : 6.19(월) 14:00-14:45 / TAMRA HALL (탐라홀)

Dr. Kuansan Wang(Microsoft Research)

Dr. Kuansan Wang came to Microsoft Research in March 1998, first as a Researcher in the speech technology group working on the areas of spoken language understanding and dialog modeling. He contributed to the project MiPad and created the Speech Application Language Tags (SALT) that is now part of the international standards ISO/IEC 18051/ECMA-269/ETSI TS 102 173, ISO/IEC 18056/ECMA-323/ETSI TS 101 990, and ECMA-348/ISO IEC 18450. An object model version, described in this TR he wrote, has entered its final phase of being standardized. He also contributed to the world wide web consortium (W3C) Speech Recognition Grammar Specification (SRGS), W3C Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML), and various other publications from W3C Multimodal Interaction Working Group. Many of his research papers can still be found at the speech group’s publication list and video demo area.

In January 2004, Dr. Kuansan Wang moved to the speech product group and became a software architect. There he helped create and ship the product Microsoft Speech Server, which is still powering the corporate call center for Microsoft. If you calling into Microsoft’s main number, you will be greeted by his automated operator, MS Connect. In this capacity, he also managed the revision of the speech system used in the Microsoft Voice Command, an add-on to Windows Mobile smart phone that allows users to operate their smart phones with voice in an eyes-busy, hands-busy environment. Many of the technologies are still in use in Cortana, a virtual personal assistant from Microsoft.

Dr. Kuansan Wang was a founding member of an incubation group inside Microsoft that shipped Microsoft Response Point, a speech-enabled small business phone system that uses voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technologies. Because the incubation group was structured to run like a start-up inside Microsoft, he had the opportunity to be the acting development manager and later the testing manager to build the engineering team from ground up. In addition to the speech capabilities, he was also responsible for ensuring the product is easy to setup and easy to use, including the invention of the magic “Response Point button” that earns Microsoft revenue on every phone sold without even having Microsoft software on it!

Since September 2007, Dr. Kuansan Wang has been back in Microsoft Research (MSR), joining the newly founded Internet Service Research Center with a mission to revolutionize online services and make Web more intelligent. He has been teaching the machine to read the massive web contents to extract the knowledge, to understand users’ interests and anticipate their needs, and to serve and alert the web knowledge to users in a helpful way, including engaging in a natural conversation or multimodal dialog. The first application, on changing the way web search works in Bing, was first announced at MSR Faculty Summit in July 2010. It is exhilarating to see that, since that public disclosure, major web search companies, such as Google (in 2012) and Baidu (in 2014), have also introduced similar services into their products. To ensure the research community can verify, replicate and advance our results, components and data sets underlying my research work have been made available through Microsoft Cognitive Services, ranging from the web scale Markov N-gram to Knowledge Exploration Service. In March 2016, he has taken on an additional role as a Managing Director of MSR Outreach, an organization with the mission to serve the research community. In addition to applying the intelligent technologies to make Bing and Cortana smarter in gathering and serving academic knowledge, we are also starting an experimental website, (powered by Academic API), and mobile apps dedicated to exploring new service scenarios for active researchers.

Before joining Microsoft, he worked at Bell Labs from 1994 to 1996, and the NYNEX (now part of Verizon) Science and Technology Center. He received my M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 1989 and 1994, and my B.S. from National Taiwan University in 1986, all in Electrical Engineering.


Beating human in cognition: A case for Microsoft Academic


Cognition is defined as the "process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses," and often "encompasses processes such as knowledge, attention, memory, judgment, evaluation, reasoning and computation." Based on this definition, humans appear to be destined to be surpassed by machine as machine can be equipped with massive memory with perfect recall, remain attentive with perpetual endurance, and can exercise judgments and reasoning by executing necessary computations in a much faster and precise fashion. This talk will describe Microsoft Academic, a project to create a cognitive agent that can be simultaneously proficient in more than 50 thousand fields of study by reading over more than a century worth of scholarly publications from the web. At the core of the agent is a virtuous cycle where a machine reader would be aided by a knowledge graph to parse natural language articles and extract salient entities and their relationships that are then fed back to the graph to enrich its coverage. The richer the graph, the better the machine reader can understand the text. The talk will also cover how the knowledge base, currently at age two, can be publicly accessed and how the knowledge the agent has accumulated has played a role for Microsoft Research in assessing research impacts and determining the priorities in academic activities.



Keynote Speech II : 6.19(월) 16:00-16:45 / TAMRA HALL (탐라홀)

Prof. Willy Zwaenepoel(EPFL)

Willy Zwaenepoel was Dean of the School of Computer and Communication Sciences at EPFL from 2002 to 2011. Before that, he was Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Rice University. He received his BS from the University of Gent, Belgium, and his MS and PhD from Stanford University. His research interests are in operating systems and distributed systems. He has won a number of awards for his teaching and research, including IEEE and ACM Fellow. He was co-founder and CEO of iMimic (acquired by Ironport/Cisco) and co-founder and chief scientist of BugBuster (acquired by AppDynamics/CIsco). He has been an advisor to a number of other startups, including Nutanix (NTNX).  


How to build a top-X department ? advice for aspiring department heads


Every department head dreams about getting his school or department in the top-X. Many write elaborate strategic plans on how they will achieve that goal. Alas, the harsh reality is that very few succeed.

When I joined EPFL as head of computer science in 2002, like most beginners, I set myself the goal of making EPFL a top-5 department in Europe. I believe that we have succeeded, and arguably we did even better than that. I will explain what worked in doing so and what did not. In the process I also hope to dispense some (non-conformist) advice to aspiring department heads.

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