Models, code, and papers for "Bhuvana Ramabhadran":
We propose Diverse Embedding Neural Network (DENN), a novel architecture for language models (LMs). A DENNLM projects the input word history vector onto multiple diverse low-dimensional sub-spaces instead of a single higher-dimensional sub-space as in conventional feed-forward neural network LMs. We encourage these sub-spaces to be diverse during network training through an augmented loss function. Our language modeling experiments on the Penn Treebank data set show the performance benefit of using a DENNLM.
Language models (LMs) based on Long Short Term Memory (LSTM) have shown good gains in many automatic speech recognition tasks. In this paper, we extend an LSTM by adding highway networks inside an LSTM and use the resulting Highway LSTM (HW-LSTM) model for language modeling. The added highway networks increase the depth in the time dimension. Since a typical LSTM has two internal states, a memory cell and a hidden state, we compare various types of HW-LSTM by adding highway networks onto the memory cell and/or the hidden state. Experimental results on English broadcast news and conversational telephone speech recognition show that the proposed HW-LSTM LM improves speech recognition accuracy on top of a strong LSTM LM baseline. We report 5.1% and 9.9% on the Switchboard and CallHome subsets of the Hub5 2000 evaluation, which reaches the best performance numbers reported on these tasks to date.
In this work we study variance in the results of neural network training on a wide variety of configurations in automatic speech recognition. Although this variance itself is well known, this is, to the best of our knowledge, the first paper that performs an extensive empirical study on its effects in speech recognition. We view training as sampling from a distribution and show that these distributions can have a substantial variance. These results show the urgent need to rethink the way in which results in the literature are reported and interpreted.
Diversity or complementarity of experts in ensemble pattern recognition and information processing systems is widely-observed by researchers to be crucial for achieving performance improvement upon fusion. Understanding this link between ensemble diversity and fusion performance is thus an important research question. However, prior works have theoretically characterized ensemble diversity and have linked it with ensemble performance in very restricted settings. We present a generalized ambiguity decomposition (GAD) theorem as a broad framework for answering these questions. The GAD theorem applies to a generic convex ensemble of experts for any arbitrary twice-differentiable loss function. It shows that the ensemble performance approximately decomposes into a difference of the average expert performance and the diversity of the ensemble. It thus provides a theoretical explanation for the empirically-observed benefit of fusing outputs from diverse classifiers and regressors. It also provides a loss function-dependent, ensemble-dependent, and data-dependent definition of diversity. We present extensions of this decomposition to common regression and classification loss functions, and report a simulation-based analysis of the diversity term and the accuracy of the decomposition. We finally present experiments on standard pattern recognition data sets which indicate the accuracy of the decomposition for real-world classification and regression problems.
Direct acoustics-to-word (A2W) models in the end-to-end paradigm have received increasing attention compared to conventional sub-word based automatic speech recognition models using phones, characters, or context-dependent hidden Markov model states. This is because A2W models recognize words from speech without any decoder, pronunciation lexicon, or externally-trained language model, making training and decoding with such models simple. Prior work has shown that A2W models require orders of magnitude more training data in order to perform comparably to conventional models. Our work also showed this accuracy gap when using the English Switchboard-Fisher data set. This paper describes a recipe to train an A2W model that closes this gap and is at-par with state-of-the-art sub-word based models. We achieve a word error rate of 8.8%/13.9% on the Hub5-2000 Switchboard/CallHome test sets without any decoder or language model. We find that model initialization, training data order, and regularization have the most impact on the A2W model performance. Next, we present a joint word-character A2W model that learns to first spell the word and then recognize it. This model provides a rich output to the user instead of simple word hypotheses, making it especially useful in the case of words unseen or rarely-seen during training.
Recent work on end-to-end automatic speech recognition (ASR) has shown that the connectionist temporal classification (CTC) loss can be used to convert acoustics to phone or character sequences. Such systems are used with a dictionary and separately-trained Language Model (LM) to produce word sequences. However, they are not truly end-to-end in the sense of mapping acoustics directly to words without an intermediate phone representation. In this paper, we present the first results employing direct acoustics-to-word CTC models on two well-known public benchmark tasks: Switchboard and CallHome. These models do not require an LM or even a decoder at run-time and hence recognize speech with minimal complexity. However, due to the large number of word output units, CTC word models require orders of magnitude more data to train reliably compared to traditional systems. We present some techniques to mitigate this issue. Our CTC word model achieves a word error rate of 13.0%/18.8% on the Hub5-2000 Switchboard/CallHome test sets without any LM or decoder compared with 9.6%/16.0% for phone-based CTC with a 4-gram LM. We also present rescoring results on CTC word model lattices to quantify the performance benefits of a LM, and contrast the performance of word and phone CTC models.
