Erica Cooper 

I am currently a PhD student with the Speech Lab at Columbia University. My research interests are in speech synthesis and recognition, with a focus on low-resource languages. I have previously worked on spoken keyword search, pronunciation modeling, natural language question answering, and deception detection. I am currently working within an HMM-based speech synthesis framework to discover ways of creating intelligible and natural-sounding text-to-speech voices from low-resource and found data.

 curriculum vitae

Current Projects

Text-to-Speech for Low-Resource Languages

We are working towards developing methods of building intelligible, natural-sounding TTS voices out of limited data. While most commercial TTS voices are built from audio recorded by a professional speaker in a controlled acoustic environment, this data can be very time-consuming and expensive to collect. We are exploring the use of radio broadcast news, speech recorded with mobile phones, and other found data for building TTS voices in diverse languages, investigating data selection and model adaptation techniques for making the most out of noisy data.

Spoken Keyword Search for Low-Resource Languages

The IARPA BABEL program aims to develop spoken keyword search systems for diverse low-resource languages. Our group focuses on the use of prosodic features for improving recognition accuracy and keyword search performance, as well as experiments in cross-lingual adaptation of models for identifying prosodic events.

Past Projects

Charisma in Political Speech

We investigated acoustic and lexical correlates of political success in the 2004 and 2008 primary elections, focusing on speech from debates and television interviews.

Deception Detection

This project consisted in examining the feasibility of automatic detection of deception in speech, using linguistic, prosodic, and other acoustic cues.

Natural Language Online Question Answering

Contributed to the START natural language question answering tool at the MIT CSAIL InfoLab Group by adding recovery and repair modules for when web scraping scripts fail due to website format changes.

Open Image Annotation for Machine Vision

Contributed to the LabelMe project at the MIT CSAIL Computer Vision Group by adding usability features to the online image annotation tool.

Rescoring Confusion Networks for Keyword Search.

Victor Soto, Erica Cooper, Lidia Mangu, Andrew Rosenberg, Julia Hirschberg. Victor Soto, Erica Cooper, Lidia Mangu, Andrew Rosenberg, Julia Hirschberg.

Cross-Language Phrase Boundary Detection.

Victor Soto, Erica Cooper, Andrew Rosenberg, Julia Hirschberg. International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing, May 2013, Vancouver, Canada.

Cross-Language Prominence Detection.

Andrew Rosenberg, Erica Cooper, Rivka Levitan, Julia Hirschberg. Speech Prosody, May 2012, Shanghai, China.

Effect of Pronunciations on OOV Queries in Spoken Term Detection.

Dogan Can, Erica Cooper, Abhinav Sethy, Chris White, Bhuvana Ramabhadran, Murat Saraclar. International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing, April 2009, Taipei, Taiwan.

Unsupervised Pronunciation Validation.

Christopher M. White, Abhinav Sethy, Bhuvana Ramabhadran, Patrick Wolfe, Erica Cooper, Murat Saraclar, James K. Baker. International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing, April 2009, Taipei, Taiwan.

Web-derived Pronunciations for Spoken Term Detection.

Dogan Can, Erica Cooper, Arnab Ghoshal, Martin Jansche, Sanjeev Khudanpur, Bhuvana Ramabhadran, Michael Riley, Murat Saraclar, Abhinav Sethy, Morgan Ulinski, Christopher White. Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval, July 2009, Boston, Massachusetts.

Spoken Language Processing
Teaching assistant, Columbia, Spring 2011, Spring 2012.

Computation Structures
Teaching assistant, MIT, Spring 2010.

Introduction to Python
Laboratory assistant, MIT, January 2010.

Artificial Intelligence
Teaching assistant, MIT, Fall 2009.