Student seminar committee

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Also see the Student Seminar page.

This document explains the responsibilities of the CLSP student seminar committee. We are in charge of scheduling student speakers, sending out the email announcements for student seminars, adding the student seminar schedule to the wiki, ordering lunch for student seminars (setting it up and cleaning up afterward), and bringing down the attendance sheet before *all* seminars and bringing it back up afterward. We are also now in charge of setting up the cookies for the *external* speakers and cleaning them up afterwards. (Throughout the semester, if you have questions, Ruth and the faculty coordinator, currently Najim, can be asked for help.)

At the beginning of the semester, meet with other student seminar committee members and assign clear roles and responsibilities. Feel free to distribute these roles as you see fit; note some roles are more tightly coupled than others.


This is done before each semester. About one month before the semester starts, determine the possible student seminar dates (see below)---there will be at most one per week---and compute a slightly overcomplete list of candidate speakers (see below) and send out a poll to determine availability (see below). Then fill all the slots, trying to minimize conflicts overall but giving priority to senior students in case a conflict is unavoidable. If you have any issues, e.g., no one is signing up for the first week, Najim can help. Note we also need to have one or two people in mind as backup speakers in case of last-minute cancellations: these should be more senior students who have given a talk recently and more or less have that talk ready to go on short notice. When a proposed schedule is ready it should be emailed to the selected students and any unforeseen conflicts can be resolved; at this point I suggest putting the schedule on Student Seminar and making any changes directly on that wiki, so that all student speakers can view the most up-to-date version.

In any case, the final schedule should be put on the wiki and updated with titles (and any schedule changes) throughout the semester.

Seminar dates

See the CLSP Seminar Series for the external speaker schedule; also consult the JHU academic calendar and Ruth for potential dates (and in particular, dates to not schedule a seminar on). The span is the first day of classes to the last day of classes in the semester. All Tuesdays and Fridays that are not holidays are candidates, although some dates like the first seminar of the semester might be treated specially (determined by faculty). The external speaker schedule is a dynamic constraint: if e.g. an external speaker is scheduled to speak on Tuesday of some week the student seminar will happen on Friday. Towards the beginning of the semester the external speaker schedule won't be fully populated so we schedule a student on that week and check back on the external speaker schedule periodically to see when it gets finalized (so that the student can be assigned either to Tuesday or Friday). Here it's a good idea to communicate with Matt, or Kevin, or whoever is organizing the external speaker schedule.

Candidate speakers

Check this sheet for a list of students (and talk to Ruth with questions). It's suggested you update and use this spreadsheet to help determine candidate speakers. (Updating here means adding new students, removing graduated students, and updating the "Last Presented" column so that the computed columns on the right are current.) Students in their third year or later should be scheduled to speak; students who presented in the last year (365 days) are automatically waived, and generally we try to create a diverse schedule in terms of topics and seniority (with some bias towards the more junior students who may need more practice presenting), trying not to burden any given student unnecessarily. In case of a conflict, senior students get priority.

Scheduling poll

Last year I sent the following message to computed candidate speakers, copying the faculty liaison. This was accompanied by a doodle ( ) poll of potential dates, which was also sent to the candidate speakers.

Subject: Fall 2016 CLSP Student Seminar


Hi all,

You have been selected as a candidate to give a CLSP seminar presentation this fall. This is a great chance to brush up on your presentation skills, share your ideas, and get feedback in a familiar setting; it is also a CLSP Ph.D. student requirement.

The scheduling rules are: students in their third year or later are selected, students who presented in the last year are waived, and senior students have priority when resolving conflicts.

A Doodle poll will be sent out today. Please select as many dates as possible to facilitate scheduling. Please fill out the poll as soon as you can, and no later than next Tuesday, August 9.

If you would prefer to be on standby rather than scheduled on a fixed date, let me know and I will try to accommodate you---but please still fill out the poll. If on standby you should have a talk ready that you can give within 48 hours notice, on most seminar dates; you will likely be called on towards the end of the semester, but you may not be called on at all.

Thanks! Chandler

Schedule Updates

Over the course of the semester the schedule will likely need to be updated in response to student conflicts as well as rearrangements in the external speaker schedule.

Email Reminders/Announcements

Individual reminders

The student scheduled to speak should be sent a reminder about five days prior to their talk and asked for confirmation. Ask that student to send a title and abstract in time for the announcement (see below).

Broad announcements

These should be sent out preferably two days prior to the seminar. They go to,, and . A template follows:

Subject: [Students] CLSP Seminar Friday, Sep 23 by David Snyder


Title: Deep Neural Network-based Speaker Embeddings for End-to-End Speaker Verification

Presenter: David Snyder

Friday, September 23, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. Hackerman B17

Abstract: In this study, we investigate an end-to-end text-independent speaker verification system. The architecture consists of a deep neural network that takes a variable length speech segment and maps it to a speaker embedding. The objective function separates same-speaker and different-speaker pairs, and is reused during verification. Similar systems have recently shown promise for text-dependent verification, but we believe that this is unexplored for the text-independent task. We show that given a large number of training speakers, the proposed system outperforms an i-vector baseline in equal error-rate (EER) and at low miss rates. Relative to the baseline, the end-to-end system reduces EER by 13% average and 29% pooled across test conditions. The fused system achieves a reduction of 32% average and 38% pooled.

Lunch will be served.


Lunch is an involved task; it requires two people at minimum but three people are preferred in case of conflicts.


