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SLT-CODE HACKATHON - LANGUAGES OF THE WORLD

Have you ever asked yourself how your smartphone recognizes what you say and who you are?

Have you ever thought about how machines recognize different languages?

If you have an interesting idea on how to improve speech technology (for example, building an app that can truly transcribe an under-presented language, computing a model that can be easily tuned for African languages, or building a machine translation system for your under-represented community), then come and join us! The possibilities are endless! We need your creativity and enthusiasm to make it possible.

We are throwing a two-day speech and language technology hackathon during the IEEE Spoken Language Technology (SLT) Workshop in Doha, Qatar, on January 7th and 8th, 2023. It will be inspiring, momentous, and fun.

Why?

The goal of SLT-CODE is to build a diverse community of people who want to explore and envision how machines understand the spoken languages of the world. We believe this is best done by building something together! In the spirit of LANGUAGES OF THE WORLD we hope to encourage strong participation from regions that are currently underrepresented at language technology workshops and conferences to foster interest and connections across the world.

Focus:

During the hackathon, you will focus on developing models, techniques, and applications for languages with limited resources (e.g., African, Asian, and Arabic languages).

This year's areas of interest for the hackathon are:

  • Low resource languages e.g., African, Indian, or Asian languages
  • Language Identification (supported by committee)
  • Automatic Speech Recognition (supported by committee)
  • Machine Translation (supported by committee)
  • Text to Speech (supported by committee)
  • Speech to Speech Translation
  • And more

The organizers will give support to ASR, LID, MT and TTS.

Who?

It is open to new and seasoned speech researchers, programmers, user experience designers, practitioners, and speech and language technology enthusiasts.

In-person participation is preferred; however, remote participation is possible by joining a team with at least one person being local. Team sizes will be in the range of three to six.

The application process with the form below helps ensure we will have a good balance of participants given our limited capacity (around 100 people). We're looking for a broad swath of participants to create great projects relating to low-resource speech and language technology and applications. The hackathon is associated with the SLT 2022 workshop, but participation in the SLT Workshop is not required.

Apply by September 30, 2022 with this link: https://forms.gle/spXjyoXwwyo1jyYZ9

Detailed plan:

Now - September 30

  • Work on your idea… Talk to your friends and form a team!
  • No team? No problem, register your idea. If selected, we can help you form a team.
  • Undecided? You just saw that there is a Hackathon happening?… last-minute registration (drop us an email)
  • No ideas? Register to the Hackathon, and we may find a team for you based on your skills and interests.
  • Register to the Hackathon (we just have around 100 spots)

September 30

Deadline to submit your incredible idea! Must contain:

  • Title
  • Keywords (e.g. enhancement, diarization, speaker recognition, etc)
  • Definition (one sentence)
  • Short description/Abstract of up to 300 words (incl. what problem do you want to solve, possibly a research question)
  • Dataset description (if available)
  • List of expected participants
  • Contact person (for main communication, website)
  • Should exceed no more than 3 pages.
  • The description should answer the following questions:
    • What problem do you want to solve and why?
    • Who will it impact?
    • What is your proposition around solving this problem
    • What are the potential findings of your hypothesized process?

October 12:

  • Invitation to participate
    • You will receive an invitation letter.
  • Idea selection by the organizing committee

October 12 - November 1:

  • Team forming
  • Work in advance on your idea. (Hints: What resources do you need? Who is your team? How to organize the work in advance?)
  • Connect virtually with other teams ( you will find amazing ideas and feedback!)

November 1:

  • Mentor assignation
    • Connect with your mentor! Talk to your mentor about your aspirations.
  • Check the available resources by the organizing committee.

November 1 to Jan 6:

  • Preparation of all components you need for Hackathon. Coordinate with your team. Since you will have very limited time during the hackathon, organize in advance what parts would be missing and how you are going to connect all the pieces.

Hackathon Jan 7-8:

  • Hands-on Hackathon: Connect all the pieces, make adjustments, work on improvements, talk to the other teams, ask for feedback, and give feedback to other teams.
  • Be prepared to tune your system and modify what you already have!! Other teams will be doing the same!
    • January 7th, 2023.
      • 9:00 AM: Check-in and get-together
      • 9:30 AM - 9:45 AM: Official Welcome and a short introduction
      • 9:45 AM – 10:15 AM: Meeting with mentors and final team adjustments (if needed)
      • 10:15 AM: Start working
    • January 8th, 2023.
      • 7:00 PM: Finish working
      • 7:00 PM – 9:30 PM: Presentation of projects to judges
    • January 9th, 2023.
      • 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM: Award ceremony during Student Reception at SLT

Where?

We will be glad to meet you at:

  • Multipurpose Room
    Qatar Computing Research Institute
    Researchery (HBKU Research Complex) - B1
    Education City
    Doha, Qatar

We can help!

What resources will be available:

PLATFORMS

There are many different frameworks that allow model creation for language technology.
Participants are free to use any technology platform they find suitable.

As organizers, we can offer support for the following frameworks:

  • Lex/Alexa
  • Huggingface
  • Speechbrain
  • ESPNet
  • K2/Kaldi
Teams are encouraged to use publicly available datasets.

MENTORS:

The role of the mentor is to support teams with their perspective and experience. Each team will have a mentor assigned by November 1st. The mentor will be available for one hour every two weeks till the end of the Hackathon.

JUDGES AND JUDGING CRITERIA:

The judges will be experts in the field from academia and industry. The teams will be rated by the quality of the presentation (5 minutes) and optional demonstration (2 minutes), the novelty of the ideas explored, challenges that were overcome, and possible impact. To encourage the collaborative and community-building aspect of the Hackathon, teams will rank the top 5 most collaborative teams before the presentations.

PRIZES:

All teams that give a presentation (and demonstration) will receive a certificate of participation. Teams can also receive an honorable mention which goes on their certificate. Further, some selected teams will be invited to give their presentation again at the SLT 2022 Workshop.

Summary:

LOCATION AND DATES
Location: Doha, Qatar
Dates: Saturday, January 7th, 2023, and Sunday, January 8th, 2023
Recognition on: Monday Evening, January 9th, 2023.

TIMELINE:

  • Accepting applicants until September 30, 2022 
  • Submit an idea proposal on September 30, 2022.
  • Idea selection by October 12, 2022.
  • Invitation to participate on October 12, 2022.
  • Team forming from October 12th to November 1st, 2022.
  • Each team gets a mentor assigned on November 1st, 2022. 
  • Preparation of models and components for Hackathon until January 6th, 2023
  • Hackathon
    • January 7th, 2023.
      • 9:00 AM: Check-in and get-together
      • 9:30 AM - 9:45 AM: Official Welcome and a short introduction
      • 9:45 AM – 10:15 AM: Meeting with mentors and final team adjustments (if needed)
      • 10:15 AM: Work on projects
    • January 8th, 2023.
      • 7:00 PM: Work on projects
      • 7:00 PM – 9:30 PM: Presentation of projects to judges
    • January 9th, 2023.
      • 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM: Award ceremony

Notes:

We are in the process of looking for sponsors to help with travel costs for participants from underrepresented regions. If we get support this might take the form of shared hotel rooms, stipends, or support for travel expenses on an as-needed basis.