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Aculab and University of York gain funding award for PhD project 2019

2019 WRoCAH AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) outcome

27 June 2019, Milton Keynes, UK – Aculab, a global provider of advanced speech technologies and development APIs, is pleased to announce the award of full WRoCAH PhD funding for a collaborative project with the Department of Language and Linguistic Science at the University of York entitled Towards linguistically-informed automatic speaker recognition. 

The Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) studentship was awarded to Elliot Holmes, and the project will begin at the start of October.

Automatic speaker recognition (ASR) is increasingly used by commercial institutions to identify individuals from their voices, and by forensic labs around the world for voice evidence in legal cases. Despite their very low error rates in experiments, little is known about what information is actually captured by state-of-the art ASR systems. This collaborative project will examine how speaker-characterising information captured by ASR systems maps on to linguistic properties of the voice. The project has important implications for the development and improvement of ASR, the enhancement of public, legal and judicial understanding of ASR, and the improvement of voice analysis accuracy in forensic cases.

“We are very pleased to work with a leading commercial provider of voice biometric systems,” confirmed Dr Vincent Hughes of the Department of Language and Linguistic Science at the University of York.

“York is home to a world leading research centre for forensic speech science, and the project represents a large-scale investigation into how tangible linguistic information can be used to improve the understanding and performance of speaker recognition systems,” elaborated Dr Hughes. 

“The time he spends at Aculab will give Elliot a unique opportunity to familiarise himself with advanced speech technology, while broadening his skills in a commercial R&D environment,” explained Dr Ladan Baghai-Ravary, Speech Technology Director at Aculab. 

Dr Baghai-Ravary went on to add, “We are looking forward to embarking on this project, which has been designed to explain and enhance forensic applications of new and exciting technologies. We hope it will ultimately lead to increased uptake of automatic speech and voice analysis within the forensics industry, by providing a legally acceptable interpretation and justification of the evidence that such systems can give.”


About Aculab

Aculab offers its VoiSentry speaker verification system to facilitate an intuitive and convenient, self-service user experience, mitigate the risk of fraudulent activity, and gain time/cost savings compared to manual authentication methods.

VoiSentry is highly scalable, supports multi-factor authentication, and offers innovative resilience and database features. Interaction with Aculab’s system is via the VoiSentry API, which facilitates ready integration with any IVR, self-service, or contact centre solution. To explore the system, click here or for any further information, contact Aculab.

Additionally, Aculab offers a wide range of APIs to serve the evolving needs of automated and interactive applications, whether on-premise, data center hosted, or cloud-based. It’s telecoms related APIs include voice, data, fax, advanced speech and SMS, on hardware, software and cloud-based platforms, giving users the choice between capital investment and cost-effective, ‘pay as you go’ alternatives. 

Many years of experience in helping to drive its customers’ success has led to over 1000 customers, in more than 80 countries worldwide, including developers, integrators and service providers, adopting Aculab’s technology for a wide variety of business-critical services and solutions.

Aculab has an office in the USA and is headquartered in Milton Keynes, UK.


About the University of York

The University of York is a global university, renowned for its life-changing research and academic excellence. We collaborate with academic institutions across the globe, through partnerships, networks and research. It is a global community of more than 17,000 students and 3,000 staff from more than 150 countries. The University makes a significant impact on the lives of millions of people around the world through its emphasis on social justice, scientific discovery and societal and cultural innovation. The University believes passionately in research-led teaching to encourage creativity and independent critical thinking in its students and to challenge them to push the boundaries of knowledge and excel in their studies.

The University of York is a world-leading research centre for forensic speech science. The research group comprises staff and students at the University of York, members of J P French Associates, and a network of collaborators from linguistics, phonetics, speech technology, law, and other forensic sciences. York runs the world’s only postgraduate programme in forensic speech science, and currently holds research council-funded grants totalling over £1.5million.