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Minutes of the Sydney meeting of the ESCA SynSIG, December 2, 1998

From SynSIG

SynSIG, the ESCA Special Interest Group for Speech Synthesis, made its official start on December 2, 1998, when a formal meeting was held at ICSLP-98 in Sydney.

The meeting had been preceeded by several months of informal discussion via email and a preparatory meeting at the Speech Synthesis Workshop in Jenolan Caves. ESCA approved the SIG in August 1998.

The Sydney meeting was attended by some 60 researchers involved or interested in speech synthesis.

Wolfgang Hess gave an overview of the history and the intended structure of the SIG and introduced the temporary steering committee, consisting of Wolfgang Hess (University of Bonn, Germany), Chairperson; Nick Campbell (ATR Japan), Vice Chairperson and ESCA Liaison Representative; Bernd Moebius (Bell Labs, USA), Secretary and Treasurer; Jan van Santen (Bell Labs, USA), Evaluations Liaison Officer.

The SIG will have three levels of membership, Active member, Helper member, and Listener, to encourage more active participation.

The following activities and tasks that the SIG will or might be concerned with were discussed:

  • Web site. The SIG will set up and maintain a web site, to enhance the exchange of news on recent research developments in speech synthesis and to make available relevant resources (databases, corpora, tools, reference lists, etc.). The main web site will have several mirrors to facilitate accessibility.
  • Mailing list. The SIG will create a mailing list (synsig-at-esca-speech.org), to be activated by January 1999.
  • Evaluation. The broadly stated goal of the evaluation activities of the SIG is that of stimulating evaluations that benefit science and help both individual and business consumers of synthesis to select systems that meet their needs. A special web page for news and information concerning speech synthesis evaluation will be set up at the main SIG web site. Jan van Santen and Eric Keller made a number of concrete suggestions for evaluation activities which will be detailed on the evaluation web page.
  • Possible revenues, e.g. from workshops, should allow the SIG to allocate money to specific targets, such as a web master, disk storage space, archiving, etc.
  • Louis Pols suggested that the SIG encourage the setup and design for collaborative international and multilingual experiments.
  • Veronique Auberge and Eric Keller suggested that the SIG organize the exchange of research students.
  • Gerard Bailly and Bernd Moebius suggested that effective communication should be established between the speech synthesis community and other groups and disciplines (e.g., speech coding), in particular in the area of standardization.
  • Gregor Moehler suggested the collection and exchange of tools and resources for teaching purposes.
  • The issue of public release and redistribution of tools and resources, as well as the release of evaluation results, was raised.

Following a proposal by Louis Pols, the current steering committee was confirmed for one year (with one vote against and the committee members abstaining). The committee was asked to start or encourage concrete activities. Nominations for the committee will be called for in the summer of 1999, and official elections will be held in the fall.

There was consensus that despite the fact that some 60 researchers attended the meeting, a significant number of people who had responded to the initial SIG proposal could not attend the meeting. Preferably, the nomination and election procedure should be implemented on the Web and by email.


SynSIG is a Special Interest Group of ISCA, the International Speech Communication Association.

SynSIG 1998-2018