Frederick Jelinek (18 November 1932 – 14 September 2010) was a Czech American researcher in information theory, automatic speech recognition, and natural language processing. He was well known for his oft-quoted quip that "Every time I fire a linguist, the performance of the speech recognizer goes up".
Born in Czechoslovakia just before the war, his family managed to emigrate to the United States in the early years of the communist regime. He studied engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and taught for 10 years at Cornell University before being offered a job at IBM Research. There his team essentially revolutionized approaches to computer speech recognition and machine translation. After IBM, he went to head the Center for Language and Speech Processing at Johns Hopkins University for 17 years, and he was still working on the day of his death. He had been married since 1961 to Czech screenwriter Milena Jelinek.
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