Heather Pon-Barry

Assistant Professor
Computer Science
School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering
Arizona State University

Office: BYENG M1-39 (Brickyard Engineering Bldg)
699 S. Mill Avenue
Tempe AZ 85281

Photo: Heather Pon-Barry


Speech interfaces are becoming increasingly widespread. Yet, our spoken interactions with dialogue systems, smartphones, and other devices are not as natural as conversing with another human. Computers lack the ability to sense the affective cues that enable humans to converse efficiently.

I develop technologies for speech interfaces that analyze the acoustics and intonation of a person's speech to augment traditional speech recognition---essentially teaching computers to move beyond just the words a person says and incorporate other signals.

This work can be applied to a wide range of systems. I work primarily on educational technology applications such as adaptive, personalized systems for intelligent tutoring. Other applications include understanding user intent in virtual assistants (e.g., Siri), hands-free communication (e.g., when in a car), and communication with robots.

Interested in joining our Speech and Natural Language Processing Research Group? Please see my note to prospective students.


Fall 2013: CSE 476/CSE 598 Introduction to Natural Language Processing
Spring 2013: CSE 591 Topics in Spoken Language Processing


Graduate Students
Nichola Lubold (PhD)
Arun Reddy Nelakurthi (MS/PhD)

Undergraduate Students
Terrance Williams (Honors Thesis)


My home department is CIDSE (Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering) in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU.
I am an affiliate of the Learning Sciences Institute.

Contact Information

Office Hours: Wednesdays from 2:30-3:30 PM or by appointment.
Office Location: BYENG M1-39 is on the Mezzanine level of the Brickyard (directions).