Macquarie University and VoiceBox Technologies announce international research partnership for natural language understanding and voice artificial intelligence

13 September 2016

Professor Dr Mark Johnson to head the VoiceBox Centre of Excellence for Voice AI, housed in the Macquarie Park Innovation District (MPID).

As one of the leading research hubs for Natural Language Understanding (NLU) worldwide, Macquarie University and US-based VoiceBox Technologies today announced an international research and development partnership. VoiceBox Technologies, is an award-winning pioneer of Contextual Natural Language Understanding (CNLU) and the leading innovator of next gen Voice Artificial Intelligence (Voice AI). VoiceBox is taking voice interaction from today’s NLU based systems, to the next generation by employing AI techniques in advanced Semantic Language Understanding, large-scale data mining, Deep Neural Networks and advanced machine learning.

Macquarie professor Dr Mark Johnson has been named the Chief Scientific Officer of VoiceBox Australia and will lead the VoiceBox office as a Centre of Excellence for Voice AI. Dr Johnson is overseeing the advanced labs located on the university’s campus in the heart of the Macquarie Park Innovation District (MPID). VoiceBox Australia will focus on research and development of Voice AI – a next gen intelligent interface that will provide voice recognition and natural language understanding at a much higher level of sophisticated intelligence, enabling higher accuracy and usability than previously achieved.

“Macquarie University is one of the few places in the world with research strengths across a broad range of language sciences, including NLU,” said Dr Johnson, Chief Scientific Officer of VoiceBox Australia. “Together with VoiceBox, we will focus research and development efforts on next generation Voice AI, as well as continually honing expertise in speech recognition and natural language understanding.”

“Our new Centre of Excellence in Australia represents our commitment to developing Voice AI as well as exploring opportunities in the Asia Pacific Region,” said Mike Kennewick, VoiceBox CEO. “Macquarie is an elite research facility that consistently attracts and keeps top talent because of its willingness to innovate. Mark is a world class scientist – the perfect leader to execute on the VoiceBox vision to provide an intelligent interface for the Internet of Things.”

This research partnership highlights the innovation taking place in the region, as well as the potential for industry collaboration with academia. By way of employment, student placement opportunities and the identification of further joint research projects, this partnership will actively contribute to the local innovation ecosystem and deliver measurable research impact and engagement.

“In the past, Dr Johnson would have been required to relocate to the US to undertake such an opportunity,” said Barbara Messerle, Executive Dean of Macquarie University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering. “However, with Macquarie’s commitment to the MPID, we will see many more ground-breaking opportunities emerge.”

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