An anonymous donation in February 1987 created the chair that Hansen assumed in 2005. The position is designed to support research and scholarly activity in the area of telecommunications.
Hansen is a leading authority not only on the theories and algorithms associated with speech processing, but also on the application of discoveries for practical use in real-world settings. He has graduated 56 doctoral and master’s thesis students. They include one who now oversees the testing and assessment of human assist devices for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and another who is part of a group at IBM honored with the top U.S. technology award for building a translation system used by soldiers and emergency workers when they are in other countries.
Every student has something to offer. I’m proud of working with many outstanding students and seeing that we build on their strengths in engineering and science to let them shine, and minimizing any weaknesses. This helps prepare them for success in their career.
Dr. John H.L. Hansen is an author of 10 textbooks and more than 400 papers in the area of speech processing and language technology. His research interests span the areas of digital speech processing, speaker trait assessment, speech and speaker recognition, and human-computer interaction.
“The majority of research in the field of speech processing for telecommunications focuses on formulating algorithms for ideal laboratory conditions,” he said. “But the resulting algorithms do not perform well in real voice communication environments, when people speak differently, or if there are noisy conditions. Understanding how both the physiology and resulting speech features change in a speaker’s voice allows us to develop new solutions to speech technologies that overcome such speech/speaker variability.”
His research has focused on situations such as highly stressful military and industrial settings as well as speech and speaker recognition systems that can accommodate everything from a whisper to a shout. Hansen is also conducting international research on distractions and road conditions faced by drivers – from fatigue to on-board navigation systems which reduce driver distraction.
Hansen is a fellow of both the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and of the International Speech Communication Association (ISCA).
Hanson earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Rutgers University, and master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was a member of the faculty at Duke University and the University of Colorado at Boulder before joining UT Dallas as head of the electrical engineering department in 2005. He has served as associate dean for research in the Jonsson School since January 2013.
In his personal life, Hansen and his wife are competitive ballroom dancers.