Current ASA MeetingAcoustics in Focus
Tuesday, 8 June 2021, 4:00 p.m. EDT
Speech Acoustics and Mental Health Assessment
Carol Espy-Wilson, University of Maryland
According to the World Health Organization, more than 264 million people worldwide suffer from Major Depression Disorder (MDD) and another 20 million have schizophrenia. MDD and schizophrenia are among the most common precursors to suicide and, according to a 2018 CDC report, suicidality is the second leading cause of death in youth and young adults between 10 and 34 years of age. While suicidality has historically been at low rates in the black community, it has recently become a crisis for black youth. It is the second leading cause for the death of black children between 10 and 14 years of age, and it is the third leading cause of death for black adolescents between 15 and 19 years of age. Our work is focused on understanding how a person’s mental health status is reflected in their coordination of speech gestures. Speech articulation is a complex activity that requires finely timed coordination across articulators, i.e., tongue, jaw, lips, velum and larynx. In a depressed or a psychotic state, this coordination changes and in turn modifies the perceived speech signal. In this talk, I will discuss a speech inversion system we developed that maps the acoustic signal to vocal tract variables (TVs). The trajectories of the TVs show the timing and spatial movement of speech gestures. Next, I will discuss how we use machine learning techniques to compute articulatory coordination features (ACFs) from the TVs. The ACFs serve as input into a deep learning model for mental health classification. Finally, I will illustrate the key acoustic differences between speech produced by subjects when they are mentally ill relative to when they are in remission and relative to healthy controls. The ultimate goal of this research is the development of a technology (perhaps an app) for patients that can help them, their therapists and caregivers monitor their mental health status between therapy sessions.
Dr. Espy-Wilson’s research is in speech communication. She combines knowledge of digital signal processing, speech acoustics, linguistics, machine learning and deep learning to conduct interdisciplinary research in speech production, speech and speaker recognition, speech enhancement and single-channel speech segregation. She also analyzes speech as a behavioral signal for emotion recognition, sentiment analysis and the detection and monitoring of mental health.
Dr. Espy-Wilson received her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and her M.S., E.E. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Maryland, Dr. Espy-Wilson was a faculty member at Boston University. Her company, OmniSpeech, translated research in her lab on noise suppression and speech enhancement to technology that improves speech-enabled technology in any device, app or platform.
Dr. Espy-Wilson is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, the International Speech Communication Association, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and a Senior Member of IEEE. Among the other honors and awards she has received for her research contributions are a Clare Boothe Luce Professorship, a Career Award from the National Institutes of Health, two Honda Initiation Awards, an Invention of the Year Award (2010) and an Innovator of the Year Award (2010).
Dr. Espy-Wilson has served as the chair of the Speech Technical Committee of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) and as an elected member of the Speech and Language Technical Committee of IEEE. She has served on the board of ASA’s Acoustics Today and as an Associate Editor of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. For the National Institutes of Health she has been a member of the National Advisory Board for Medical Rehabilitation and as a member of the Advisory Council of the National Institutes on Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. Currently, she is a member of the Advisory Council of the National Institutes of Deafness and other Communication Disorders.
Wednesday, 9 June 2021, 4:30 p.m. EDT
A Personal Perspective and Journey through DEI & STEM
Sylvester James Gates, Jr., Brown University
Abdus Salam, a 1979 Nobel Prize recipient in Physics, once told the speaker there was a possibility of “Jazz in Physics” coming into existence when the field became more diverse. This presentation will present a personal interpretation and story on the meaning of this “puzzling” comment and how it led to a citation by the Supreme Court of the United States.
Sylvester James “Jim” Gates, Jr., (born December 15, 1950) is an American theoretical physicist. He received two B.S. degrees and a Ph.D. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the latter in 1977. His doctoral thesis was the first one at MIT to deal with supersymmetry. In 2017, Gates retired from the University of Maryland, and is currently the Brown Theoretical Physics Center Director, Ford Foundation Professor of Physics, an Affiliate Mathematics Professor, and a Faculty Fellow, Watson Institute for International Studies & Public Affairs at Brown University. While at the University of Maryland, College Park, Gates was a University System Regents Professor, the John S. Toll Professor of Physics, the Director of the String and Particle Theory Center, and Affiliate Professor of Mathematics.
Gates served on the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, contemporaneously on the Maryland State Board of Education from 2009-2016, and the National Commission on Forensic Science from 2013-2016. He is known for his work on supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory. In 1984, working with M.T. Grisaru, M. Rocek, W. Siegel, Gates co-authored Superspace, the first comprehensive book on the topic of supersymmetry. In 2017, working with Frank Blitzer and Stephen Jacob Sekula, he co-authored Reality in the Shadows (Or) What the Heck’s the Higgs? In 2019, together with Cathie Pelletier, he co-authored Proving Einstein Right: The Daring Expeditions that Changed How We Look at the Universe. In 2006, he completed a DVD series titled Superstring Theory: The DNA of Reality for The Teaching Company composed of 24 half-hour lectures to make the complexities of unification theory comprehensible to non-physicists.
In 2012, he was named a University System of Maryland Regents Professor, only the sixth person so recognized in the system’s history. He is a past president of the National Society of Black Physicists, and is a NSBP Fellow, as well as a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Institute of Physics in the U.K. In 2019 he was elected to the presidential line of the APS where he is currently serving as President. He also is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. In 2013, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, becoming the first African-American theoretical physicist so recognized in its 150-year history. On November 16, 2013, Prof. Gates was awarded the Mendel Medal by Villanova University “in recognition of his influential work in supersymmetry, supergravity and string theory, as well as his advocacy for science and science education in the United States and abroad.” President Obama awarded Prof. Gates the 2011 National Medal of Science, the highest award given to scientists in the U.S., at a White House ceremony in 2013. During 2014, he was named the Harvard Foundation’s “Scientist of the Year.” In 2019, he was invited to serve on the American Bar Assoc Steering Committee for the Annual Prescription For Criminal Justice And Forensic Science. In 2020, he began serving on the Board of Trustees of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. He continues to broadly engage video documentaries with appearances or cameos. He currently continues his research in supersymmetry in systems of particles, fields, and strings.