Agha Ali Raza is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), and the founding director of the Center for Speech and Language Technologies (CSaLT). He is a Fulbright Scholar. He received his Ph.D. from the Language Technologies Institute, School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA. His cumulative teaching experience as part of the Computer Science faculty at FAST-NU, ITU, and LUMS spans twelve years. He teaches Computer Science courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels including Natural Language Processing, Speech Processing, Machine Learning, Data Structures & Algorithms, Assembly Language Programming, Digital Logic Design, and Computer Architecture. His research interests include Speech and Natural Language Processing, Speech-based Human-Computer Interfaces, and Information & Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D). His research aims to enable information access and social connectivity for under-connected and under-served populations (low-literate, low-income, tech na´ve, visually impaired, oral cultures, linguistically and socially marginalized, and geographically remote communities) throughout the developing world. His work shows that speech-based entertainment services, social networks, and crowd platforms that are accessible over simple and feature mobile phones are powerful motivators to induce self-training and viral spread among under-served populations. Such services can be used as vehicles for large-scale dissemination of information, pulling information in the form of real-time surveys, and performing randomized controlled trials and demographic studies. These services provide target users with visibility, a voice, and digital social identity. Raza has authored 35 research papers published in peer-reviewed conferences and reputable journals. Over the last three years, the benefits of his research have directly impacted the lives of more than 300,000 people via various projects in Pakistan, India, and West Africa. His novel approach to mass-disseminate information about job opportunities to low-literate mobile phone users in Pakistan received the 2013 best paper award at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. His research has been funded by Google Inc., Facebook research, UNICEF Innovations Fund, the Gates Foundation, GIZ, NIH, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI), and the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. He has been an Associate Chair for CHI 2019, and CHI 2021-22, the short papers PC chair for ICTD 2017, and the open session's chair for ICTD 2022. He has been a PC member for ICTD, ACM COMPASS (formerly ACM DEV), LREC and is a reviewer for CHI, CSCW, NLE, and ACM TALLIP for several years.
Last updated: Feb 2022