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De Kai Biography

De Kai is Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at HKUST, and Distinguished Research Scholar at Berkeley's International Computer Science Institute. He is among only 17 scientists worldwide named by the Association for Computational Linguistics as a Founding ACL Fellow, for his pioneering contributions to machine translation and machine learning foundations of systems like the Google/Yahoo/Microsoft translators. Recruited as founding faculty of HKUST directly from UC Berkeley, where his PhD thesis was one of the first to spur the paradigm shift toward machine learning based natural language processing technologies, he founded HKUST's internationally funded Human Language Technology Center which launched the world's first web translator over twenty years ago.

De Kai's cross-disciplinary work relating music, language, intelligence, and culture centers on enabling cultures to relate, and stems from a liberal arts perspective emphasizing creativity in both technical and humanistic dimensions. A native of St Louis, he worked and traveled extensively in San Francisco, New York, Germany, Spain, China, India and Canada before joining Hong Kong's ambitious creation of Asia's now top-ranked HKUST, where his pioneering contributions to machine learning of the cognitive relationships between different languages led to the foundations of modern machine translation technology, with broad applications in computer music and computational musicology as well as human language processing.

During his doctoral studies in cognitive science, artificial intelligence and computational linguistics at Berkeley, he worked on seminal projects on intelligent conversational dialog agents. His PhD dissertation employing maximum entropy to model human perception and interpretation of ambiguities was one of the first to spur the paradigm shift toward today's state-of-the-art statistical natural language processing technologies. De Kai also holds an executive MBA from Kellogg (Northwestern University) and HKUST. His undergraduate degree at UCSD was awarded cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and won the liberal arts oriented Revelle College's department award.

In 2015, Debrett's HK 100 named De Kai as one of the 100 most influential figures of Hong Kong.

In 2019, Google named De Kai as one of eight inaugural members of its AI Ethics council, ATEAC (Advanced Technology External Advisory Council).

All American Speakers Bureau is a full-service talent booking agency providing information on booking De Kai for speaking engagements, personal appearances and corporate events. Contact an All American Speakers Bureau booking agent for more information on De Kai speaking fees, availability, speech topics and cost to hire for your next live or virtual event.

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