Giving Computers a Voice

You may have dreamed of having a conversation with your computer, but have you thought about what it takes for a computer to have a conversation with a human?

How HPC enables natural language processing—and what you can do with it

Natural language processing (NLP) is a form of artificial intelligence (AI) that enables a computer to understand, interpret, and use spoken or written human language. For example, NLP can be used to translate communications from one language to another, convert voice to text and vice versa, and even give chatbots the ability to have human-like conversations that help people get quick responses to questions and concerns.

The field of NLP has recently been transformed by the use of neural networks and deep learning, enabled by advances in High performance Computing (HPC). It’s now possible to build AIs that can interact with people more naturally than ever before. And first-movers are already incorporating NLP into a wide range of processes.

To help you capitalize on this trend, Dell Technologies has an active research program focused on helping interested parties explore, develop and adopt natural language processing applications. This research is carried out by a data sciences team at the Dell Technologies HPC & AI Innovation Lab in Austin, Texas.

For example, data scientists at the lab are working to solve key problems associated with translating from one human language to another. Our research indicates that training models for language-to-language translation could be scaled to an extreme level, allowing models to be trained at a much faster pace and at a much larger scale without breaking the current state of the art.

In another example, the team undertook to convert text to a human-sounding voice. Our neural networks have been able to transform voice synthesis, replacing artificial sounding “robot speak” with smooth, natural voices. The scale-out parallelism and acceleration made possible by HPC systems at the lab is driving down the time to create these voice models from months to hours, turning the dream of conversational computers into a reality even faster.

Natural language processing is a powerful tool for organizations to streamline their interactions with customers, employees, partners and others. To help you capitalize on this opportunity, researchers in the Dell Technologies HPC & AI Innovation Lab are working to advance the technologies and methodologies for the development of language-to-language translation and text-to-voice translation applications. We’re excited to share our learnings, insights and best practices for NLP using high performance computing and artificial intelligence.

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About the Author: Luke Wilson

Lucas A. “Luke” Wilson, Ph.D. is the Artificial Intelligence Research lead in the HPC & AI Innovation Lab at Dell Technologies, where he focuses on scalable and high performance deep learning training and inference. Prior to joining Dell Technologies, Luke was an HPC researcher at the Texas Advanced Computing Center, where he participated in the construction and operation of several of the most powerful supercomputers in the world for open research. Luke’s research background is in parallel and distributed metaheuristics including artificial neural networks, genetic algorithms, and artificial immune systems.