Marking the 16th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (ISCA), Interspeech 2015 opens its doors in Dresden, Germany, to a wide growing community of researchers in speech science and technology. We are particularly honored to address these first words of welcome to you, and we hope that your attendance to Interspeech 2015 will provide you with novel insights and perspectives to our common field of interest.
Speech is the most important biosignal humans can produce and perceive. It is the most common means of human-human communication, and therefore research and development in speech and language are not only paramount for understanding humans, but also to facilitate human-machine interaction. Still, not all characteristics of speech are fully understood, and even fewer are used for developing successful speech and language processing applications. We think that speech can exploit its full potential only if we consider the characteristics that are beyond the traditional (and still important) linguistic content. These characteristics include other biosignals that are directly accessible to human perception, such as muscle and brain activity, as well as articulatory gestures.
We are therefore delighted to organize Interspeech 2015 around the topic “Speech beyond Speech: Towards a Better Understanding of the Most Important Biosignal”. Our conviction is that spoken language processing can make a substantial leap if it caters for the full information that is available in the speech signal. By opening our prestigious conference to researchers in other biosignal communities, we expect that substantial advances can be made discussing ideas and approaches across discipline and community boundaries. In fact, we think that incorporating communities that normally do not attend Interspeech events will provide a major leap towards a number of real-world applications.
The diversity of topics is reflected in the conference program, integrating special sessions and challenges, special events, and a multitude of satellite and co-located events. We have also made efforts to experiment with new media and features, such as social media inclusion (e. g., @Interspeech2015 on Twitter), the Interspeech App, and papers with virtual presentations, so as to further develop the format in order to improve inclusion as well as the experience of conference attendees.
Interspeech 2015 is staged in the Maritim International Congress Center (ICD) in Dresden, Germany. As the capital of Saxony, an up-and-coming region located in the former eastern part of Germany, Dresden combines glorious and painful history with a strong dedication to future and technology. It is located in the heart of Europe, easily reached via two airports, and offers a great deal of history and culture to Interspeech 2015 delegates. Our introductory series on historical instruments of speech science and technology posted in the ISCA newsletter proves that this history also has a strong relationship to our scientific community.
Interspeech 2015 has been prepared by a team of researchers from a wide range of disciplines, from industry and academia, spread all over Germany. We are grateful that we could be part of this team, and enjoyed the preparation of the event towards a continuation of the Interspeech track record of excellence. This preparation would not have been possible without the strong support from the ISCA president, the ISCA board, the Interspeech Advisory Committee, and the organizers of past Interspeech conferences which provided a wealth of information to us.
In particular, we would like to express our thanks to the Technical Program Committee Chairs, Prof. Bernd Möbius and Prof. Elmar Nöth, for compiling a technical program that surpassed all of our expectations. Dr. Anton Batliner and Prof. Björn Schuller added to this by soliciting a broad range of special sessions and challenges, supported by Prof. Gerhard Rigoll as the Plenaries Chair, Prof. Florian Metze as the Satellite Workshop Chair, and Prof. Alexander Raake as the Tutorials Chair. The special features of this conference are mainly based on the ideas of Prof. David Suendermann-Oeft for the special events, Prof. Petra Wagner for the Social Events, and Dr. Georg Stemmer for the Show&Tell Session. The local organization was taken care of by Prof. Rüdiger Hoffmann and Prof. Ercan Altinsoy. Our excellent sponsoring team formed by Claudia Pohlink and Prof. Tim Fingscheidt (Sponsoring Chairs), Dr. Jimmy Kunzmann (Industry Liaisons), and Prof. Reinhold Häb-Umbach (Exhibition Chair) helped us to make this event not also attractive for industry, but also to keep the participant costs low. This was at the satisfaction for Dr. Volker Steinbiss, our Finance Chair, who managed the difficult task of preventing the organization from running into a deficit. The rich information on the event was organized by Prof. Oliver Jokisch (Publicity Chair) together with Dr. Norbert Reithinger (International Outreach). The book you are keeping in your hands as well as the conference proceedings were compiled by Dr. Stefan Steidl, our Publications Chair. Whereas Dr. Benjamin Weiss (Students Chair) and Prof. Michael Wagner (Grants Chair) took care of the practicalities for supporting students, Dr. Tim Polzehl was the invisible head behind most of our electronic tools, including the web site and the social media, and supported by Tilo Westermann (App Master) and Dr. Jens Ahrens (Virtual Presentation). To all these team members goes our deep gratitude. Finally, we are indebted to Elisabeth Mende and Lisa Hertel from TUBS, or professional conference organizer, as well as to our main organizer, TU Berlin, and to Telekom Innovation Laboratories, for their long-lasting support.
It is a great pleasure for our entire team to welcome you to Interspeech 2015 in Dresden. We hope that you will get new professional insights as well as unforgettable moments at our event. We wish you all the best for a successful conference!
Telekom Innovation Laboratories, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany
Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH), Aachen, Germany