Prof. L. Rabiner publishes book on Digital Speech Processing


Dr. Lawrence Rabiner, a pioneer in the field of telecommunications, joined the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2002, after an illustrious 40-year career at AT&T.

Dr. Rabiner initially joined Bell Laboratories in 1962 (as an MIT Co-Op student). Dr. Rabiner earned BS (’64), MS (’64) and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering (’67) from MIT and joined Bell Laboratories Research as a Member of the Technical staff immediately after graduating from MIT. Over the course of 36-years, Dr. Rabiner rose through the Laboratories ranks and eventually became Functional Vice-President. In 1998, he was promoted to the position of Vice President of Research of the newly created AT&T Labs-Research, a position he held for 4-years.

Throughout his illustrious career, Dr. Rabiner created, developed, and contributed to multiple projects and technologies that have altered the communications landscape. In the area of speech processing, he has made significant contributions to the fields of speech analysis, speech synthesis and speech recognition; he built one of the first digital speech synthesizers capable of converting arbitrary text to intelligible speech. In the area of speech recognition, Dr. Rabiner was a primary collaborator in the creation of the statistical method of representing speech known as hidden Markov modeling (HMM).

Dr. Rabiner’s work on voice processing services was perhaps his most financially beneficial contribution to the field of telecommunications. He created technologies and generated research that resulted in multiple voice processing systems deployed by AT&T. One such system automated a range of “operator services” previously performed by live operators. These systems ultimately resulted in savings of hundreds of millions of dollars annually for AT&T. The first such automated voice system, known as Voice Recognition Call Processing (VRCP), was initially deployed in 1992, and it successfully handled more than one billion speech recognition assisted calls each year, with a service accuracy rate greater than 99%. Another well-known contribution of Dr. Rabiner’s lab is the ‘How May I Help You Service’, a natural language dialog service, initially implemented in 2002, that successfully facilitated more than two million customer-to-computer service calls per month via a natural language dialogue.

Dr. Rabiner’s research and his contributions to the voice processing field have been widely recognized. He is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America (‘70), IEEE Fellow (’76), Bell Labs Fellow (’89) and AT&T Labs Fellow (’96). He is a recipient of the IEEE Centennial (’84) and IEEE Millennium (’99) awards, a Piori Medal winner (’80), a Kilby Medal winner (’99), and a member of both the National Academy of Engineering (’83) and the National Academy of Sciences (’90). He holds academic appointments at Rutgers University and the University of California at Santa Barbara.