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The world's leaders in speech processing are heading to Brno

Siri, Alexa, Google - we talk to them all today. But who breathed life into them? Speech recognition has gradually spread from IT labs to smart homes and has become a common part of everyday life. Getting information from audio recordings is becoming increasingly important. For the first time in its history, the Czech Republic will host the international conference Interspeech, which will take place in Brno from August 30 to September 3, 2021. Hundreds of world experts will arrive in the Moravian metropolis. More than 1400 will join the event online. Specialists will present news from the field, such as how to start using machine learning with a minimum of training data, or whether coronavirus infection can be recognized from the cough. For more information, see the press release

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(F)IT Summer School for Girls will support female IT students for the fifteenth time

The Faculty of Information Technology of BUT will host fifteenth edition of the (F)IT Summer School for Girls. Its aim is to encourage girls to pursue education in IT. "Although the proportion of female students at our faculty is slowly increasing, the number is still far from ideal. This is also reflected in the representation of women in this field, with the Czech Republic still lagging behind most European countries in this respect. Since women are very successful in IT, it is a great shame that there are not more of them in this field," says Pavel Zemčík, Dean of the Faculty.

This year's event, which will take place from 23 to 27 August, is aimed at female secondary school students. The five-day event will introduce them to different areas of information technology and the latest trends, but most importantly, they will have the opportunity to try everything out in practice. Participants can look forward to programming a video game, building a robot, creating a chat application, making a prototype using a 3D printer, seeing virtual reality demonstrations or working with biometrics.

"We are a technical university, but there is no reason why IT should be more difficult for women. Even our experience shows how successful women are in IT. The idea that IT is not for women still probably resonates in some parts of society, which is a great shame," says Vítězslav Beran, Vice-Dean for External Relations. The Summer School would like to help break down this stereotype and show that IT is a diverse and creative field, in which you can do anything, provided you have a solid baseline. "Nowadays, information technology affects almost every aspect of our lives, therefore, it is important that both men and women are involved in designing new technologies. Women are truly welcome in IT, because they can bring fresh perspectives to problem solving and teamwork," adds Šárka Květoňová, the head organiser of the event.

More information and the programme of the event can be found on the Summer School's website or the event page on Facebook.

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The faculty received a new car from ŠKODA AUTO. It will serve the students in their studies

For example, students will be able to try out user interface designs or experiment with on-board systems directly on a car available at the faculty. The partner company ŠKODA AUTO donated an Octavia IV. "It will now be used in specialised courses as well as in courses and seminars falling under the Cyberphysical Systems specialisation. Matěj Mitaš, a member of our team, who has unfortunately left us recently, deserves much of the credit for that, but also thanks to his efforts, the car will now be a part of teaching at the faculty," said Peter Chudý. The Aeroworks research group, which he leads, has been co-operating with the automobile plant for a long time - together they have developed, for example, a unique system enabling the company's technical development staff to easily design various user interfaces (for more information, see the earlier press release).

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Bioinformatician helps archaeogeneticists search for primordial organisms

Archaeogenetics. This is sometimes called ancestral reconstruction - a technique through which scientists investigate traces of the past, much like archaeologists. However, biologists do not look for them at excavation sites, but in computers. They are examining gene sequences and looking for organisms that no longer exist today. The new unique FireProt-ASR tool, developed by Miloš Musil from the Faculty of Information Technology of BUT, will fundamentally help researchers with finding millions-of-years-old proteins from which the current ones have evolved. You can find more information in the article

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New app developed by FIT students helps people find barrier-free vaccination and testing sites

The new Covid without Barriers web application aims to facilitate vaccination and testing for persons with reduced mobility. The application is the brainchild of two FIT students - Josef Kolář and Peter Uhrín. The app, which was originally developed as a part of the WAP course, allows users to find wheelchair-accessible vaccination and testing sites on an interactive map.

Covid without Barriers is the only application that processes this information. "We need to give the vaccine to as many people as possible. There are a number of apps dealing with pandemic-related data, but when we were researching them, we noticed that none of them made it possible for us to directly display wheel-chair accessible sites," says Josef Kolář, describing how the idea came about.

The app, whose features and name the students discussed with the community of its potential users, accesses publicly available data through an API. The map shows wheelchair-accessible testing and vaccination sites at specific locations, and for each of these sites, a detail can be viewed that includes its address, services provided and references to detailed information in government-run applications. "It is also possible to search for sites based on the user's geographical location or address. The application also provides filters for individual site categories, so it is possible to display only vaccination or testing sites," explains Peter Uhrín.

According to him, the most challenging part was to create a simple and accessible user interface; it also took some time to test and optimise the app for mobile devices. The app is now fully deployed and is being used by dozens of people.

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