Lunch needs to be ordered in advance of the seminars---up to several days in advance depending on the place. Charmington's needs 48 hours, currently, but it's a good idea to order further back than that (it used to be 7 days). Potbelly's needs about 24 hours (order the day before). Pizza (Boli, Ledo, Papa Johns) can be ordered the morning of, if the order is placed as soon as the shop opens---but this is a last resort, if we get pizza intentionally it should be ordered the day before. Traditionally, no order should be above $400, and $350 and up is rather expensive, for 50 people. Pizza can be had for as little as $200 for 50 people, but it's the least desirable among the attendees. Our current estimate of seminar attendance is 60 people; this is subject to change over time (both in the long term and in the short term---some days are much more or less attended than others due to circumstance). We aim to order about 50% vegetarian things and 50% non-vegetarian, with a few of the vegetarian options (at least three meals) also being vegan (at least no dairy, ideally gluten-free as well) if possible. The number of attendees has fluctuated; right now the target is 60 people, but that's subject to change as the semester goes on and we get more data. (60 is higher than we've done before, so the price limit might change too, but for now $400 is too much.) For reference, 60 people means 60 sandwiches or 15 large pizzas (8 slices each, 2 per person). (Side note: the large square pizza from Pizza Ledo seems to feed more than four people per pie, so 15 might be too much from there---not sure.) We do not generally buy drinks with the food---Ruth buys those separately and puts them in the fridge in 322 the morning of. (But if you're available early in the morning I'm sure she would love help moving them!! If you're in before nine check with her to see if she's already done.) I get salads sometimes (and lower the sandwich count) but it seems like they don't often get eaten. We do like to get utensils and plates and napkins with the delivery when possible. The delivery location is Hackerman B17 on the JHU Homewood campus, and the delivery person should be instructed to access it through the south garage. When asked about paying for the order, say someone will call back with payment information (and then tell Ruth who we ordered from and what their phone number is so she can call them). If asked whether we are tax exempt, say yes. (Many places already know this.) When asked to provide a number for contact information, provide your cell phone number (or the number of whoever is taking care of the delivery) or, if you're not comfortable with that or don't have a phone, give them Ruth's number---ask her for that. (In the latter case you or whoever is doing the delivery should be available by 11:30 and watching your email or checking with Ruth about the status of the delivery---sometimes they call in advance to let us know they are coming.)

Where to order from

  • Potbelly
  • Charmington's
  • Eddie's?
  • Jay's Catering?
  • Pizza Boli
  • Ledo Pizza

Ask Ruth for more ideas.


There is a large cart in the coffee room on the third floor. Take it down to the basement around 11:25. There should be at least two large tables set up around the basement; if not, you may need to look around the upper floors and take them down. They should be set up either right outside the auditorium or just inside the auditorium. Make sure to lay out tablemats on both tables---they will be on the cart---as there is *always* food and/or soda spilled on the tables and it is *not* the facilities team's job to clean up after us. Set up the food when the delivery arrives (see below for delivery details), ideally with vegetarian options towards the end of the table---people are more likely to take the food they see first, so if vegetarian options are put first they may be exhausted prematurely. Put plates and napkins and utensils at the very front and put cups and drinks at the very back. (There is a small cart in the coffee room we use for soda and tea, taking it downstairs from the fridge in 322 around 11:45 so that it doesn't warm up too much before the seminar. All 2 liter soda bottles in that fridge are for the student seminar.) Watch the tables until CLSP people start coming downstairs and getting food and sitting down, making sure people who aren't attending the seminar don't steal any. When the seminar is about to start, move the tables just inside B17 to prevent people from stealing food while the seminar is in session.


A tip is sometimes included in the total; check beforehand with Ruth to determine whether to add a tip (and how much). When signing for the delivery, make sure to get an itemized receipt and take it upstairs to Ruth for her records.

Clean up

When the seminar is over, put clean unused napkins, plates, and utensils back on the big cart, consolidate any uneaten food to take back upstairs, bunch up the tablecloths and other trash and throw it away. (Do not cram things like empty pizza boxes into the trash bins---stack those neatly next to the bins so the facilities team can easily dispose of them.) Before putting the soda in the cart, check every single cap and make sure it is tight---otherwise we will have a nasty spill in the fridge upstairs, like we had this week. Do not save soda bottles that are almost empty (less than one cup's worth). Generally we try not to save nearly-empty relish or dressing that might need to be refrigerated either, because it takes up space in the fridge and ends up getting thrown out anyway. Before going upstairs, put the tables back where they were, and make sure we didn't leave any trash or food on the floor. Then take the carts upstairs, put the (tightened!) soda bottles in the fridge in 322, and put any leftover food in the coffee room. (We usually do not put leftover food in the refrigerator---if it isn't eaten that afternoon it is thrown out, we have very limited refrigerator space.) If there is a lot of food you might want to email the students list to let them know, in case they want a free snack or dinner later. The carts should both go back in the coffee room.


The cookies for the external speakers follow a similar format as the lunch for the student speakers, detailed previously. However, the cookies will be available in Ruth's office the morning of the seminar; we are not in charge of ordering or receiving delivery. Additionally, we do not provide soda with the cookies.

Attendance sheet

Get the attendance sheet and pen from Ruth, get it going in the back corner of the auditorium at noon when the seminar starts (not before), and pick it up when the seminar is over---wait a few minutes until the crowd starts to clear, there are *always* people who didn't get to sign the sheet and will want to sign it afterward---and bring it back upstairs to Ruth. This job is performed for all CLSP seminars, including the presentations by external speakers.