Since the beginning of my studies my main interests have been Logic and Languages and their applications to Informatics. During my career I tried to focus on these topics by choosing exams involving language processing, grammars and logical foundations of computer science.
During the Master Degree I've also developed a big interest for machine learning, big data and pattern recognition.
My main goal as a student is to see as many applications of these fields as possible, which is why I'm trying to focus my attention on projects involving NLP and dialogue managers, which represent a good meeting point for all my interests.
The start of my scientific life began as an undergraduate student. I started the school at BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh in the Spring of 2007. At the beginning I was decided to do my major in Electronics and Communication Engineering only. However while attending and assisting in programming and algorithm courses, I completely fell in love with the subjects and ended up doing my second major in Computer Science. As my thesis, I decided to implement a continuous Bangla speech recognition system for agro domain, which was the first Bangla ASR in continuos domain, under the supervision of Prof. Mumit Khan.
After completing my thesis, I joined The Center for Research on Bangla Language Processing (CRBLP) in my last semester, as Senior Research Assistant for creating an improved voice for an existing Bangla Text to Speech system. Later, I joined as a Lecturer in the Computer Science department and continued my journey with CRBLP.
Fast forwarding to the present, I am now a PhD candidate working in the SIS lab under supervision of Prof. Giuseppe Riccardi.
I have always been passionate about analysing and understanding human-human conversation and growing up in a blooming era of scientific research on human-machine Interaction, spoken language understanding and conversation analysis helped to convert my passion to my study. As my research, I am currently working on analysing different Turn-Taking behaviour in the context of spontaneous and in-vivo human conversations. In particular, I want to uncover the dynamics of turn-switching and the discourse of competitiveness in interaction overlaps. I am also interested in understanding the influence and inner-meaning of silences in a conversation and how the whole turn-taking dynamics leads to the success of the conversation.
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I am a Programmer. I love to design and write programs and see how every single module, function and line of code falls into place, in endless forms most beautiful. This is why I’ve been attracted to informatics since a very young age and after years of studies it still keeps me passionate in this field. Generally, my main interests are distributed systems and web development, but lately I became fascinated by natural language processing and the careful work of machine learning involved. This project offers me a chance to test and expand my abilities in this new, exciting field.
While her first MSc was in Linguistics, during her internship in Edinburgh Alessandra had the crazy idea to write a dissertation that connected Automatic Speech Recognition and Natural Language Understanding, because she found it interesting. Naturally this required a tremendous amount of learning, but she had so much fun, she went back to Edinburgh to do a MSc in Speech and Language Processing. Apparently she still hasn’t had enough of research, because after one year in the industry in dialog development, she left her job to pursue a PhD in Computer Science; and she plans to have a whale of a time playing with dialogues and virtual agents.
In her spare time, you can spot Alessandra in small theatres either impersonating characters on stage or writing them down for a play.
I still remember the day my primary school teacher told my mother: “Your son will never be good at school”.
I finished high school at the top of my class and went on to University to study CS. Instead of looking for a job, after my Bachelors I went on for a MSc in data science, where I attended Language Understanding Systems, the most difficult course I had ever taken.
Of course, I decided to write my dissertation on it and to do an internship in the lab that developed such systems. As you might have guessed, I love challenges.