Carnegie Mellon University

Our History

Formally founded in 1986 as the Center for Machine Translation, the LTI has long been one of the world’s premier institutions for research at the intersection of human communication and technology. Our faculty have been internationally recognized for their contributions to the state of the art, and our alumni have gone on to lead the top academic institutions and companies in their fields worldwide.

LTI Milestones

September, 1982Future LTI Professor Scott Fahlman, posting on an early CMU electronic bulletin board, suggests that posts intended as jokes should be indicated with the sequence of characters “:-)”, unknowingly inventing the emoticon.  

July, 1986 – The Center for Machine Translation is founded by Prof. Jaime Carbonell, who would go on to lead the LTI as its director for the next 34 years

1989 – CMT researchers unveil the SPHINX system, a groundbreaking development in the recognition and translation of spoken human speech

1996 – The Center is expanded and renamed the Language Technologies Institute

2006 – The Let’s Go program, developed by LTI researchers Maxine Eskenazi and Alan Black, enables Pittsburgh Port Authority riders to get information via an automated spoken dialogue system

2009 – The LTI moves into the newly constructed Gates and Hillman Centers, an award-winning, state-of-the-art facility dedicated to computer science research and education located on CMU’s Pittsburgh campus

2011 – IBM Watson, an AI question-answering system built partially using technologies developed by LTI professor Eric Nyberg, competes on Jeopardy!

2015 – Jaime Carbonell wins the Okawa Prize, one of the most prestigious career recognition awards in computer science

2023 – Mona Diab, formerly Professor of computer science at George Washington University and research scientist at Facebook AI, is announced as the LTI’s second-ever permanent director

LTI Researcher Awards and Recognitions

ACL Fellow
King Salman Global Academy for the Arabic Language Award

Mona Diab, 2023

Amazon Research Award Recipient

Maarten Sap, 2023

Okawa Research Grant Recipient

Daniel Fried, 2023

ACM SIGIR Academy Inductee

Yiming Yang, 2023

Forbes "30 Under 30" Honoree

Shruti Rijhwani, 2021

Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientists, Finalist

Graham Neubig, 2021

ISCA Fellow

Maxine Eskenazi, 2021

ACM SIGIR Academy Inductee

Jamie Callan, 2021

Okawa Foundation Research Grant Recipient

Yulia Tsvetkov, 2019

IEEE Fellow

Bhiksha Raj, 2026

Okawa Prize

Jaime Carbonell, 2015

ELATE Fellow

Lorraine Levin, 2015


IEEE Fellow

Alex Waibel, 2015