Roberto Pieraccini

Former Chief Executive Officer
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Roberto Pieraccini joined ICSI as its chief executive officer in January 2012. Prior to that, he was the chief technology officer of SpeechCycle, a research manager at IBM T.J. Watson Research and SpeechWorks International, and a member of the technical staff at Bell Labs and AT&T Shannon Laboratories. He started his career in the 1980s as a researcher at CSELT, the research laboratories of the Italian telephone company. His research interests range from speech recognition to spoken language understanding and dialog, multimodal interaction, and machine learning. He is best known for his original contributions to statistical methods for spoken language understanding and machine learning for spoken dialog systems. He is a fellow of the IEEE and International Speech Communication Association, a member of the Applied Voice Input Output Society board, and on the editorial boards of several scientific and technology magazines. His book, The Voice in the Machine, was released in March 2012 by MIT Press.

Work Experience

  • Chief Executive Officer, ICSI, 2012-2013
  • Chief Technology Officer, SpeechCycle, 2005-2011
  • Manager, Conversational Interaction Technology, IBM T.J. Watson Research, 2003-2005
  • Director, Dialog Technology, SpeechWorks International, 1999-2003
  • Technical Staff Member, AT&T Shannon Laboratories, 1996-1999
  • Member of Technical Staff, AT&T Bell Laboratories, 1990-1996
  • Researcher, Speech Technology Department, CSELT, 1981-1989


  • Dr. Eng. Degree in Electrical Engineering, Universit√† degli Studi di Pisa, Pisa, Italy, 1980

Awards, Honors, and Significant Achievements

  • More than 130 publications
  • Co-originator of the conceptual HMM statistical approach to spoken language understanding
  • Co-originator of the reinforcement-learning based approach to spoken dialog
  • Author of The Voice in the Machine, a book on the history of "computers that understand speech" (MIT Press, April 2012)
  • Member, International Speech Communication Association (ISCA) Advisory Council
  • Member, Applied Voice Input Output Society board
  • Member, Speech Technology Consortium board
  • Former Member and Chair, IEEE Speech and Language Technical Committee
  • Former Member of the Editorial Board, IEEE Signal Processing Magazine
  • Member of the Editorial Board, International Journal of Speech Technology
  • General technical program co-chair for Interspeech 2011
  • Fellow, IEEE
  • Fellow, ISCA
  • Speech Technology Magazine's Speech Luminary Award, 2008 and 2012