Bowen Zhou  Bowen Zhou photo       

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Director, AI Foundations & Chief Scientist, Watson Platform; Distinguished Engineer
T. J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY USA



Dr. Bowen Zhou is the Director of Artificial Intelligence Foundations (AIF), the first horizontal centralized machine/deep learning and AI research Lab at IBM Research that he founded in January 2017. AIF's mission is to democratize AI by improving AI’s learning capability and time-to-value. The research areas include foundational learning paradigms for AI, new architectures and algorithms for deep learning and end-to-end learnable AI. On its extended research team, AIF is founded with IBM's best talents and minds who were behind a number of major AI and learning milestones in history and who are making ongoing exciting new progresses, ranging from Deep Blue, TD-Gammon (the first self-teaching neural network that learned to play backgammon at human world championship level), IBM's Jeopardy!, to speech, vision, and natural language understanding etc, to name a few.

Since 2016, Bowen has also been the Chief Scientist of Watson Platform & IBM Distinguished Engineer. In the combination of these executive leadership roles, Bowen is ultimately responsible to define, articulate and execute IBM's technical strategies across deep learning, machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence, and to lead and align Watson Platform's science agenda with IBM's foundational technical strategy in these areas.

Building, nourishing, and growing a high-performance research and technical team from scratch for multiple times, for more than 10 years, Bowen has bee leading IBM's research efforts around the creation and application of new state-of-the-art statistical learning techniques, such as deep learning, to make algorithmic advancements previously in the fields of question answering, natural language understanding, reading comprehension, knowledge acquisition, natural language generation and summarization, speech translation and machine translation.

Besides foundational research, Bowen had also taken various responsibilities in engineering, production, strategy and operations. Bowen led the development of a number of cloud services exposing core ML/DL/Language/AI capabilities in the IBM cloud and the Watson Developer Cloud as GA products. Bowen had also been the Technical Assistant to the VP of Software and Director of IBM Research - Almaden. In that role, he worked closely with the Executives and Research's senior leadership team on deriving and driving world-wide strategies in Software Research's key areas (analytics, big data, cognitive computing, cloud computing, middleware, mobile, natural language, social, etc), as well as on day-to-day operations of the Software Research organization.

During 2003 to 2013, Dr. Zhou has been a Research Staff Member (and later also a Department Head) with the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, where he led the Departments of Machine Translation and Learning, and Speech-to-Speech Translation, respectively. He has also served as a Principal Investigator of the DARPA TRANSTAC and Transformative Apps Programs. In these roles, he has been responsible to advance end-to-end speech-to-speech (S2S) translation technologies spanning areas of speech recognition, natural language processing, machine translation, etc. He has also been leading a research team to collaborate and compete in machine translation with top researchers around the world under the DARPA BOLT Program. Adding to his research efforts, he was also involved in developing and deploying speech and machine translation systems for various real-world applications and platforms, ranging from smartphones to clouds. Among other activities, he and his team created the MASTOR, a multilingual two-way real-time speech-to-speech translator that is completely hosted on mobile devices, from iPaq to iPad, and smartphones. A demo is available here .

Bowen has a broad interest in statistical models, machine learning, artiticial intelligence, and human language technologies. He has published about 100 papers at top conferences and journals. More about his research can be found from Publications(to be updated) or from his Google Scholar page.

In addition to his research agenda and managerial role, Bowen enjoys creating and building large computer systems that end users can directly interact with, also to showcase the novel algorithms and models developed by him and his colleagues. He is the author of two machine translation and speech translation systems that are entered into the annual DARPA BOLT and DARPA TransTac competitions, and are also integrated into IBM's deliverable to our clients. This includes a formal syntax-based SMT system (a.k.a. ForSyn), and FOLSOM, a multiple-graph based framework for text and speech translation with joint decoding of speech recognition and machine translation. While in graduate school, he designed and coded the prototype of SpeechFind around early 2000s, an end-to-end web-based spoken document retrieval system of up to 60,000 hours of historic speech collection of the 20th Century, which includes audio parsing and analytics, large vocabulary continuous speech recognition, rapid speaker adaptation, information retrieval, query expansion, database management, web-based user interface and visualization, and multimedia content delivery, etc.

He is a Senior Member of the IEEE, a Member of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL), and he is an elected member of the IEEE Speech and Language Technical Committee , serving as an Area Chair for ICASSP since 2012. He is currently an Associate Editor for IEEE/ACM Transaction on Audio, Speech and Language Processing. He also served as an Area Co-Chair of Machine Translation of the 2012 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies (NAACL/HLT), and an invited panelist at the 2010 NAACL/HLT. He has also served as committee members and session chairs for major speech and language conferences, professional meetings, and workshops.