Skip to main content

Mari Ostendorf

System Design Methodologies Professor
Data Science
215D ECE
Campus Box 352500
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
Phone: 206-221-5748
Research Web Page: Transformation, Interpretation and Analysis of Language (TIAL) Group


Mari Ostendorf joined the University of Washington Electrical & Computer Engineering Department in 1999. She is an Endowed Professor of System Design Methodologies in the ECE Department, an Adjunct Professor in CSE and Linguistics, as well as Associate Vice Provost for Research. She is a Fellow of the IEEE, ISCA and ACL, a former Australian-American Fulbright Scholar, a member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences, a Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Prof. Ostendorf has published over 290 papers on a variety of topics in speech and language processing. For her contributions in this area, she was awarded the 2018 IEEE James L. Flanagan Speech and Audio Processing Award. In 2017, she served as a faculty advisor for the student team winning the inaugural AlexaPrize competition to build a socialbot, and conversational AI is a focus of her current work. Her research explores dynamic models for understanding and generating speech and text, particularly in multi-party contexts, and it contributes to a variety of applications, from education to clinical and scientific information extraction.

Awards and Honors

Member, National Academy of Engineering, 2021

Corresponding Fellow, Royal Society of Edinburgh, 2020

Member, Washington State Academy of Sciences, 2019

IEEE James L. Flanagan Speech and Audio Processing Award, 2018

IEEE Signal Processing Society Meritorious Service Award, 2018

Faculty Advisor of Winning Team for 2017 Alexa Prize

IEEE Signal Processing Society Distinguished Lecturer, 2013-2014

Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance Distinguished Visiting Fellow, 2012, Edinburgh

Fulbright Scholar, 2012-2013

IEEE Hewlett-Packard/Harriett B. Rigas Award, 2010

Fellow: IEEE 2005, ISCA 2008, ACL 2018

Research Projects

  • Automatic analysis of human-human call center conversations
  • Automatic extraction of information from clinical notes
  • Natural language processing to support development of more accurate STEM assessments
  • Automatic speech recognition of air traffic control communications
  • Computational modeling of prosody for speech and emotion understanding

Recent Publications

  • C.-H. Lee, H. Cheng and M. Ostendorf, "Dialogue state tracking with a language model using schema-driven prompting," Proc. EMNLP, pp. 4937–4949, 2021.
  • Z. Wu, B.-R. Lu, H. Hajishirzi, and M. Ostendorf, "DIALKI: Knowledge identification in conversational systems through dialogue-document contextualization," Proc. EMNLP, pp. 1852–1863, 2021.
  • T. Tran and M. Ostendorf, "Assessing the use of prosody in constituency parsing of imperfect transcripts," Proc. Interspeech, 2021.
  • V. Zayats, K. Toutanova and M. Ostendorf, "Representations for question answering for documents with tables and text," Proc. EMNLP, 2021.
  • Z. Wu, M. Galley, C. Brockett, Y. Zhang, X. Gao, C. Quirk, R. Koncel-Kedziorski, J. Gao, H. Hajishirzi and M. Ostendorf, Proc. AAAI, 2021.
  • K. Lybarger, M. Ostendorf and M. Yetisgen, "Annotating social determinants of health using active learning and characterizing determinants using neural event extraction," J. Biomedical Informatics, 2021.
  • T. Trang, M. Tinkler, G. Yeung, A. Alwan, and M. Ostendorf, ``Analysis of Disfluency in Children's Speech,'' Proc. Interspeech, 2020.
  • A. Jaech, B. Zhang, M. Ostendorf and D. Kirschen, ``Real-Time Prediction of the Duration of Distribution System Outages,'' IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, 34(1):773-781, 2019.
  • J. Hou, Y. Shi, M. Ostendorf, M.-Y. Hwang, and L. Xie, ``Region Proposal Network Based Small-Footprint Keyword Spotting,'' Signal Processing Letters, 26(10):1471-1475, 2019.
  • V. Zayats, T. Tran, R. Wright, C. Mansfield and M. Ostendorf, ``Disfluencies and human speech transcription errors,'' Proc. Interspeech, 2019.
  • T. Tran, J. Yuan, Y. Liu and M. Ostendorf, ``On the role of style in parsing speech with neural models,'' Proc. Interspeech, 2019
  • F. Nadeem, H. Nguyen, Y. Liu and M. Ostendorf, "Automated essay scoring with discourse-aware neural models," Proc. Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications, 2019
  • Y. Luan, D. Wadden, L. He, A. Shah, M. Ostendorf and H. Hajishirzi, "A general framework for information extraction using dynamic span graphs,'' Proc. NAACL, 2019
  • H. Cheng, H. Fang and M. Ostendorf, "A dynamic speaker model for conversational interactions,'' Proc. NAACL, 2019
  • V. Zayats and M. Ostendorf, "Giving attention to the unexpected: using prosody innovations in disfluency detection,'' Proc. NAACL, 2019.
  • K. Lybarger, M. Ostendorf and M. Yetisgen, "Using Neural Multi-task Learning to Extract Substance Abuse Information from Clinical Notes,'' Proc. Symposium of the American Medical Informatics Association, 2018
  • A. Jaech and M. Ostendorf, "Low-rank RNN adaptation for context-aware language modeling,'' Trans. Association of Computational Linguistics, pp. 497-510, 2018
  • F. Nadeem and M. Ostendorf, "Estimating linguistic complexity for science texts,'' Proc. Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications, 2018


Current students:

Bo Roy Lu, Ellen Wu (co-supervised with H. Hajishirzi), Kevin Everson, Michael Lee, Sitong Zhou, Sara Ng (co-supervised with R. Wright), Yushi Hu, Jenny Yeonjin Cho

Recent graduates:

Trang Tran, 2020 -- Postdoctoral Fellow, USC Institute for Creative Technologies

Vicky Zayats, 2020 -- Google AI

Kevin Lybarger, 2020 -- Postdoctoral Fellow, UW Biomedical & Health Informatics

Farah Nadeem, 2020 -- Assistant Professor, National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, Pakistan

Hao Cheng, 2019 -- Microsoft Research

Yi Luan, 2019 -- Google AI

Hao Fang, 2019 -- Microsoft, Semantic Machines

Aaron Jaech, 2018 -- Facebook

Ji He, 2017 -- Citadel

Editorial Service

Editor-in-Chief, IEEE Open Journal of Signal Processing (2019-2022)

Editorial Board, IEEE Journal of Special Topics in Signal Process (2016-2018)

Vice President of Publications, IEEE Signal Processing Society (2012-2014)

Editor-in-Chief, IEEE Trans. on Audio, Speech and Language Processing (2006-2008)