Postdoctoral position in Multi-modal Speech Recognition - [ Postdoc ]

Workplace: , CTNSC@UniFe
Added on: 12/04/2017 - Expires on: 28/04/2017

The Centre for Translational Neurophysiology of Speech and Communication (CTNSC), led by Prof. Luciano Fadiga, is looking for 1 post-doc to be involved in the Multi-modal Speech Recognition project.

Job Description: In the last few years, automatic speech recognition (ASR) has achieved outstanding results and almost matches human performance in some recognition tasks (e.g., close-microphone speech recognition) if large training datasets are provided. However, ASR systems still have strong limitations. One of the strongest limitations is the inability to solve the “cocktail party” problem, i.e., ASR systems cannot recognize the speech of a target speaker in a multi-talker environment, unless very strong assumptions (not applicable in real usage scenarios) are made.

The goal of the proposed project is to build a single channel ASR system that combines audio-visual information and prior knowledge of speech production processes (Badino et al., 2016, Badino, 2016) for distant speech recognition in a multi-talker environment.

In this context, we are looking for a highly motivated candidate who will work on deep learning techniques for articulatory audio-visual speech recognition. The post-doc will mainly develop recurrent neural network-based strategies (see e.g., Chan et al. 2016) that exploit visual information and prior knowledge of speech production processes to implement attentional mechanisms. The attentional mechanisms will allow tracking of the target speaker’s speech in the presence of concurrent speakers.

The approach will be strongly bio-inspired. The CTNSC has been recording, through electrocorticography (ECoG), brain signals from human patients while performing speech recognition tasks during awake neurosurgery. That will offer the unique opportunity to study the strategies the human brain adopts while performing the cocktail party (see, e.g., Mesgarani & Chang, 2012) and translate them into an automatic system.   

The candidate should have the following skills:

  • PhD in Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, Engineering or equivalent with a background in machine learning, speech processing or related areas;
  • Ability to analyze, improve and propose new algorithms;
  • Good knowledge of programming languages, preferably Python and/or C++, and machine learning tools such as TensorFlow and Theano.

The successful candidate will work in a fully equipped laboratory in the Center for Translational Neurophysiology in Ferrara with the possibility to collaborate with an interdisciplinary team of engineers, biologists and material scientists.

Salary will be highly competitive and commensurate with qualification and experience.

Interested applicants should submit CV, list of publications, names of 2 referees and a statement of research interest both to applications@iit.it and ingrid.sica@iit.it quoting “Postdoctoral position in Multi-modal Speech Recognition -  BC: 73026” in the subject line.

Please apply by April 28th 2017.

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (http://www.iit.it) is a private Foundation which promotes Italy's technological development and higher education in science and technology. Research at IIT is carried out in highly innovative scientific fields with state-of-the-art technology.

In order to comply with Italian law (art. 23 of Privacy Law of the Italian Legislative Decree n. 196/03), the candidate is kindly asked to give his/her consent to allow IIT to process his/her personal data. We inform you that the information you provide will be solely used for the purpose of assessing your professional profile to meet the requirements of Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia. Your data will be processed by Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, with its headquarters in Genoa, Via Morego 30, acting as the Data Holder, using computer and paper-based means, observing the rules on the protection of personal data, including those relating to the security of data. Please also note that, pursuant to art.7 of Legislative Decree 196/2003, you may exercise your rights at any time as a party concerned by contacting the Data Manager.

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia is an Equal Opportunity Employer that actively seeks diversity in the workforce.

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L’Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) è una fondazione di diritto privato - cfr. determinazione Corte dei Conti 23/2015 “IIT è una fondazione da inquadrare fra gli organismi di diritto pubblico con la scelta di un modello di organizzazione di diritto privato per rispondere all’esigenza di assicurare procedure più snelle nella selezione non solo nell’ambito nazionale dei collaboratori, scienziati e ricercatori ”.

IIT è sotto la vigilanza del Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca e del Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze ed è stato istituito con la Legge 326/2003. La Fondazione ha l'obiettivo di promuovere l'eccellenza nella ricerca di base e in quella applicata e di favorire lo sviluppo del sistema economico nazionale. La costruzione dei laboratori iniziata nel 2006 si è conclusa nel 2009.

Lo staff complessivo di IIT conta circa 1440 persone. L’area scientifica è rappresentata da circa l’85% del personale. Il 45% dei ricercatori proviene dall’estero: di questi, il 29% è costituito da stranieri provenienti da oltre 50 Paesi e il 16% da italiani rientrati. Oggi il personale scientifico è composto da circa 60 principal investigators, circa 110 ricercatori e tecnologi di staff, circa 350 post doc, circa 500 studenti di dottorato e borsisti, circa 130 tecnici. Oltre 330 posti su 1400 creati su fondi esterni. Età media 34 anni. 41% donne / 59 % uomini.

Nel 2015 IIT ha ricevuto finanziamenti pubblici per circa 96 milioni di euro (80% del budget), conseguendo fondi esterni per 22 milioni di euro (20% budget) provenienti da 18 progetti europei17 finanziamenti da istituzioni nazionali e internazionali, circa 60 progetti industriali

La produzione di IIT ad oggi vanta circa 6990 pubblicazioni, oltre 130 finanziamenti Europei e 11 ERC, più di 350 domande di brevetto attive, oltre 12 start up costituite e altrettante in fase di lancio. Dal 2009 l’attività scientifica è stata ulteriormente rafforzata con la creazione di dieci centri di ricerca nel territorio nazionale (a Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) e internazionale (MIT ed Harvard negli USA) che, unitamente al Laboratorio Centrale di Genova, sviluppano i programmi di ricerca del piano scientifico 2015-2017.

IIT: the numbers

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is a public research institute that adopts the organizational model of a private law foundation. IIT is overseen by Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca and Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze (the Italian Ministries of Education, Economy and Finance).  The Institute was set up according to Italian law 326/2003 with the objective of promoting excellence in basic and applied research andfostering Italy’s economic development. Construction of the Laboratories started in 2006 and finished in 2009.

IIT has an overall staff of about 1,440 people. The scientific staff covers about 85% of the total. Out of 45% of researchers coming from abroad 29% are foreigners coming from more than 50 countries and 16% are returned Italians. The scientific staff currently consists of approximately 60 Principal Investigators110 researchers and technologists350 post-docs and 500 PhD students and grant holders and 130 technicians. External funding has allowed the creation of more than 330 positions . The average age is 34 and the gender balance proportion  is 41% female against 59% male.

In 2015 IIT received 96 million euros in public funding (accounting for 80% of its budget) and obtained 22 million euros in external funding (accounting for 20% of its budget). External funding comes from 18 European Projects, other 17 national and international competitive projects and approximately 60 industrial projects.

So far IIT accounts for: about 6990 publications, more than 130 European grants and 11 ERC grants, more than 350 patents or patent applications12 up start-ups and as many  which are about to be launched. The Institute’s scientific activity has been further strengthened since 2009 with the establishment of 11 research nodes throughout Italy (Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) and abroad (MIT and Harvard University, USA), which, along with the Genoa-based Central Lab, implement the research programs included in the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan.