ISSAI Celebrates its 1st anniversary Presents the Kazakh Speech Corpus to Mark the Occasion

The Institute of Smart Systems and Artificial Intelligence (ISSAI) of Nazarbayev University celebrates its first anniversary on the 14th of September, 2020.  ISSAI was launched one year ago, with the mission to apply AI technologies to advance the national development objectives of the country. 

It has been a big year for the premier Artificial Intelligence Institute of Kazakhstan, in spite of the global pandemic.  In fact, one of the main scientific achievements of ISSAI was the creation of a computer simulation of the COVID-19 virus based on the geography and population dynamics of the Republic of Kazakhstan, to help shape national policy and response strategy.

On the occasion of the anniversary, ISSAI announces another milestone: the Kazakh Speech Corpus and Automated Speech Recognition project.

The project was launched to support the use of Kazakh online and for interaction with computers, such as digital assistants, and in smart home applications.

The ISSAI team has created the world’s largest digital dataset of Kazakh speech, using a web-based technology to record and annotate over 300 hours of spoken Kazakh, collected from more than 2000 native speakers. The dataset was then used to develop speech recognition and speech synthesis for Kazakh language.  These technologies are used in virtual assistants, such as Siri and Alexa, and voice- or text-enabled applications, and will be of great benefit to people with special needs.

“Previously, the lack of an authoritative database has been an obstacle to the use of Kazakh in the digital world.  In order to improve this situation, ISSAI is publishing the Kazakh language dataset as an open-source project, available to all researchers and digital entrepreneurs, in order to maximize its positive impact to the Kazakh economy and society” – says ISSAI director, professor Atakan Varol. 

The dataset is available at issai.nu.edu.kz/kz-speech-corpus and the public can personally test the performance of the Kazakh speech recognition system .

The research team of ISSAI consists of more than 30 young Kazakh researchers and students, who are grateful for the support and confidence of the Kazakh people. ISSAI will continue serving as the driver of AI research and innovation in the digital sphere of Kazakhstan, and to share its know-how and expertise on behalf of the country.

Prof. H. Atakan Varol

Founding Director of ISSAI

AI-based Voice Technologies Team:

Prof. H. Atakan Varol, Founding Director of ISSAI

Yerbolat Khassanov, Postdoctoral Scholar

Saida Mussakhojayeva, Data Scientist

Mukhamet Nurpeiissov, Data Scientist

Almas Mirzakhmetov, Computer Engineer

Alen Adiyev, Junior Researcher

Aigerim Boranbayeva, Kazakh Language Specialist

Dastan Abilev, Graphic Designer

Yerbol Absalyamov, Technical Project Coordinator

Gibrat Kurmanov, Administrative Manager

Kuralay Baimenova, Senior PR Manager