Speech and Dialog Research Group

Established: March 27, 2000

Research in speech recognition, language modeling, language understanding, spoken language systems and dialog systems.


Our goal is to fundamentally advance the state-of-the-art in speech and dialog technology. To achieve this, we are working in all aspects of machine learning, neural network modeling, signal processing, and dialog modeling. Recently, to support our work, we have developed the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (CNTK, formerly Computational Network Toolkit), which makes it easy to define complex neural network structures, and train them across multiple GPUs with unprecedented efficiency. You can find out more about this work by exploring the projects and individual home pages listed below.

In addition to advancing our basic scientific understanding of natural language processing and advancing the state of the art, our work finds an outlet in Microsoft products such as Cortana, Xbox, and the Project Oxford web services suite. We have developed two of the key services. LUIS (Language Understanding Intelligent Service) makes it very easy for a developer to add language understanding to applications. From a small number of examples, LUIS is able to determine a user’s intent when they talk or type. CRIS (Custom Recognition Intelligent Service) provides companies with the ability to deploy customized speech recognition. The developer uploads sample audio files and transcriptions, and the recognizer is customized to the specific circumstances. This can make recognition far better in unusual circumstances, such as recognition on a factory floor, or outdoors. At runtime, both LUIS and CRIS are accessed via web APIs.

The Speech & Dialog Research Group is managed by Fil Alleva.

Previous projects

Former Members


Microsoft Research blog

Speech Recognition Leaps Forward

By Janie Chang, Writer, Microsoft Research During Interspeech 2011, the 12th annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association being held in Florence, Italy, from Aug. 28 to 31, researchers from Microsoft Research will present work that dramatically improves the potential of real-time, speaker-independent, automatic speech recognition. Dong Yu, researcher at Microsoft Research Redmond, and Frank Seide, senior researcher and research manager with Microsoft Research Asia, have been spearheading this work, and their teams have collaborated…

August 2011

Microsoft Research Blog

Kinect Audio: Preparedness Pays Off

By Rob Knies, Senior Editor, Microsoft Research It always helps to be prepared. Just ask Ivan Tashev. A principal software architect in the Speech group at Microsoft Research Redmond, Tashev played an integral role in developing the audio technology that enabled Kinect for Xbox 360 to become the fastest-selling consumer-electronics device ever, with eight million units sold in its first 60 days on the market. Kinect represents part of Microsoft’s deep investment in natural user…

April 2011

Microsoft Research Blog

Making Car Infotainment Simple, Natural

By Rob Knies, Managing Editor, Microsoft Research You’re steering with your left hand while your right is punching car-stereo buttons in eager search of that amazing new Lady Gaga song. Your mobile phone rings, and as you adjust your headset—hands-free, naturally—the driver in front of you slams on his brakes … Sound familiar? For drivers, such a scenario is almost commonplace. These days, the automobile is tricked out with all sorts of conveniences, designed to…

November 2009

Microsoft Research Blog