End-to-end (E2E) systems have achieved competitive results compared to conventional hybrid hidden Markov model (HMM)-deep neural network based automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems. Such E2E systems are attractive due to the lack of dependence on alignments between input acoustic and output grapheme or HMM state sequence during training. This paper explores the design of an ASR-free end-to-end system for text query-based keyword search (KWS) from speech trained with minimal supervision. Our E2E KWS system consists of three sub-systems. The first sub-system is a recurrent neural network (RNN)-based acoustic auto-encoder trained to reconstruct the audio through a finite-dimensional representation. The second sub-system is a character-level RNN language model using embeddings learned from a convolutional neural network. Since the acoustic and text query embeddings occupy different representation spaces, they are input to a third feed-forward neural network that predicts whether the query occurs in the acoustic utterance or not. This E2E ASR-free KWS system performs respectably despite lacking a conventional ASR system and trains much faster.
Modern automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems need to be robust under acoustic variability arising from environmental, speaker, channel, and recording conditions. Ensuring such robustness to variability is a challenge in modern day neural network-based ASR systems, especially when all types of variability are not seen during training. We attempt to address this problem by encouraging the neural network acoustic model to learn invariant feature representations. We use ideas from recent research on image generation using Generative Adversarial Networks and domain adaptation ideas extending adversarial gradient-based training. A recent work from Ganin et al. proposes to use adversarial training for image domain adaptation by using an intermediate representation from the main target classification network to deteriorate the domain classifier performance through a separate neural network. Our work focuses on investigating neural architectures which produce representations invariant to noise conditions for ASR. We evaluate the proposed architecture on the Aurora-4 task, a popular benchmark for noise robust ASR. We show that our method generalizes better than the standard multi-condition training especially when only a few noise categories are seen during training.
Hessian-free training has become a popular parallel second or- der optimization technique for Deep Neural Network training. This study aims at speeding up Hessian-free training, both by means of decreasing the amount of data used for training, as well as through reduction of the number of Krylov subspace solver iterations used for implicit estimation of the Hessian. In this paper, we develop an L-BFGS based preconditioning scheme that avoids the need to access the Hessian explicitly. Since L-BFGS cannot be regarded as a fixed-point iteration, we further propose the employment of flexible Krylov subspace solvers that retain the desired theoretical convergence guarantees of their conventional counterparts. Second, we propose a new sampling algorithm, which geometrically increases the amount of data utilized for gradient and Krylov subspace iteration calculations. On a 50-hr English Broadcast News task, we find that these methodologies provide roughly a 1.5x speed-up, whereas, on a 300-hr Switchboard task, these techniques provide over a 2.3x speedup, with no loss in WER. These results suggest that even further speed-up is expected, as problems scale and complexity grows.
Recent success of the Tacotron speech synthesis architecture and its variants in producing natural sounding multi-speaker synthesized speech has raised the exciting possibility of replacing expensive, manually transcribed, domain-specific, human speech that is used to train speech recognizers. The multi-speaker speech synthesis architecture can learn latent embedding spaces of prosody, speaker and style variations derived from input acoustic representations thereby allowing for manipulation of the synthesized speech. In this paper, we evaluate the feasibility of enhancing speech recognition performance using speech synthesis using two corpora from different domains. We explore algorithms to provide the necessary acoustic and lexical diversity needed for robust speech recognition. Finally, we demonstrate the feasibility of this approach as a data augmentation strategy for domain-transfer. We find that improvements to speech recognition performance is achievable by augmenting training data with synthesized material. However, there remains a substantial gap in performance between recognizers trained on human speech those trained on synthesized speech.
The performance of automatic speech recognition systems degrades with increasing mismatch between the training and testing scenarios. Differences in speaker accents are a significant source of such mismatch. The traditional approach to deal with multiple accents involves pooling data from several accents during training and building a single model in multi-task fashion, where tasks correspond to individual accents. In this paper, we explore an alternate model where we jointly learn an accent classifier and a multi-task acoustic model. Experiments on the American English Wall Street Journal and British English Cambridge corpora demonstrate that our joint model outperforms the strong multi-task acoustic model baseline. We obtain a 5.94% relative improvement in word error rate on British English, and 9.47% relative improvement on American English. This illustrates that jointly modeling with accent information improves acoustic model performance.
