ITU's Assoc. Prof. Barbara Plank receives the Amazon Research Award

Barbara Lektor på ITU

writer icon - -     ITU   |   Tech     🕐 15. Mar. 2019

“Amazon Research Awards hounor outstanding academic projects in artificial intelligence,” Amazon wrote in a press release announcing their most recent award winners.

Associate Professor Barbara Plank, is amongst the top world researchers working on artificial intelligence. She is thrilled to have become one of Amazons award winners, for her contributions to the advancements of AI.

”I am extremely excited - the award helps to put research in NLP [Natural Language Processing] in Denmark, and AI in general, onto the map.” she said to ISB.

The selected award recipients come from top-tier research institutes such as Stanford, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins, MIT, and now also IT University of Copenhagen (ITU).

Barbara Plank’s research
Plank is part of ITU’s research group Natural Language Processing (NLP) where she researches an array of deep learning methods for language technology.

Plank has been chosen to develop algorithms to improve voice recognition in products like Amazon's home devise Alexa. Her work centres on enhancing and fine-tuning the user commands.

Plank’s field is, however, not the only one awarded. "The grant is given to researchers across different academic levels, and I am very happy to join the community of young faculty members who received an Amazon Research Award", Plank explains.

Processes of change
Each researcher will be part of the global team, which will likely play an important role in the future development and usages of AI in society.

Ralf Herbrich, Director of Machine Learning at Amazon says, “with the Amazon Research Awards, we aim to deepen the existing ties of Amazon Research teams across the world to research institutions and to fund research themes that will define the future of artificial intelligence.”

Wanting to make a difference within the field of AI, all the while ensuring accessibility of her research, Plank clarifies the importance of creating open source solutions.

"The award supports the development of open source solutions, which is perfectly aligned with my research goals. I believe that providing open source solutions -both in terms of publications and tools- will help accessibility and lead to the greater benefit of all."

Open source solutions enables other programmers to change and distribute the software, therefore continuing the expansion of a solution. Therefore Plank's positioning puts her in the category of programmers that are admired by their peers.

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