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Conf.KDE.In 2014: A New Generation

About three weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend Conf.KDE.In at the DA-IICT in Ghandinagar, India. Thank you, KDE e.V. for making this possible.
Much has already been said about the excellent conference in the dot article and personal reports from fellow KDE hackers so I will skip repeating how eager and engaged the students were, how the event was impeccably organized, and even how good the food was.

What I want to talk about instead is something else: The evolution of our community. Continue Reading

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Open Academy

Back in 2012, Facebook and Stanford University introduced their “Open Academy” program. The aim was and still is simple: Give University students an opportunity to work on real open source projects in exchange for University credit – and a ton of valuable experience.
This year, KDE has joined as a mentoring organization with a total of 11 students assigned to work on 3 different projects. One of those projects is Simon’s upcoming natural language dialog manager: A system building on the current “Dialog” plugin to enable the creation of advanced spoken dialogs like the ones made popular by Apple’s Siri. Continue Reading

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Launching the Open Speech Initiative

Over the course of the summer, I have been working on bringing dictation capabilities to Simon. Now, I’m trying to build up a network of developers and researchers that work together to build high accuracy, large vocabulary speech recognition systems for a variety of domains (desktop dictation being just one of them).

Building such systems using free software and free resources requires a lot of work in many different areas (software development, signal processing, linguistics, etc.). In order to facilitate collaboration and to establish a sustainable community between volunteers of such diverse backgrounds, I am convinced that the right organizational structure is crucial to ensuring continued long-term success.

With this in mind, I am pleased to introduce the new Open Speech Initiative under the KDE umbrella: A team of developers looking to bring first class speech processing to the world of free software. Continue Reading

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Open Source Dictation: Language Model

A language model defines probable word succession probabilities: For example “now a daze” and “nowadays” are pronounced exactly the same, but because of context we know that “Now a daze I have a smartphone” is far less likely than “Nowadays I have a smartphone”. To model such contextual information, speech recognition systems usually use an n-gram that contains information of how likely a specific word is, given the context of the sentence. Continue Reading