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Blizzard Challenge 2009 Workshop

From SynSIG


Call for participation

The Blizzard Challenge 2009 Workshop is the culmination of the Blizzard Challenge 2009 which is an open speech synthesis evaluation campaign using common data sets and a large listening test. The aims of the workshop are to present the results from the listening tests and for participants in the Challenge to describe their systems.

The workshop is a satellite of Interspeech 2009 (ISCA approval pending).

Who can attend the workshop ?

The workshop is open to all and we encourage participation from anyone interested in speech synthesis.

Who can submit a paper to the workshop ?

All participants in the Challenge are expected to submit a paper describing their entry (even if they cannot attend the workshop in person). Papers will be refereed by the Programme Committee.

Programme Committee

  • Simon King, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Alan Black, Carnegie Mellon Univerisity, USA
  • Keiichi Tokuda, Nagoya Institute of Technology, Japan

Paper submission instructions

  • Use the Interspeech 2009 authors' kit, but your paper should be up to SIX pages in length
  • Remember that Blizzard is a scientific investigation - we are all trying to understand why some techniques work better than others.
  • With this in mind, please write a detailed, technical paper aimed at a specialist audience. Focus on analysis and evaluation. Try to explain WHY your system performed the way it did, and what makes it different from other systems. Explain why your system is designed in a particular way. For example, report internal evaluations you have done to select certain methods.
  • Submit your paper by email to by the 24th July 2009.

Location and date


Friday 4th September 2009 (all day)


The new Informatics Forum at the University of Edinburgh - the home of the Centre for Speech Technology Research.


University of Edinburgh
Informatics Forum
10 Crichton Street

School of Informatics website


Google street view


A detailed programme will be published here in due course. The workshop format is single-track with oral presentations from the participants in the Challenge, the organisers and possibly other invited speakers. We may also have poster presentations.

We anticipate that the workshop will start at 9am and run until around 6pm.


Teams unable to attend: MXAC, CASIA, NTUT

All timings below are approximate.

  • 08.30 Registration desk opens
  • 09.00-10.00 Simon King on behalf of the organisers
    • Welcome, introduction, overview of Blizzard
    • Summary of results
  • 10.00-12.30 8 system presentations, each 15 minutes MAX, including questions; short tea break at ~10.30
    • CMU
    • DFKI
    • I2R
    • NICT
    • Break
    • CSTR
    • VUB
    • EMIME
  • 12.30-14.00 Lunch
  • 14.00-16.15 7 system presentations, each 15 minutes MAX, including questions; short tea break at ~15.00
    • NIT
    • IVO
    • Break
    • AHOLAB
    • SHRC
    • USTC
  • 16.15 - 17.00
    • (TBC)
    • Closing & general discussion of Blizzard 2009 (Simon King)
    • Discussion of Blizzard 2010 (Simon King?)
  • approx. 18.00- Informal gathering at a pub (TBC)

Practical information


Registration procedure

All participants in the workshop should have registered by 14th August 2009. If you wish to request a late registration (at the discretion of the organisers), please send an email using one of these two links:

Please send one email for each person registering (e.g., if three people from your organisation wish to register, send three individual emails). By registering, you agree to pay the registration fee (participating teams get the first three registrations free of charge). Please ensure that the "From:" address in your email is your preferred contact address. An email confirmation reply will be sent to that address within two working days.

You should also subscribe to the Blizzard Challenge mailing list, to ensure that you receive any further information about the workshop.

If you have any difficulties, or require a letter of invitation, please email for assistance.

Cancellation procedure

If you need to cancel, you must do so by 14th August 2009 using this link:

Cancellations after this date, or no-shows, will be required to pay the registration fee. In the event that the workshop is over-subscribed, priority will first be given to members of participating teams, then to other attendees in the order in which registrations were received. We do not expect to have to do this, since a larger venue than usual is available.

If you have any difficulties, please email for assistance.


A nominal registration fee of GBP 20 per person will be charged, to cover the cost of morning and afternoon tea & coffee breaks and a catered lunch on-site. The fee is payable on the day in cash.

Each participating team in the Blizzard Challenge 2009 gets up to 3 free registrations as part of their entry fee to the Challenge. Additional persons will be charged GBP 20.


Note that the workshop is towards the end of the Edinburgh Festival period, so we strongly recommend that you book accommodation well in advance.

Suggested mid-range accommodation that is central and easy walking distance to the workshop venue:

but there are many more options, and places with more character than the above hotels, at all price ranges: start here or see this list from another workshop or you may try University accommodation

The Fringe Festival (theatre, comedy, etc) is the largest arts festival in the world, and runs throughout August every year. See . If you plan to come to Edinburgh during August, accommodation should be booked in advance.

More information on all the festivals in Edinburgh can be found at


  • Direct flights: very frequent services to/from London airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, London City), frequent direct flights from other European hubs (Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris) and many other locations in Europe, as well as a couple of US airports (JFK, Newark)
  • Flying via another UK airport: it is simplest to get a connecting flight to Edinburgh.
  • There is a frequent bus service from the airport into central Edinburgh (bus number 100); you are then within walking distance of the workshop venue and many hotels ( - RECOMMENDED
  • Train: regular trains to/from London and other parts of the UK

Walking directions from Edinburgh Waverley train station (which is also the last stop of the number 100 bus from the airport) to the workshop venue

Getting to Brighton from Edinburgh:

  • Air: fly direct to Gatwick
  • Train: via London. Book tickets online a few weeks in advance to get the best prices (several online booking services are available e.g.,

Published proceedings

The papers will be published on

SynSIG is a Special Interest Group of ISCA, the International Speech Communication Association.

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