Yulan Liu

Yulan Liu, PhD Alumni. Standing in a field of lavender
Yulan Liu
Speech Scientist, Amazon.
Yulan Liu graduated in 2017 with a PhD in Computer Science. Her thesis title was ‘Distant Speech Recognition of Natural Spontaneous Multi-Party Conversations’ and her supervisor was Prof. Thomas Hain. She now works for Amazon in Cambridge in the research and development team looking at automatic speech recognition models in smart devices.

Can you describe a typical day?

The work day starts with a sync meeting with remote colleagues, then I move on some hands-on work. Lunch is followed by some other hands-on work in the afternoon and some meetings with US colleagues in the late afternoon or early evening.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your current role or your greatest achievement so far?

Being able to work on high impact products and also able to work with research groups from academia as one PoC of Amazon Research Award.

Are there any challenging aspects? If so what are they?

The production standard is high while the system is complicated. I need to know way more than I had learned in PhD to be able to handle my job.

What skills/qualifications from your degree or other training do you make use of in your job?

ASR expertise especially on large data, research skill, self-teach skill, programming skill, organised working folder structure, critical thinking, etc.

Why did you choose to study at Sheffield?

The SpandH research group in Sheffield is well recognised in the field and there was a project opening for PhD student when I applied.

What did you like best about Sheffield?

Diverse population, open cultural, affordable living cost, double rainbows, Weston Bank Library and the two parks by the Arts Tower.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I will continue the career of a speech scientist in industry to develop the best production system, and at the same time I will be an ambassador to bridge industry and academia in terms of resources, knowledge, funding, student career development, etc.

If you could give one piece of advice to current students or recent graduates what would it be?

Career and life are both a long term battle, faster is not necessary better, so take your own pace. Try to take challenges, think carefully about each decision, do your best, and do not regret. When feeling lost, try to think about a few things that will make you proud of yourself.