About Fumitada Itakura
Fumitada Itakura was born in Toyokawa, Aichi prefecture in 1940. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at Nagoya University under the supervision of Kanehisa Udagawa and Teruo Fukumura. In 1968, he joined NTT's Electrical Communication Laboratory in Tokyo. He completed his Ph.D. in speech processing in 1972, writing his dissertation on "Speech Analysis and Synthesis based on a Statistical Method." He worked as a Resident Visitor in the Acoustics Research Department of Bell Labs under James Flanagan from 1973 to 1975. Between 1975 and 1981, he researched problems in speech analysis and synthesis based on the Line Spectrum Pair [LSP] method. In 1981, he was appointed as Chief of the Speech and Acoustics Research Section at NTT. He left this position in 1984 to take a professorship in communications theory and signal processing at Nagoya University. His major contributions include theoretical advances involving the application of time static stochastic process, linear prediction, and maximum likelihood classification to speech recognition. He patented the PARCOR vocoder in 1969 and helped to design Fujitsu's speech recognition chip in the early 1980s. His awards include the IEEE ASSP Senior Award, 1975, an award from Japan's Ministry of Science and Technology, 1977, and the 1986 Morris N. Liebmann Award (with B. S. Atal). He is a member of the IEEE, the Institute of Electronics and Communication Engineers of Japan, and the Acoustical Society of America.
The interview begins with a description of Itakura's education and early interest in mathematics. Although he lacked sophisticated equipment, he was able to undertake studies of speech. Because of his interest in and knowledge of mathematics, Itakura was able to exploit the findings of mathematicians and translate them into engineering terms. Much of the rest of the interview is concerned with the technical problems involved in speech modeling and speech recognition, and Itakura's application of mathematical and statistical theory to find solutions. He also describes the different approaches to speech recognition research in the United States and Japan.
About the Interview
FUMITADA ITAKURA: An Interview Conducted by Frederik Nebeker, Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, 22 April 1997
Interview #336 for the Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
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It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:
Fumitada Itakura, an oral history conducted in 1997 by Frederik Nebeker, IEEE History Center, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.
Interviewee: Fumitada Itakura
Interviewer: Frederik Nebeker
Date: 22 April 1997
Place: Munich, Germany