Hassan Sawaf has more than 20 years of business experience as an entrepreneur. He is also an internationally recognized scientist/engineer with more than 17 years of experience in research, development, management and strategic planning of Human Language Technology (HLT). Hassan is in the board of various HLT conference and publication planning and reviewing committees, nationally and internationally. He also continues to serve as a subject matter expert for bleeding edge technology for various venture capital firms and banks.
Hassan was the project manager and lead developer of a project with Daimler Benz InterServices GmbH, which was introduced in 1996 as the first fully-automatic SITA messaging analysis system, automating communication between airports, airlines and federal authorities in Germany.
After his graduate studies, Hassan was a senior researcher at the University of Aachen (RWTH), and co-founder and CEO of the German company AIXPLAIN AG, a spin-off of the University of Aachen. In 2002 Hassan presented the first commercial speech-to-speech system to the public, translating spoken English from and into German and was featured in many publications in national newspapers as well as presentations in the national television news. AIXPLAIN was acquired by AppTek in November 2004.
Under his management as a COO/Chief Scientist in AppTek, the HLT team introduced in 2008 the first commercial hybrid machine translation system that fully integrates the features of two complete and independent machine translation systems (one statistical, the other rule-based) into one single system that provides the performance and benefits of both approaches. Under his leadership the HLT group also developed numerous automated speech recognition engines, covering languages like Arabic, Spanish, Farsi and others for Media Monitoring, Telephony applications and Handheld Devices. AppTek’s technical team and assets were acquired by SAIC November of 2010.
From November 2010 till January 2013, as a Chief Scientist he leads the research and development in machine learning and human language technology at SAIC. In March 2011, the CEO of SAIC, Walt Halvenstein, and his executive management team awarded Hassan the title of “SAIC Technical Fellow” for his work in technology, and research and development management.
Since April 2013, Hassan joined eBay to setup, grow and lead the newly established machine translation team (MT team). Since then the MT team is establishing a robust knowledge base in natural language processing and machine translation, that enables the Geographic Expansion Initiative and the Cross Border Trade Initiative overcome the language barriers.
Hassan’s research interests continue to be machine learning, language technology, audio, speech and image processing, as well as user behavior modeling. In his free time Hassan likes to chase novel business ideas and support the development of bleeding edge technology as an Angel investor. Hassan likes to travel and speaks English, German and Arabic fluently.