Models, code, and papers for "Wei-Ning Hsu":

Scalable Factorized Hierarchical Variational Autoencoder Training

Jun 15, 2018
Wei-Ning Hsu, James Glass

Deep generative models have achieved great success in unsupervised learning with the ability to capture complex nonlinear relationships between latent generating factors and observations. Among them, a factorized hierarchical variational autoencoder (FHVAE) is a variational inference-based model that formulates a hierarchical generative process for sequential data. Specifically, an FHVAE model can learn disentangled and interpretable representations, which have been proven useful for numerous speech applications, such as speaker verification, robust speech recognition, and voice conversion. However, as we will elaborate in this paper, the training algorithm proposed in the original paper is not scalable to datasets of thousands of hours, which makes this model less applicable on a larger scale. After identifying limitations in terms of runtime, memory, and hyperparameter optimization, we propose a hierarchical sampling training algorithm to address all three issues. Our proposed method is evaluated comprehensively on a wide variety of datasets, ranging from 3 to 1,000 hours and involving different types of generating factors, such as recording conditions and noise types. In addition, we also present a new visualization method for qualitatively evaluating the performance with respect to the interpretability and disentanglement. Models trained with our proposed algorithm demonstrate the desired characteristics on all the datasets.

* Interspeech 2018 

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Disentangling by Partitioning: A Representation Learning Framework for Multimodal Sensory Data

May 29, 2018
Wei-Ning Hsu, James Glass

Multimodal sensory data resembles the form of information perceived by humans for learning, and are easy to obtain in large quantities. Compared to unimodal data, synchronization of concepts between modalities in such data provides supervision for disentangling the underlying explanatory factors of each modality. Previous work leveraging multimodal data has mainly focused on retaining only the modality-invariant factors while discarding the rest. In this paper, we present a partitioned variational autoencoder (PVAE) and several training objectives to learn disentangled representations, which encode not only the shared factors, but also modality-dependent ones, into separate latent variables. Specifically, PVAE integrates a variational inference framework and a multimodal generative model that partitions the explanatory factors and conditions only on the relevant subset of them for generation. We evaluate our model on two parallel speech/image datasets, and demonstrate its ability to learn disentangled representations by qualitatively exploring within-modality and cross-modality conditional generation with semantics and styles specified by examples. For quantitative analysis, we evaluate the classification accuracy of automatically discovered semantic units. Our PVAE can achieve over 99% accuracy on both modalities.


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Extracting Domain Invariant Features by Unsupervised Learning for Robust Automatic Speech Recognition

Mar 07, 2018
Wei-Ning Hsu, James Glass

The performance of automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems can be significantly compromised by previously unseen conditions, which is typically due to a mismatch between training and testing distributions. In this paper, we address robustness by studying domain invariant features, such that domain information becomes transparent to ASR systems, resolving the mismatch problem. Specifically, we investigate a recent model, called the Factorized Hierarchical Variational Autoencoder (FHVAE). FHVAEs learn to factorize sequence-level and segment-level attributes into different latent variables without supervision. We argue that the set of latent variables that contain segment-level information is our desired domain invariant feature for ASR. Experiments are conducted on Aurora-4 and CHiME-4, which demonstrate 41% and 27% absolute word error rate reductions respectively on mismatched domains.

* accepted by 2018 International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP 2018) 

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Transfer Learning from Audio-Visual Grounding to Speech Recognition

Jul 09, 2019
Wei-Ning Hsu, David Harwath, James Glass

Transfer learning aims to reduce the amount of data required to excel at a new task by re-using the knowledge acquired from learning other related tasks. This paper proposes a novel transfer learning scenario, which distills robust phonetic features from grounding models that are trained to tell whether a pair of image and speech are semantically correlated, without using any textual transcripts. As semantics of speech are largely determined by its lexical content, grounding models learn to preserve phonetic information while disregarding uncorrelated factors, such as speaker and channel. To study the properties of features distilled from different layers, we use them as input separately to train multiple speech recognition models. Empirical results demonstrate that layers closer to input retain more phonetic information, while following layers exhibit greater invariance to domain shift. Moreover, while most previous studies include training data for speech recognition for feature extractor training, our grounding models are not trained on any of those data, indicating more universal applicability to new domains.

* Accepted to Interspeech 2019. 4 pages, 2 figures 

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Unsupervised Representation Learning of Speech for Dialect Identification

Sep 12, 2018
Suwon Shon, Wei-Ning Hsu, James Glass

In this paper, we explore the use of a factorized hierarchical variational autoencoder (FHVAE) model to learn an unsupervised latent representation for dialect identification (DID). An FHVAE can learn a latent space that separates the more static attributes within an utterance from the more dynamic attributes by encoding them into two different sets of latent variables. Useful factors for dialect identification, such as phonetic or linguistic content, are encoded by a segmental latent variable, while irrelevant factors that are relatively constant within a sequence, such as a channel or a speaker information, are encoded by a sequential latent variable. The disentanglement property makes the segmental latent variable less susceptible to channel and speaker variation, and thus reduces degradation from channel domain mismatch. We demonstrate that on fully-supervised DID tasks, an end-to-end model trained on the features extracted from the FHVAE model achieves the best performance, compared to the same model trained on conventional acoustic features and an i-vector based system. Moreover, we also show that the proposed approach can leverage a large amount of unlabeled data for FHVAE training to learn domain-invariant features for DID, and significantly improve the performance in a low-resource condition, where the labels for the in-domain data are not available.

