John Makhoul was born in Deirmimas, Lebanon and graduated from the American University of Beirut (AUB) with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering in 1964. He received an M.S. from the Ohio State University (OSU) in 1965 and a Ph.D. in 1970 from MIT in electrical engineering. Since then, he has been with BBN Technologies, Cambridge, where he is now a Chief Scientist responsible for research in various aspects of speech and language processing, including speech recognition and machine translation. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Acoustical Society of America, and the International Speech Communication Association (ISCA). He has received a number of professional awards from the IEEE, including the Third Millenium Medal in 2000 and the 2009 James L. Flanagan Speech & Audio Processing award and medal “for pioneering contributions to speech modeling.” In 2016, he received the ISCA Medal for lifetime scientific achievement. In 2010, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the College of Engineering at OSU, and in 2013, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from AUB.
Dr. Makhoul has a long history of volunteerism. While a student at MIT, he served as President of the Arab Club. He has served as Secretary and then as President of the AAUG. For many years, he was active with the AUB alumni, serving as Secretary then President of the AUB New England Chapter, and then as Secretary and Vice President of the Board of Directors of the AUB Alumni Association of North America. More recently, he has been serving on the Board of the Trans-Arab Research Institute (TARI).