INESC-ID is an R&D institute dedicated to advanced research and development in the fields of Information Technologies, Electronics, Communications, and Energy. It is a non-profit institution, privately owned by IST and INESC, officially declared of public interest. It was created in 2000.
INESC-ID incorporates a body of highly qualified researchers, including more than 70 researchers holding a PhD and numerous post-graduate students. The majority of the PhD researchers are university professors. This body of researchers enables INESC-ID to act in the different phases of the R&D process. The intense activity developed by INESC-ID resulted in a large number of scientific papers published in specialized journals and international conferences, industrial prototypes, and computer systems based on state-of-art technologies, as well as a number of patents and awards.
The lab includes around 30 researchers, most of them either Professors (8) or graduate students at IST, and 3 invited researchers from other universities in Portugal. Their background ranges from Electrical Engineering to Computer Science and Linguistics (the latter through the cooperation with the Center of Linguistics of the University of Lisbon – CLUL). This strongly interdisciplinary group is actively involved in many areas of spoken language research and development, including speech recognition, speech synthesis, speech coding, speech understanding, audio indexation, multimodal dialogue systems, language and dialect identification, and speech-to-speech machine translation, among others. By bringing together researchers from the area of natural language processing, the lab acquired expertise in areas such as natural language database interfaces, natural language generation, alternative syntactic and semantic processing paradigms, summarization, named entity retrieval, question answering, etc., which are also extremely relevant to the development of spoken language systems.
The expertise in these core technologies is integrated into 3 main research strands: semantic processing of multimedia contents, spoken/multimodal dialogue systems and speech-to-speech translation. The original focus on European Portuguese has now been broadened to encompass all varieties of Portuguese. Two application areas also deserve our special attention: e-learning and e-inclusion, namely in the development of alternative and augmentative communication tools for people with special needs.
Some important landmarks in L²F's activity were the development of the first Text-to-Speech synthesizer build from scratch for European Portuguese (DIXI) in 1991, and of the first version of our Large Vocabulary Continuous Speech Recognition system (AUDIMUS) for our language in 1997.
L²F is an institutional member of ISCA (International Speech Communication Association). Its work has been internationally recognized through close cooperation with other research centers in Europe and in the United States, as well as through the recent organization of the conference INTERSPEECH'2005.
L²F has actively cooperated with the national industry: Vodafone, Portugal Telecom, Microsoft Portugal, Rádio-Televisão Portuguesa (RTP), Porto Editora, Texto Editora.