Abeer Alwan is an electrical engineer whose research focuses on modeling human speech production and perception mechanisms, both normal and disordered, and using these models to improve the performance of speech-processing systems and biomedical-engineering devices related to speech and hearing. Because speech science and engineering is multidisciplinary, Alwan collaborates with colleagues in fields as diverse as computer science, education, linguistics, medicine, and physiological science.
At Radcliffe, Alwan will develop procedures for predicting perceptual confusions among speech sounds in noisy conditions by integrating knowledge of the acoustic properties of speech with understanding of the human auditory system. This research will provide insight into our cognitive abilities and guidelines for improving automatic speech-recognition systems.
Since receiving her PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Alwan has been with the electrical engineering department at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), where she is a professor. Alwan established and directs the UCLA Speech Processing and Auditory Perception Laboratory. She is the recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Research Initiation Grant and CAREER Award and of the National Institutes of Health FIRST Award, among other honors. Alwan is a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and an elected member of its Technical Committee on Speech Communication and of the IEEE Speech and Language Technical Committee. She is a member of the editorial board of the journal Speech Communication and was a coeditor in chief of that journal.