Welcome to Jack Mostow's Homepage

(Last updated 10/13/02)

Project: Helping kids learn to read, by getting computers to listen to them read aloud.

Director, Project LISTEN ("Literacy Innovation that Speech Technology ENables") 

Principal Research Scientist

Robotics Institute

Language Technologies Institute

Human-Computer Interaction Institute

Center for Automated Learning and Discovery

School of Computer Science

Carnegie Mellon University

Research Interests:

My current interest is using computers to listen to children read aloud. The Reading Tutor adapts automated speech recognition to analyze oral reading. The Reading Tutor responds with spoken and graphical assistance modelled in part after expert reading teachers, but adapted to the strengths and limitations of the technology. Experimental use of the Reading Tutor in elementary school classrooms has produced dramatic gains in reading comprehension. My previous work in artificial intelligence included machine learning, automated replay of design plans, and discovery of search heuristics.

Project LISTEN offers exciting opportunities for interdisciplinary research in speech technologies, cognitive and motivational psychology, human-computer interaction, computational linguistics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, graphic design, and of course reading.

Biographical Sketch:

A.B. cum laude in Applied Mathematics (1974), Harvard University

Ph.D. in Computer Science (1981) and NSF Graduate Fellow, Carnegie Mellon University

Dr. Mostow's research interests in artificial intelligence have included speech, machine learning, and design. After research and faculty positions at Stanford, Information Sciences Institute, and Rutgers, he joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty in 1992 to launch Project LISTEN, which is getting computers to listen to children read aloud, and help them.

Dr. Mostow was Program Co-chair of the Fifteenth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI98), and has served as an editor of Machine Learning Journal and IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering.

Representative Publications (Click here for Dr. Mostow's vita and a more complete list of publications):

[SMIE 2000] Mostow, J. and Aist, G.  Evaluating Tutors that Listen:  An Overview of Project LISTEN.  In K. Forbus and P. Feltovich (Eds.) Smart Machines in Education.  MIT/AAAI Press, 2001.

[CALICO99] Mostow, J. and Aist, G.  Giving Help and Praise in a Reading Tutor with Imperfect Listening – Because Automated Speech Recognition Means
Never Being Able to Say You’re Certain.  CALICO Journal16:3, 407-424.  Special issue (M. Holland, Ed.), Tutors that Listen:  Speech recognition for Language Learning, 1999.

[USPTO 99] Mostow, J. and Aist, G.  Reading and Pronunciation Tutor.  United States Patent No. 5,920,838.  Filed June 2, 1997; issued July 6, 1999.   US
Patent and Trademark Office.

[AAAI97] J. Mostow and G. Aist. The Sounds of Silence: Towards Automated Evaluation of Student Learning in a Reading Tutor that Listens. In Proceedings of the Fourteenth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-97). American Association for Artificial Intelligence, Providence, RI, July, 1997, pp. 355-361. Click here for presentation slides.

[AAAI 94] J. Mostow, S. Roth, A. G. Hauptmann, and M. Kane. A Prototype Reading Coach that Listens. Proceedings of the Twelfth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-94), American Association for Artificial Intelligence, Seattle, WA, August 1994, pp. 785-792. Recipient of the AAAI-94 Outstanding Paper Award. Download Postscript file.

Contact Information:

Dr. Jack Mostow
RI-NSH 4213, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-8213

Email (preferred means of contact): mostow@cs.cmu.edu
Phone: (412) 268-1330
FAX: 268-6436
Secretary: Marie Elm, 268-3838, NSH 4207

Favorite Quotes:

Claims about amplified responses to new media are often exaggerated.  Our research is a reminder that we can cry when we read, and we can be bored in a virtual world....  Ultimately, it's the pictures in our heads that matter, not the ones on the screen.  [B. Reeves & C. Nass, The Media Equation:  How People Treat Computers, Television, and New Media Like Real People and Places, p. 252.]

Access to all the books in the Library of Congress is of little use if you cannot read. [F. Cairncross, The Death of Distance, p. 253.]

After all my time here, I've yet to see any problem, however complicated, which when you looked at it the right way didn't become still more complicated.
[spoken by Arne Viken, character in Call Me Joe, by Poul Anderson, 1957.]

Personal Stuff:

October 3-4, 2002:  Jack enjoys 2-day, 115-mile bicycle ride with Governor Mark Schweiker...

... and about 800 other riders.

For 14 highlight photos, see http://photomail.photoworks.com/sharing/album.asp?Key=1~FQQ4aBru.cJVX94m3Uq30rSv1z8OK0QKX8zi.itY5gpHBVcR9uwowF0NCWO6ecDe.
For 63 photos (out of 6 rolls I shot), see http://photomail.photoworks.com/sharing/album.asp?Key=1~FQQ4aBru.cKEq/kxwuuU7JVN.ji.fmt.1O7bat8dGWhYVH/7yUIl/Pwr031MN.6o

July, 2001:  Jack attends 25th reunion of 1976 BikeCentennial bicycle trip across the United States, followed by Cycle Montana (6-day, 314-mile ride from Missoula to Bozeman), shooting 15 rolls of film.


For BikeCentennial 25th reunion pictures, see http://photomail.photoworks.com/sharing/album.asp?Key=2879849160450001.

To browse all 266 Cycle Montana photos, see http://photomail.photoworks.com/sharing/album.asp?Key=8432478120420806.

For 60 of the best, see http://photomail.photoworks.com/sharing/album.asp?Key=9744746040430800.

January 26 - February 11, 2001:  Jack and Melody perform in Gilbert & Sullivan's Gondoliers.

December 29, 2000:  Cross-country skiing in Laurel Ridge State Park.

December 16, 2000:  Emily helps Janet lead songs:

Labor Day, 2000:  Jack welcomes Vice President Al Gore to Pittsburgh.

(Photo by Jack's wife Janet, who snapped it as Mr. Gore raced down the parade route shaking lots of hands, including Jack's.  We were lucky that the picture came out at all, let alone in focus and with large enough portions of both faces to be recognizable.  At the time, Janet thought she'd only taken a picture of Al Gore's belly.  But the picture itself is evidence of its authenticity -- any fake picture would look much better!)

Click here to see summer 2000 family photos

Click here to see a montage of photos from ITS'2000 in Montreal taken by Dr. Mostow using a Visor eyemodule(TM).

May 22, 2000:  Daughter Emily holds up diploma in "Manners" earned by our dog Skippy (wearing graduation cap) at Pawsitive Academy.

March 3-19, 2000:  performed with daughter Melody in Gilbert & Sullivan's comic operetta HMS Pinafore with the Pittsburgh Savoyards.
See glowing reviews in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ("A highlight is the wonderful a cappella harmony shared by Gross, Jack Mostow and Todd Farwell on A British Tar.") and In Pittsburgh.  (Photos below by castmate Tanya Veverka.)