Roles and responsibilities
I am a Principal Research Officer (PRO) at the NRC. I am also currently leader of the Indigenous Languages Technology (ILT) project in the Digital Technologies Research Centre (DT). and of the Portage machine translation project. My role is to ensure that the ILT project continues to produce technologies that contribute to the revitalization of Indigenous languages, in close collaboration with Indigenous communities and language experts. (To learn about the ILT project, go here: Canadian Indigenous languages technology project).
Current research and/or projects
I am currently most deeply involved in creating software to help revitalize the Indigenous languages of Canada. This includes educational software (e.g., for teaching verb paradigms in polysynthetic languages), machine translation into and from Inuktitut, and audio indexing of sound files containing speech in Indigenous languages, and most recently, software for generating speech in Indigenous languages.
Research and/or project statements
Since 2017, the ILT project has been collaborating with Indigenous communities to help build software for revitalizing Indigenous languages.
Honours B. Sc., Mathematics and Biology, University of Toronto, 1981
M.Sc., Theoretical Biology, University of Chicago, 1984
Ph.D, Computer Science, McGill University, 1993.
- From 1985-2004, I was a researcher in automatic speech recognition, at McGill University, the Centre de Recherche Informatique de Montreal, and Panasonic Speech Technology Laboratory.
- Since 2004, I carried out research into machine translation at the NRC.
- More recently, since 2017, I have managed a project for creating software to help revitalize the Indigenous languages of Canada.
- At present (December 2022), I have an H-index of 45 according to Google Scholar.
Association for Computational Linguistics
The ILT project team I lead was awarded the NRC Intellectual Property Achievement Award (IPAA) in August 2021 for its release of open-source software for Indigenous languages (each team member received $3,950 bonus).
Best Paper Award, Machine Translation Summit (MT Summit XIV) (for “Simulating Discriminative Training for Linear Mixture Adaptation in Statistical Machine Translation”, by George Foster, Boxing Chen and Roland Kuhn).
Honeywell Futurist Prize (1984)
Inventions and patents
I have 31 patents listed on the US Patent Office (USPTO) web site, most of them in the areas of speech technology and machine translation.
Most important recent paper:
- “The Indigenous Languages Technology project at NRC Canada: An empowerment-oriented approach to developing language software”, R. Kuhn, F. Davis et al, 2020. In Proceedings of COLING (https://www.aclweb.org/anthology/2020.coling-main.516.pdf)
(9 citations as of Dec. 2022).
Papers with the most citations:
- "A cache-based natural language model for speech recognition", R. Kuhn & R. De Mori, 1990. In IEEE Trans. Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (A cache-based natural language model for speech recognition | IEEE Journals & Magazine | IEEE Xplore) (787 citations as of Dec. 2022)
- "Rapid speaker adaptation in eigenvoice space", R. Kuhn, J.-C. Junqua et al, 2000. In IEEE Trans. on Speech and Audio Processing (Rapid speaker adaptation in eigenvoice space | IEEE Journals & Magazine | IEEE Xplore) (666 citations as of Dec. 2022)
- "Mixture-model adaptation for SMT", G. Foster & R. Kuhn, 2007. ACL Second Workshop on Statistical Machine Translation (Proceedings of the 45th Annual Meeting of the Association of Computational Linguistics (aclanthology.org)) (296 citations as of Dec. 2022). Nominated for WMT Five-Year Retrospective Best Paper Award in May 2012.
- “The Sixth Stage of Dying” (novel, Dec. 2019, amazon.ca)
- "Apocalypse North", Volume 1 "the Gathering Storm" & Volume 2 "Putting out Fire with Gasoline" (novel, Sept. 2015).
Previous work experience
- Panasonic Inc, Research Scientist, 1996-2004
- Centre de recherche informatique de Montreal, Research Scientist, 1992-1996
International experience and/or work
- The Panasonic Speech Technology Laboratory for which I worked in 1996-2004 was located in Santa Barbara, California. While working for Panasonic, I also spent extended periods of time in Osaka, Japan (where Panasonic’s headquarters are located).
- In April-June 1993, I lived in Erlangen, Germany as part of an exchange between two research centres (my employer, CRIM in Montreal, and the FORWISS research centre in Erlangen). The fact that I speak German helped me to have a productive stay in Germany.