Distinguished Speaker: Transforming the Impossible to the Natural

November 26, 2012
Nelson Auditorium


Abstract: Reading science fictions over the past one hundred years, one sees many seemingly impossible machines and services, which are now not only widely available, but have become accepted as natural. In this talk, I will share examples which show how technologies developed in research labs have impacted real life user experiences. For example, body gesture, speech, natural user intent understanding, and other new usage scenarios have all recently impacted how users utilize computing. Looking forward, I see exciting opportunities for research to further extend what is considered natural when using computers. What's natural in computing at the end of 21st century will be drastically different than what we find common today.

Dr. Hsiao-Wuen Hon is the Managing Director of Microsoft Research Asia, located in Beijing, China. Founded in 1998, Microsoft Research Asia has since become a premier research center, described by MIT’s Technology Review as “the hottest computer science research lab in the world.” Dr. Hon oversees the lab’s research activities and collaborations with academic communities and institutions throughout the Asia Pacific region.

An IEEE fellow and a Distinguished Scientist of Microsoft, Dr. Hon is an internationally recognized expert in speech technology. He serves on the editorial board of the international journal Communications of the ACM. Dr. Hon has published more than 100 technical papers in international journals and at conferences. He co-authored Spoken Language Processing, a graduate-level text and reference book in the area of speech technology, used in universities all over the world. Dr. Hon holds three dozen patents in several technical areas.

Dr. Hon has been with Microsoft since 1995. He joined Microsoft Research Asia in 2004 as a Deputy Managing Director, responsible for research in Internet search, speech and natural language, systems, wireless and networking. In addition, he founded and managed the Search Technology Center (STC) from 2005 to 2007, and has overseen the development of Bing, Microsoft’s internet search product, in Asia Pacific.

Prior to joining Microsoft Research Asia, Dr. Hon was a founding member and architect in the Natural Interactive Services Division at Microsoft Corporation. Besides overseeing all architectural and technical aspects of the award-winning Microsoft® Speech Server product (Frost & Sullivan's 2005 Enterprise Infrastructure Product of the Year Award, Speech Technology Magazine’s 2004 Most Innovative Solutions Awards and VSLive! 2004 Editors’ Choice Award), Natural User Interface Platform, and Microsoft Assistance Platform, he is also responsible for managing and delivering statistical learning and advanced search technologies. Dr. Hon joined Microsoft Research as a senior researcher in 1995 and has served as a key contributor to Microsoft's SAPI and speech engine technologies. He previously worked at Apple Computer, where he led research and development for Apple's Chinese Dictation Kit.

Dr. Hon received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from National Taiwan University.