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November 2020

Interspeech 2020

By | Conference, Our Students | No Comments

The CDT at Interspeech

Within the CDT there is an emphasis on attending and participating in academic conferences. Not only to understand the latest developments in the field, but to network and communicate with the wider SLT community. Four of our students from across the two cohorts attended this year’s Interspeech Conference

Introduction from Hussein

Interspeech is one of the foremost academic conferences for Speech and Language Technology. It incorporates a variety of specialities and disciplines and provides a forum to discuss and share the latest research and innovations. 

This year’s Interspeech was scheduled to be held in Shanghai; however, it was converted to a fully virtual conference. As an attendee this was extremely beneficial as all sessions were timed and organised so I could easily participate and discuss further with the authors of certain papers.


This year has been especially good for the University’s Speech and Hearing (SpandH) research group. As a CDT student this is inspiring to see and be involved in.

Paper Spotlight

Our Cohort 2 member, Jonathan Clayton, had a paper published this year. 

‘The paper adapts the work which I produced as part of my MSc project with another student and supervisors at the University of Edinburgh. In this work, we investigated the utility of lightweight EEG (ElectroEncephaloGraphy) devices for the decoding of spoken, heard and imagined speech from brainwave signals. The research was aimed at contributing towards the development of brain-computer interfaces which could be used as communication aid for people with speech deficits or impairments. The work involved the collection of a dataset containing EEG recordings, which has been made publicly available.’

Interspeech Mentoring 

Meg attended one of the mentoring sessions available.

‘Instead of joining hundreds of other academics, professionals, and students in Shanghai, I had to join from the comfort of my bedroom. Nevertheless, this year’s ISCA-SAC provided an incredible opportunity to talk with industry professionals and ask questions about their experiences in moving between industry and academia. With our industry links being a big part of the CDT at Sheffield, it feels like my options are open for both staying and progressing in academia, or making the move over to industry. This mentoring session let me talk with Visar Berisha, associate professor at Arizona State University, and Rosario Signorello, a linguist team lead at Apple in Barcelona. Both had different perspectives on the pros and cons of staying in academia vs moving into industry, but two key pieces of advice were mirrored by both; find the things you want to prioritise and don’t feel bad making career decisions based on these (be it staying close to family or accepting positions further afield to experience more of the world), and it is going to be hard work no matter where you end up. Luckily the CDT is keeping us busy enough to get used to this one!’