Recent neural text-to-speech (TTS) models with fine-grained latent features enable precise control of the prosody of synthesized speech. Such models typically incorporate a fine-grained variational autoencoder (VAE) structure, extracting latent features at each input token (e.g., phonemes). However, generating samples with the standard VAE prior often results in unnatural and discontinuous speech, with dramatic prosodic variation between tokens. This paper proposes a sequential prior in a discrete latent space which can generate more naturally sounding samples. This is accomplished by discretizing the latent features using vector quantization (VQ), and separately training an autoregressive (AR) prior model over the result. We evaluate the approach using listening tests, objective metrics of automatic speech recognition (ASR) performance, and measurements of prosody attributes. Experimental results show that the proposed model significantly improves the naturalness in random sample generation. Furthermore, initial experiments demonstrate that randomly sampling from the proposed model can be used as data augmentation to improve the ASR performance.
Multilingual end-to-end (E2E) models have shown great promise in expansion of automatic speech recognition (ASR) coverage of the world's languages. They have shown improvement over monolingual systems, and have simplified training and serving by eliminating language-specific acoustic, pronunciation, and language models. This work presents an E2E multilingual system which is equipped to operate in low-latency interactive applications, as well as handle a key challenge of real world data: the imbalance in training data across languages. Using nine Indic languages, we compare a variety of techniques, and find that a combination of conditioning on a language vector and training language-specific adapter layers produces the best model. The resulting E2E multilingual model achieves a lower word error rate (WER) than both monolingual E2E models (eight of nine languages) and monolingual conventional systems (all nine languages).
We present a multispeaker, multilingual text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis model based on Tacotron that is able to produce high quality speech in multiple languages. Moreover, the model is able to transfer voices across languages, e.g. synthesize fluent Spanish speech using an English speaker's voice, without training on any bilingual or parallel examples. Such transfer works across distantly related languages, e.g. English and Mandarin. Critical to achieving this result are: 1. using a phonemic input representation to encourage sharing of model capacity across languages, and 2. incorporating an adversarial loss term to encourage the model to disentangle its representation of speaker identity (which is perfectly correlated with language in the training data) from the speech content. Further scaling up the model by training on multiple speakers of each language, and incorporating an autoencoding input to help stabilize attention during training, results in a model which can be used to consistently synthesize intelligible speech for training speakers in all languages seen during training, and in native or foreign accents.
Deep Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) are more powerful than Deep Neural Networks (DNN), as they are able to better reduce spectral variation in the input signal. This has also been confirmed experimentally, with CNNs showing improvements in word error rate (WER) between 4-12% relative compared to DNNs across a variety of LVCSR tasks. In this paper, we describe different methods to further improve CNN performance. First, we conduct a deep analysis comparing limited weight sharing and full weight sharing with state-of-the-art features. Second, we apply various pooling strategies that have shown improvements in computer vision to an LVCSR speech task. Third, we introduce a method to effectively incorporate speaker adaptation, namely fMLLR, into log-mel features. Fourth, we introduce an effective strategy to use dropout during Hessian-free sequence training. We find that with these improvements, particularly with fMLLR and dropout, we are able to achieve an additional 2-3% relative improvement in WER on a 50-hour Broadcast News task over our previous best CNN baseline. On a larger 400-hour BN task, we find an additional 4-5% relative improvement over our previous best CNN baseline.
One of the most difficult speech recognition tasks is accurate recognition of human to human communication. Advances in deep learning over the last few years have produced major speech recognition improvements on the representative Switchboard conversational corpus. Word error rates that just a few years ago were 14% have dropped to 8.0%, then 6.6% and most recently 5.8%, and are now believed to be within striking range of human performance. This then raises two issues - what IS human performance, and how far down can we still drive speech recognition error rates? A recent paper by Microsoft suggests that we have already achieved human performance. In trying to verify this statement, we performed an independent set of human performance measurements on two conversational tasks and found that human performance may be considerably better than what was earlier reported, giving the community a significantly harder goal to achieve. We also report on our own efforts in this area, presenting a set of acoustic and language modeling techniques that lowered the word error rate of our own English conversational telephone LVCSR system to the level of 5.5%/10.3% on the Switchboard/CallHome subsets of the Hub5 2000 evaluation, which - at least at the writing of this paper - is a new performance milestone (albeit not at what we measure to be human performance!). On the acoustic side, we use a score fusion of three models: one LSTM with multiple feature inputs, a second LSTM trained with speaker-adversarial multi-task learning and a third residual net (ResNet) with 25 convolutional layers and time-dilated convolutions. On the language modeling side, we use word and character LSTMs and convolutional WaveNet-style language models.