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Les Atlas

  • Professor

Appointments

Professor, Electrical Engineering
Adjunct Professor, Computer Science and Engineering

Biography

Les Atlas joined UW EE as an assistant professor in 1984 at the University of Washington. He has been a leader in signal processing research and educational activity in the Pacific Northwest, co-chairing the IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing in 1989 with Xuedong Huang of Microsoft.

Atlas’ research has had an impact on signal processing for dynamical systems, time-frequency analysis and nonstationary statistics, with applications in streaming data, acoustics, machine monitoring, sensor arrays, speech processing and auditory sciences. His publication “Improving generalization with active learning” was foundational to the machine learning areas of active learning and selective sampling.

Atlas’ graduate students have also had tremendous impact — such as the first publication on trained (linear) convolutional neural networks for temporal signals, securing top faculty positions, initiating machine learning at Google, receiving multiple Technical Emmy Awards and founding companies such as Redfin.

Atlas’ research is funded by the Army Research Office, the Office of Naval Research and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.

Research Interests

Signal processing for dynamical systems, time-frequency analysis, neural networks and how they best generalize, nonstationary statistics, with applications in streaming data, acoustics, machine monitoring, sensor arrays, speech and auditory sciences.

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UW EE Professors Les Atlas, Karl Böhringer, Howard Chizeck, Blake Hannaford, Eric Klavins, Arka Majumdar, Shwetak Patel and Joshua Smith were awarded the 2017 Amazon Catalyst Fellowship.  In a partnership with the University of Washington, Amazon Catalyst supports bold solutions to world problems. The program provides funding, mentorship and community to the innovative projects.

Congratulations to all newly-minted Amazon Catalyst Fellows!

The Projects:

simsong.org
PI: Les Atlas

Active self-cleaning technology for solar panels
PI: Karl Böhringer

Haptic Passwords
PI: Howard Chizeck

IRA, the robot surgical assistant
PI: Blake Hannaford

UW BIOFAB: A cloud laboratory for genetic engineering
PI: Eric Klavins

Smart Eyewear
PI: Arka Majumdar

OsteoApp
PI: Shwetak Patel

Enabling district shared parking via energy harvesting wireless sensing technology
PI: Joshua Smith
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Based in China, Lishengte is owned by parent company Hainan Haiyao, Ltd., and plans to open a research and development lab in Seattle, to work more closely with UW EE researchers. The first company to receive approval from China’s Food and Drug Administration, Listent plans to develop a new cochlear implant device, according to a press release.

Cochlear implants allow people who are profoundly deaf or hard-of-hearing to approach normal hearing by electrically stimulating the auditory nerve. While much progress has been made in recent years, enabling cochlear implants to transmit pitch and tone have been remaining challenges. Currently, when cochlear implant users hear music, every note essentially sounds the same.

Funded by a Coulter Translational Research grant, the new technology consists of software that uses algorithms to more accurately transmit the high frequency of music. As a result, the new technology allows cochlear implant users to better hear changes in pitch and tone, which also positively impacts the ability to hear highly tonal languages such as Chinese.

See Also:

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UW EE Professors Les Atlas, Karl Böhringer, Howard Chizeck, Blake Hannaford, Eric Klavins, Arka Majumdar, Shwetak Patel and Joshua Smith were awarded the 2017 Amazon Catalyst Fellowship.  In a partnership with the University of Washington, Amazon Catalyst supports bold solutions to world problems. The program provides funding, mentorship and community to the innovative projects.

Congratulations to all newly-minted Amazon Catalyst Fellows!

The Projects:

simsong.org
PI: Les Atlas

Active self-cleaning technology for solar panels
PI: Karl Böhringer

Haptic Passwords
PI: Howard Chizeck

IRA, the robot surgical assistant
PI: Blake Hannaford

UW BIOFAB: A cloud laboratory for genetic engineering
PI: Eric Klavins

Smart Eyewear
PI: Arka Majumdar

OsteoApp
PI: Shwetak Patel

Enabling district shared parking via energy harvesting wireless sensing technology
PI: Joshua Smith
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Based in China, Lishengte is owned by parent company Hainan Haiyao, Ltd., and plans to open a research and development lab in Seattle, to work more closely with UW EE researchers. The first company to receive approval from China’s Food and Drug Administration, Listent plans to develop a new cochlear implant device, according to a press release.

Cochlear implants allow people who are profoundly deaf or hard-of-hearing to approach normal hearing by electrically stimulating the auditory nerve. While much progress has been made in recent years, enabling cochlear implants to transmit pitch and tone have been remaining challenges. Currently, when cochlear implant users hear music, every note essentially sounds the same.

Funded by a Coulter Translational Research grant, the new technology consists of software that uses algorithms to more accurately transmit the high frequency of music. As a result, the new technology allows cochlear implant users to better hear changes in pitch and tone, which also positively impacts the ability to hear highly tonal languages such as Chinese.

See Also:

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UW EE Professors Les Atlas, Karl Böhringer, Howard Chizeck, Blake Hannaford, Eric Klavins, Arka Majumdar, Shwetak Patel and Joshua Smith were awarded the 2017 Amazon Catalyst Fellowship.  In a partnership with the University of Washington, Amazon Catalyst supports bold solutions to world problems. The program provides funding, mentorship and community to the innovative projects.

Congratulations to all newly-minted Amazon Catalyst Fellows!

The Projects:

simsong.org
PI: Les Atlas

Active self-cleaning technology for solar panels
PI: Karl Böhringer

Haptic Passwords
PI: Howard Chizeck

IRA, the robot surgical assistant
PI: Blake Hannaford

UW BIOFAB: A cloud laboratory for genetic engineering
PI: Eric Klavins

Smart Eyewear
PI: Arka Majumdar

OsteoApp
PI: Shwetak Patel

Enabling district shared parking via energy harvesting wireless sensing technology
PI: Joshua Smith
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Representative Publications

  • S. Wisdom, T. Powers, J. Hershey, J. Le Roux, L. Atlas, "Full Capacity Unitary recurrent Neural Networks," Proc. NIPS 2016.
  • D Cohn, L Atlas, and R Ladner, “Improving generalization with active learning,” Machine learning 15 (2), pp. 201-221, 1994.
  • S. Wisdom, G. Okopal, L. Atlas, and J. Pitton, “Voice Activity Detection Using Subband Noncircularity,” Proc. IEEE ICASSP, Brisbane, Austrailia, April 2015. T Homma, L Atlas, and R Marks, “An Artificial Neural Network for Spatio-Temporal Bipolar Patters: Application to Phoneme Classification,” Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 1: 31–40, 1988.
  • S. Wisdom, T. Powers, L. Atlas, and J. Pitton, “Enhancement and Recognition of Reverberant and Noisy Speech by Extending Its Coherence,” arXiv:1509.00533, Sep. 2015.
  • G. Okopal, S. Wisdom, and L. Atlas, “Speech Analysis with the Strong Uncorrelating Transform,” IEEE/ACM Transactions on Audio, Speech, and Language Processing, vol. 23, no. 11, pp. 1858–1868, Nov. 2015.
  • B. Ekin, L. Atlas, M. Mirbagheri, and A. Lee, "An Alternative Approach for Auditory Attention Tracking Using Single-Trial EEG,” Proc. IEEE ICASSP, Shanghai, China, March 2016.

Associated Labs

Research Areas

Affiliations

Education

  • Ph.D. Electrical Engineering, 1984
    Stanford University
  • M.S. Electrical Engineering, 1979
    Stanford University
  • B.S. Electrical Engineering, 1977
    University of Wisconsin