Roberto Pieraccini Appointed New Director of ICSI

Roberto PieracciniICSI appoints industry veteran to bring combination of academic and corporate research expertise plus business leadership to computer science research

February 27, 2012
ICSI has appointed Roberto Pieraccini as its new director. A renowned leader in science and technology, Pieraccini brings to ICSI expertise in both academic and corporate research as well as enterprise business leadership.

"The International Computer Science Institute brings together incredibly talented world-class computer scientists, including some of the most widely cited senior and accomplished younger researchers, to tackle some of our society's most pressing intellectual challenges," said Pieraccini. "I am honored to continue in the footsteps of my predecessor Nelson Morgan, who fostered a stimulating international environment and helped ICSI grow as one of the preeminent centers of theoretical and applied research in computer science."

Pieraccini succeeds Professor Nelson Morgan, who served as director for 13 years and helped found ICSI's Computer Speech Group in 1988. Morgan will now serve as deputy director and continue to lead the Speech Group.

"Roberto brings broad scientific and technological interests, a vision for industrial and international collaboration, and a deep understanding of ICSI's mission," said Morgan. "We welcome him as our new director and look forward to a bright future ahead."

"Roberto's blend of management and in-depth research expertise makes him an ideal leader for the International Computer Science Institute. His diverse background is a great fit to ICSI's intellectual environment and for interactions with current and prospective sponsors," said Prabhakar Raghavan, head of Yahoo! Labs and chairman of ICSI's Board of Trustees.

Pieraccini has had an illustrious career in computer science, with a focus on speech and language technology. Before joining ICSI, Pieraccini, as the chief technology officer of SpeechCycle, a company focused on advanced speech and multimodal solutions, was instrumental to the most recent advancements in spoken dialog interaction technology. Prior to that he was a research staff member at IBM's T.J. Watson Research and before that a director of Research & Development for SpeechWorks. He served as the chair of IEEE's Speech and Language Technical Committee and has worked for AT&T Laboratories and Bell Labs. He started his career as a researcher at CSELT, the research labs for the Italian telephone company in the 1980s.

Pieraccini is also the author of the upcoming book The Voice in the Machine (MIT Press, April 2012), a historical look at computers that understand speech. He is actively involved in numerous industry associations, serves on the editorial boards for several science and technology magazines, and is a Fellow of IEEE and ISCA (the International Speech Communication Association).