Distinguished Alumni Awards

Lalit Bahl

Lalit  Bahl
To Lalit Bahl, for outstanding contributions in speech recognition software technologies and information theory.

Senior Research Scientist, Renaissance Technologies, East Setauket, New York

  • BTech, 1964, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
  • MS, 1966, Electrical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • PhD, 1969, Electrical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Over the last three decades, the methods and algorithms originated by Lalit Bahl and his colleagues have been adopted by virtually every speech recognition research and development team in the world. Using these techniques, IBM has developed some of the world’s most advanced speech recognition products. Most notable of these are the IBM ViaVoice and Simply Speaking systems, which allow PC users to create documents using speech input.

Bahl joined the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in 1968, working on several research projects in information and communication theory. In 1972, he joined the newly formed Speech Recognition Group to work on algorithms for the automatic recognition of human speech. During the next few years, along with two colleagues, he pioneered the application of Markov Models to the problems of speech recognition. From 1979-1997, Bahl served as the Manager of the Speech Algorithms Group at IBM, which produced new and innovative algorithms for speech recognition. In 1991-92, he led a team at the IBM Science Center in Paris that developed a multinational speech recognition system.

Bahl has also made significant contributions to the field of information theory, leading to such innovations as turbo codes, minimal trellises, and new decoding algorithms. Upon his retirement from IBM in 1998, he joined Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund management company, where he continues to apply his mathematical expertise in statistical modeling and inference for the analysis of the stock market and the automated execution of trades.

Among Bahl’s many awards are the President’s Gold Medal for Outstanding Graduate of the Year (Indian Institute of Technology, 1964) and the S. Seshu Fellowship Award (University of Illinois, 1966). An IEEE Fellow, he has twice received the IEEE Signal Processing Society Senior Award, plus an IEEE Information Theory Society Golden Jubilee Award. As a member of the IBM Academy of Technology, he has been recognized with the IBM Master Inventor Award, 18 IBM Invention Plateau Awards, and five IBM Outstanding Innovation Awards. He has published more than 80 technical papers in scientific journals and conferences, has been awarded 37 US patents, and published 114 inventions in the IBM Technical Disclosure Bulletin.

In addition to his many individual contributions to the field of engineering, Bahl’s spirit of service extends to the creation of the Joan and Lalit Bahl Fellowship in Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Ravindar K. and Kavita Kinra Fellowship in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Illinois.

Current as of 2012.