| 1954 (age 62–63)Mount Morgan, Queensland, Australia|
Birchgrove, New South Wales
Company director, engineer, scientist and former academic
Automatic speech recognition
Refugee and Asylum Seeker Issues in Australia
University of Queensland, Australian National University, University of Turin
Emeritus Professor Mary Josephine O'Kane AC, (born in 1954 in Mount Morgan, Queensland) an Australian scientist, is the Chief Scientist and Engineer to Government of New South Wales. O'Kane is an expert in automatic speech recognition.
Mary O'Kane Wikipedia
Born in the small mining town of Mount Morgan in Central Queensland, O'Kane's father was a teacher and mother was an accountant, and she completed her schooling in Toowoomba. O'Kane studied at the University of Queensland where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in physics and mathematics. She commenced her PhD at the Australian National University and was the recipient of a scholarship that allowed her to complete post-doctoral research at the University of Turin, one of Europe's leading centres for automatic speech recognition. There she focused on certain classes of sounds, looking at ways of recognising these sounds as they occurred in naturally spoken continuous speech. Gathering the first internationally collected run of a large amount of data on the plosive consonants in Italian and Australian English, O'Kane showed how these consonants vary in a systematic fashion with the sounds that come before and after them: the so-called phenomenon of coarticulation. O'Kane was one of the pioneers in the design, collection and establishment of a database of spoken Australian English. O'Kane was awarded her PhD in 1982.
O'Kane returned to Australia and initially took up a position at the NSW Institute of Technology in Sydney, before returning to Canberra a year later when she was appointed to a Lectureship in Artificial Intelligence and Theory of Computation at the Canberra College of Advanced Education, later to become the University of Canberra. She was Dean of the Faculty of Information Sciences and Engineering at the University of Canberra (1989-1993). In 1994 O'Kane was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Adelaide and later Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Adelaide from 1996 to 2001. She is a former member of the Australian Research Council, the Co-operative Research Centres Committee, the board of FH Faulding & Co Ltd and the board of the CSIRO.
She established her own consulting practice that advises governments, universities and the private sector on innovation, education and research and development. The company has completed reviews of the Co-Operative Research Centres and the Bureau of Meteorology. In 2008 O'Kane was appointed by the NSW Premier as the inaugural NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer, providing the Government with advice on policy matters requiring research, science and engineering input. In 2014, O'Kane was awarded the Pearcey Medal.
O'Kane was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia for "eminent service to science and engineering, as a contributor to national policy development and governance, to the promotion of technology research and future energy supply, to higher education, and as a role model for young scientists".