ECE Colloquium - April 24th

Dr. Alicia Abella, AT&T Labs Research

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 1:00pm - 2:00pm

CoRE Building Lecture Hall

Title: Empowering Devices


When I think back, at a device and its accompanying service that truly gave people an unexpected new ability I can¹t help but think back to the invention of the telephone itself. When I think about what people had to do prior to that to talk to their loved ones or friends, they basically had to get on a boat, a horse, or walk for miles. Not only was this long, it was dangerous. The telephone made it possible for people to talk to other people from the comfort of their home. Today we can not only hear each other but see each other too. Whether your across the street or around the globe. In this talk I will review a research program at AT&T Labs - Research called Empowering Devices. The vision of this research work is to create novel devices and companion services that will exploit the wireless and wired network to stimulate demand, while exciting people with unexpected new abilities.


Dr. Abella is Executive Director of the Innovative Devices and Services Research Department at AT&T Labs, where she manages a group of multi-disciplinary technical staff specializing in human-computer interaction, mobile services, SIP/VoIP technology, ubiquitous computing, and emerging devices.

In May 2013, Dr. Abella will receive Columbia University’s Medal of Excellence, an award given each year to an alumnus or alumna, under 45 years of age, whose record in scholarship, public service, or professional life is outstanding. This is the first time since 1929 -- when the award was first given -- that Columbia has awarded the medal to an engineer. In 2011, she was selected by President Obama to be on his Presidential Advisory Commission for Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Also in 2011, she was inducted into the prestigious WITI(Women in Technology International) Hall of Fame. In 2010, she was honored as one of the Top Five Women of the Year by Hispanic Business Magazine. She is also a member of the elite group of AT&T Science and Technology Medal award winners and recipient of the Hispanic Engineers National Achievement Award for Outstanding Technical Achievement.

Besides her technical contributions, Dr. Abella has been a strong advocate infostering the development of minorities and women in science and engineering. As Executive Vice President for the Young Science Achievers program,a program she has been involved with for 9 years, she has worked tirelessly to bring an interest and excitement in science and engineering to high school aged women and minority students through a program of mentoring and scientific achievement.

Following completion of her Ph.D. in Computer Science from Columbia University in 1995, Dr. Abella joined AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ where she began her work in the problem of natural language understanding and dialog management. In addition to her doctoral work, Dr. Abella received a MS from Columbia and BS from NYU, both in Computer Science. She lives in Morristown, New Jersey, with her husband Alex and their son Mark.