ITU researcher wins Amazon Research Award

Barbara Plank, Associate Professor from ITU’s Natural Language Processing (NLP) research group, has received a prestigious Amazon Research Award (ARA) for her work on improving automatic language understanding, for instance in digital assistants.

Computer Science DepartmentResearchalgorithmsawardsartificial intelligenceBarbara Plank

Barbara Plank’s research focuses on deep learning methods for Natural Language Processing. In the Amazon project, she will develop algorithms to make products such as Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa become better at understanding commands from the users.

The project will be carried out in collaboration with Amazon Alexa AI in Aachen, Germany. The aim of the project is to use transfer learning to extend the capabilities of automatic language understanding, for example to expand to new languages.

Read more about Barbara Plank’s research on multitask learning and transfer learning.

The ARA awards are granted to foster innovation and collaboration with major research institutions around the globe. The annual award offers up to $80,000 in funding to faculty members at academic institutions worldwide and $20,000 in Amazon Web Service credits to support research in a variety of Artificial Intelligence areas such as computer vision, natural language processing, robotics and security.

This year, 82 faculty around the globe received the award. In 2017, Amazon awarded 49 researchers, out of which only five in the Europe, from over 800 submissions.

Further information

Barbara Plank, Associate Professor, phone +45 7218 5274, email

Vibeke Arildsen, Press Officer, phone 2555 0447, email