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History of Speech and Language Technology


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Janet M. Baker received her B.S. from Tufts University and her Ph.D. from Carnegie-Mellon University. She worked for IBM Research (time-domain speech recognition), and then served as VP Research for Verbex, (Exxon Enterprises). She was Co-Founder and CEO of Dragon Systems (Newton, MA). Founded in 1982 with bootstrap financing, Dragon Systems grew profitably to 380 employees globally and $68 million/yr revenues, before its sale in 2000. Among its many innovations, Dragon created the first commercial general-purpose speech dictation software, Dragon NaturallySpeaking®, as well as the first audiomining, a general purpose audio-search engine. Janet has worked cooperatively with the international speech community to help make available large speech data corpora and to foster rigorous performance evaluation methodologies. After founding Saras Institute, she worked with the Dibner Institute at MIT, to collect, preserve, and make generally available information on the History of Speech and Language Technology. Since 2008, she has collaborated with neuroscientists at the University of California, San Diego, the Harvard-MIT Division of Health, Science, and Technology, and Massachusetts General Hospital. Together they are collecting and processing cortical data to learn how the human brain represents, processes, and decodes speech and language information. Janet also lectures at business schools and other forums on topics relating to Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Patri J. Pugliese (1950-2007) received his Ph.D. in the History of Science from Harvard University in 1982. He taught at Boston University and at Harvard University. He worked for several years in the Research Department of the speech technology company Dragon Systems, Inc. As Research Operations Manager at Dragon Systems, he monitored Government contracts, aided in the patenting of new inventions and served as company librarian and historian. He served as a Vice President of Saras Institute as well as a Visiting Scholar at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology, located at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition to his work in the History of Science, he has also contributed in the areas of Dance History, and the History of Fencing and Western Martial Arts.


Saras Institute is dedicated to "preserving the past and advancing the present, for the sake of the future." Saraswati, for whom the Saras Institute is named, is the Hindu goddess of learning and the arts, knowledge, and wisdom, including the invention of speech and writing. The Saras Institute is an independent volunteer- operated non-profit 501(c) 3 charity. Presently, its primary focus is in the area of speech and language science and technology.

History of Speech and Language Technology Project, Saras Institute / c/o Janet Baker, 173 Highland Street, West Newton, MA 02465 USA

Email: <Janet_Baker AT email DOT com>