PhD thesis defense: Amanda Duarte (Jun 27th, 2022)

Amanda Duarte picture Amanda Duarte, defends his PhD thesis entitled
Data and methods for a visual understanding of sign languages
Monday June 27th, 16h, Videoconference (*)
(*) UPC members may use this link.

The evaluation committee will be composed by Alan Smeaton (DCU, Insight Centre For Data Analytics), Elisa Sayrol (UPC-TSC-GPI), Gr├ęgory Rogez (Naver Labs Europe).

Dissertation summary:

Signed languages are complete and natural languages used as the first or preferred mode of communication by millions of people worldwide. However, they, unfortunately, continue to be marginalized languages. Designing, building, and evaluating models that work on sign languages presents compelling research challenges and requires interdisciplinary and collaborative efforts. The recent advances in Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have the power to enable better accessibility to sign language users and narrow down the existing communication barrier between the Deaf community and non-sign language users. However, recent AI-powered technologies still do not account for sign language in their pipelines. This is mainly because sign languages are visual languages, that use manual and non-manual features to convey information, and do not have a standard written form. Thus, the goal of this thesis is to contribute to the development of new technologies that account for sign language by creating large-scale multimodal resources suitable for training modern data-hungry machine learning models and developing automatic systems that focus on computer vision tasks related to sign language that aims at learning better visual understanding of sign languages. Thus, in Part I we introduce the How2Sign dataset, which is a large-scale collection of multimodal and multiview sign language videos in American Sign Language. In Part II, we contribute to the development of technologies that account for sign languages by presenting in Chapter 4 a framework called Spot-Align, based on sign spotting methods, to automatic annotate sign instances in continuous sign language. We further present the benefits of this framework and establish sign language recognition baselines on the How2Sign dataset. In addition to that, in Chapter 5 we benefit from the different annotations and modalities of the How2Sign to explore sign language video retrieval by learning cross-modal embeddings. Later in Chapter 6, we explore sign language video generation by applying Generative Adversarial Networks to the sign language domain and assess if and how well sign language users can understand automatically generated sign language videos by proposing an evaluation protocol based on How2Sign topics and English translation.