From: Jinyu Li (SPEECH)
Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 10:36 AM
Subject: Sad news about Yajie Miao, our future colleague
Yajie Miao, a rising star in the speech community, was supposed to be on board yesterday. I’m extremely sad to inform you that our future colleague was dead in accident in China recently. As Yajie’s intern mentor and thesis committee member, I am now in deeply grief.
Yajie is the super-star among Ph.D. students, he has 500+ citations which is very hard to achieve by a Ph.D. student. He has done one-term internship at Microsoft, significantly contributing to the development of frame-skipping LSTM which is critical to the shipping of LSTM. He also helped us to start the CTC project at Microsoft. Yajie is famous for his pioneering work in CTC. He has spent most of his later Ph.D. study time to work on and promote CTC to the speech community. As his thesis committee member, I was involved in the process from his thesis proposal to defense. I was amazed that he didn’t put his well-known CTC work into the thesis, and he answered to me that his thesis topic was pre-determined but CTC is the way to his dream. On the first day Yajietouched ASR when it was still dominated by GMMs, he was bothered by the super-complicated model building process and he set up his ultimate dream to simplifying the ASR model building process. After reading Alex Graves’ initial CTC work, Yajie believed this is the right way to simplified ASR model building process and worked very hard on it. His EESEN toolkit is the only popular CTC toolkit in speech community and significantly boost the progress of CTC study in the whole community. While other Ph.D. students are fighting hard on their thesis, Yajie is the exceptional person who fights for his dream. This stands Yajie out of his peers, and I am sure together with his talents there is an even bright future waiting for him after he joins Microsoft.
However, at such an important point of his life, the tragedy comes. His life is like a shooting star, short but bright. This is a huge loss to himself and his family, and to Microsoft. We wish him the best in the heaven. I am thinking what we can do for Yajie and his family during this hard time. Donation may be an option, but please let me know if there is any other option you believe better. We will definitely continue the CTC work to finally realize his dream.