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Overview of the NIST Open Keyword Search 2013 Evaluation Worksho



Jonathan G. Fiscus, Nancy Chen


The NIST Open Keyword Search 2013 (OpenKWS13) Evaluation Workshop was the culmination of the first in a series of community-wide evaluations to test research systems that search for keywords in audio of a "surprise" language. OpenKWS13 made use of the Vietnamese data set developed for IARPA's Babel Program that was made available to the wider research community. During the past 15 months, the four Babel teams were given four development language build packs to develop keyword search capabilities across languages. This was followed up by an evaluation on a surprise language that was held from March 25 to May 1, 2013; participants had four weeks to build their systems and one week to return keyword search results once the keywords were provided by NIST. While only the Babel teams worked with and were evaluated on the four development language packs, the Surprise Language Evaluation was open to anyone in the research community. The ultimate goal of the Babel program is to be able to rapidly develop keyword search spoken language technologies for ANY language, especially for under-resourced languages where linguistic resources such as word transcriptions are limited. Currently, most spoken language technologies are only extensively investigated using a few resource-rich languages such as English. The Babel initiative is particularly meaningful given that there are over 7,000 languages in the world, of which over 300 of them have more than one million speakers.
IEEE Speech and Language Processing Technical Committee.


Speech technology, benchmark evaluations, keyword search


Fiscus, J. and Chen, N. (2013), Overview of the NIST Open Keyword Search 2013 Evaluation Worksho, IEEE Speech and Language Processing Technical Committee., [online],, (Accessed May 20, 2024)


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Created August 23, 2013, Updated February 19, 2017