I was born in Athens, Greece. I received the ECE Dipl. from the National Tech. Univ. of Athens in 1990. I then spend 12 years in the east coast studying and doing research. I received the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University, in 1991 and 1995, respectively. My thesis work focused on analyzing and modeling non-linear interaction between source and vocal tract during speech production. The work relied heavily on the AM-FM speech model proposed by my advisor Petros Maragos with colleagues Jim Kaiser and Tom Quatieri.I then went on to work for Bell Labs, and AT&T Shannon Labs. My research work there focused on robust speech recognition in collaboration with my mentor Rick Rose, on children speech analysis, recognition and interaction with my long-time collaborator and friend Shri Narayanan, and on spoken dialogue interaction with the DARPA Communicator team at Bell Labs most notably Eric Fosler-Lussier, Jeff Kuo and Egbert Ammicht. While at Bell Labs I embarked on a part-time M.B.A. at Stern School of Business, NYU.
Switching to academia, I then spend 10 fruitful and enjoyable years at the Tech. Univ. of Crete among world-class colleagues including Vas Digalakis. My work there focused on robust speech recognition, multimedia processing, child-computer interaction, spoken dialogue systems and more recently lexical semantics. In 2013, I went back to my old stomping grounds at NTUA, now as an academic, working with work-class colleagues and students on child-robot interaction, emotion recognition, language development and deep learning.
In 2016, together with Shri Narayanan and Prem Natarajan, we founded Behavioral Signals an emotion AI deep tech startup, where I served both as a CEO and CTO. In 2021, I joined Alexa as an Amazon scholar working on natural multiparty dialogue joining forces with excellent colleagues and good friends.
Where I Work
- In August 2021, I joined Alexa as an Amazon scholar collaborating with the Natural Language Understanding / Dialog group.
- In the summer of 2013, I joined the School of Electronical and Computer Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens, Athens, Greece as an associate professor.
- I have been involved in various deep-tech startups, and have co-founded Alesman in 2009, Behavioral Informatix in 2013 and Behavioral Signals in 2016.
- Since 2016 I have been a visiting professor at the Viterbi School of Engineering, Univ. of Southern California collaborating with the SAIL lab.
- I am also affiliated with the Athena Research and Innovation Center in Athens and the Telecommunication System Institute in Chania, Crete.
- For the 2013-14 academic year I was a visiting Associate Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering of University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA affiliated with the SAIL Lab and ISI.
- From 2003 to 2013 I was an Associate Professor at the School of Electronic and Computer Engineering of Technical University of Crete, Chania, Greece.
- From 1999 to 2002 I was a Technical Staff Member and Technical Supervisor at the Multimedia Communications Lab at Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill, NJ.
- From 1999 to 2001 I was an adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering of Columbia University, New York, NY.
- From 1995 to 1999 I was a Senior Technical Staff Member at the Speech and Image Processing Lab, AT&T Shannon Labs, Florham Park, NJ.
What I do
My current research interests include speech processing, analysis, synthesis and recognition, dialog and multi-modal systems, lexical semantics, natural language understanding, general artificial intelligence, behavioral informatics, affective analysis, modeling and recognition, machine learning and representation learning, cognitive semantics, nonlinear signal processing, and multimodal child-computer interaction. I am especially interested on how cognitive semantic representations can motivate us to create computational models that are robust, accurate and rapid learners of multimodal information with application to deep learning.
I have authored or co-authored over 200 papers in professional journals and conferences (citations: 7437, h-index: 45, google scholar - Feb 2022). I was a co-author of the paper "Creating conversational interfaces for children" that received a 2005 IEEE Signal Processing Society Best Paper Award, and the co-editor of the book "Multimodal Processing and Interaction: Audio, Video, Text" , Springer, 2008. A list of my patents can be found here. I have been a member of the IEEE Signal Processing Society since 1992 and a IEEE fellow since 2016. I have served three terms at the IEEE Speech and Language Technical Committee and one term at the IEEE Multimedia Signal Processing Committee.