PSU Students Thomas Van Klaveren and Scott Fabini Win the 2016-2017 AVIOS Speech Application Contest
Author: Computer Science Department
Posted: February 28, 2017

Each year the Applied Voice Input Output Society (AVIOS­) holds a contest to encourage students to use speech technologies such as automatic speech recognition, speech synthesis, and natural language processing to develop innovative applications. The 2016-2017 Contest winners are Thomas Van Klaveren and Scott Fabini from Portland State University’s Computer Science Department. They received expenses to attend the Conversational Interaction Conference in San Jose, CA, where they received cash awards for winning the speech application.  

Their winning application allows users to interview a virtual Susan B. Anthony, a leader of the women's suffrage movement. Users speak questions into the computer microphone. The computer uses automatic speech recognition technology to convert the spoken words into text.  After analyzing the text, the computer selects the appropriate textual response from text originally written or spoken by Susan B Anthony.  The textual response is then converted to an artificial voice.  Automatic speech synthesis software presents the verbal response to the user via the computer speaker.  Users can ask a variety of questions about Anthony’s life and work in this simulated interview.  “Artificial interviews are a great way to learn about historical figures and events,” says James Larson, instructor for CS 410/510 Top: Spoken Language Interfaces.

The Applied Voice Input Output Society (AVIOS) is a not-for-profit foundation founded in 1981. AVIOS provides a forum for promoting practical applications for advanced speech technologies, such as speech recognition, text-to-speech synthesis, and speaker authentication, along with supporting technologies such as natural language interpretation and knowledge representation.  Students worldwide submit their applications for a variety of platforms.  A panel of judges evaluates the applications using the criteria including originality, usability, and effectiveness and selects the winning application. 

Thomas Van Klaveren and Scott Fabini join three previous PSU student teams who won first place in the AVIOS Speech Application Contest in recent years.