International Collaboration of Associate Dean Lauded

Dr. John H.L. Hansen, associate dean for research in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, will travel to Denmark this month where he will be recognized by Aalborg University with the honorary degree “Doctor Technices Honoris Causa.”

Hansen, who has appointments in both the Jonsson School and in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, holds the Distinguished Chair in Telecommunications at UT Dallas. He also directs the Center for Robust Speech Systems (CRSS) – UT Dallas.

Hansen will accept the honorary degree April 21 at Aalborg University’s Annual Awards Ceremony.

“John Hansen is a highly renowned scientist in the field of Signal processing for speech recognition and he has collaborated extensively with numerous researchers at Aalborg University,” said Per Michael Johansen, President of Aalborg University. “The scientific cooperation has resulted in several important scientific results and as an appreciation of Professor Hansen’s contribution to our university I am delighted to award him the honorary doctorate degree.”

Over the past twenty years, Hansen has worked in various capacities with Aalborg. He began collaborating with the Center for Person Kommunication (CPK) with Professor Paul Dalsgaard in 1996, and has continued with many student exchanges between Aalborg University and UT Dallas over the past ten years.

“Aalborg University is perhaps one of the top five programs in speech processing in Europe, and the CRSS-UTDallas has maintained engagement with them for many years,” Hansen said. “I am honored to have been chosen for this award and anticipate a rewarding future of continued collaborations.”

Hansen has maintained interactions with Aalborg University for some time, with a number of trips for research discussions with faculty and students; he typically has given lectures during his trips as well and provided feedback on student projects. He has hosted PhD students from Denmark on the UT Dallas campus and served as an external evaluator for two Aalborg University doctoral students. One of Aalborg’s students joined CRSS-UT Dallas and completed his PhD on campus in 2012.

More recently, Hansen has participated in a collaboration with Professor Zheng-Hua Tan in the department of electrical systems at Aalborg.

“I’ve given my full support to Dr. Tan’s project on social robots,” Hansen said. “His work could have a transformative impact on the Danish people, especially in eldercare scenarios where improved engagement with socially motivated robots can allow longer independent living by seniors. His work potentially ensures sustained language and cognitive engagement and lowers healthcare costs by extending the independent living options for seniors. His work has been remarkable in terms of his goals and potential societal impact.”

Tan said that Hansen is a colleague, a friend and a mentor.

“John’s support and collaboration are multi-dimensional and fruitful. He is always there ready to give support and advice. I benefit a lot from the collaboration with John. Being a world-class leader in the field of speech processing, John intensively engages himself in scientific interactions with colleagues from Aalborg University. Congrats to him in receiving this honorary doctorate from Aalborg University – a very well deserved title,” Tan said. Hansen received his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University in 1982, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1983 and 1988, respectively. He joined UT Dallas in the fall of 2005. He previously served as the department head of electrical engineering from 2005 to 2012 in the Jonsson School.

His research interests span the areas of digital speech processing, analysis and modeling of speech and speaker traits, speech processing for improved intelligibility for hearing impaired through cochlear implants, speech enhancement and feature estimation in noise, robust speech recognition with current emphasis on advanced speech/language technologies for naturalistic data for spoken document retrieval, machine learning, and hands-free environments for human-computer interaction.

Dr. Hansen is the author/coauthor of 593 publications including 136 journal and 419 conference papers, 12 books, and 25 book chapters in the field of speech processing and language technology. He has been an IEE Fellow since 2007, and an ISCA Fellow since 2010. His work on voice forensics in speaker recognition has also been recognized: He was recently elected to serve on the United States Office of Scientific Advisory Committees (OSAC) – Speaker/Voice Forensics.

Aalborg University awards the honorary doctorate to persons who have distinguished themselves academically to an extent where the University finds it “natural to honor them by awarding the highest academic degree.” The title is always awarded on the basis of a decision made by an assessment committee composed of 3-5 professors or other persons with academic insight at a corresponding level.