* Accepted at SLT 2018 

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Unsupervised Adaptation with Interpretable Disentangled Representations for Distant Conversational Speech Recognition

Jun 13, 2018
Wei-Ning Hsu, Hao Tang, James Glass

The current trend in automatic speech recognition is to leverage large amounts of labeled data to train supervised neural network models. Unfortunately, obtaining data for a wide range of domains to train robust models can be costly. However, it is relatively inexpensive to collect large amounts of unlabeled data from domains that we want the models to generalize to. In this paper, we propose a novel unsupervised adaptation method that learns to synthesize labeled data for the target domain from unlabeled in-domain data and labeled out-of-domain data. We first learn without supervision an interpretable latent representation of speech that encodes linguistic and nuisance factors (e.g., speaker and channel) using different latent variables. To transform a labeled out-of-domain utterance without altering its transcript, we transform the latent nuisance variables while maintaining the linguistic variables. To demonstrate our approach, we focus on a channel mismatch setting, where the domain of interest is distant conversational speech, and labels are only available for close-talking speech. Our proposed method is evaluated on the AMI dataset, outperforming all baselines and bridging the gap between unadapted and in-domain models by over 77% without using any parallel data.

* to appear in Interspeech 2018 

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Unsupervised Learning of Disentangled and Interpretable Representations from Sequential Data

Sep 22, 2017
Wei-Ning Hsu, Yu Zhang, James Glass

We present a factorized hierarchical variational autoencoder, which learns disentangled and interpretable representations from sequential data without supervision. Specifically, we exploit the multi-scale nature of information in sequential data by formulating it explicitly within a factorized hierarchical graphical model that imposes sequence-dependent priors and sequence-independent priors to different sets of latent variables. The model is evaluated on two speech corpora to demonstrate, qualitatively, its ability to transform speakers or linguistic content by manipulating different sets of latent variables; and quantitatively, its ability to outperform an i-vector baseline for speaker verification and reduce the word error rate by as much as 35% in mismatched train/test scenarios for automatic speech recognition tasks.

* Accepted to NIPS 2017 

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Learning Latent Representations for Speech Generation and Transformation

Sep 22, 2017
Wei-Ning Hsu, Yu Zhang, James Glass

An ability to model a generative process and learn a latent representation for speech in an unsupervised fashion will be crucial to process vast quantities of unlabelled speech data. Recently, deep probabilistic generative models such as Variational Autoencoders (VAEs) have achieved tremendous success in modeling natural images. In this paper, we apply a convolutional VAE to model the generative process of natural speech. We derive latent space arithmetic operations to disentangle learned latent representations. We demonstrate the capability of our model to modify the phonetic content or the speaker identity for speech segments using the derived operations, without the need for parallel supervisory data.

* Interspeech 2017, pp 1273-1277 
* Accepted to Interspeech 2017 

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Unsupervised Domain Adaptation for Robust Speech Recognition via Variational Autoencoder-Based Data Augmentation

Sep 22, 2017
Wei-Ning Hsu, Yu Zhang, James Glass

Domain mismatch between training and testing can lead to significant degradation in performance in many machine learning scenarios. Unfortunately, this is not a rare situation for automatic speech recognition deployments in real-world applications. Research on robust speech recognition can be regarded as trying to overcome this domain mismatch issue. In this paper, we address the unsupervised domain adaptation problem for robust speech recognition, where both source and target domain speech are presented, but word transcripts are only available for the source domain speech. We present novel augmentation-based methods that transform speech in a way that does not change the transcripts. Specifically, we first train a variational autoencoder on both source and target domain data (without supervision) to learn a latent representation of speech. We then transform nuisance attributes of speech that are irrelevant to recognition by modifying the latent representations, in order to augment labeled training data with additional data whose distribution is more similar to the target domain. The proposed method is evaluated on the CHiME-4 dataset and reduces the absolute word error rate (WER) by as much as 35% compared to the non-adapted baseline.

* Accepted to IEEE ASRU 2017 

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Recurrent Neural Network Encoder with Attention for Community Question Answering

Mar 23, 2016
Wei-Ning Hsu, Yu Zhang, James Glass

We apply a general recurrent neural network (RNN) encoder framework to community question answering (cQA) tasks. Our approach does not rely on any linguistic processing, and can be applied to different languages or domains. Further improvements are observed when we extend the RNN encoders with a neural attention mechanism that encourages reasoning over entire sequences. To deal with practical issues such as data sparsity and imbalanced labels, we apply various techniques such as transfer learning and multitask learning. Our experiments on the SemEval-2016 cQA task show 10% improvement on a MAP score compared to an information retrieval-based approach, and achieve comparable performance to a strong handcrafted feature-based method.


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An Unsupervised Autoregressive Model for Speech Representation Learning

Apr 05, 2019
Yu-An Chung, Wei-Ning Hsu, Hao Tang, James Glass

This paper proposes a novel unsupervised autoregressive neural model for learning generic speech representations. In contrast to other speech representation learning methods that aim to remove noise or speaker variabilities, ours is designed to preserve information for a wide range of downstream tasks. In addition, the proposed model does not require any phonetic or word boundary labels, allowing the model to benefit from large quantities of unlabeled data. Speech representations learned by our model significantly improve performance on both phone classification and speaker verification over the surface features and other supervised and unsupervised approaches. Further analysis shows that different levels of speech information are captured by our model at different layers. In particular, the lower layers tend to be more discriminative for speakers, while the upper layers provide more phonetic content.


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A Study of Enhancement, Augmentation, and Autoencoder Methods for Domain Adaptation in Distant Speech Recognition

Jun 13, 2018
Hao Tang, Wei-Ning Hsu, Francois Grondin, James Glass

Speech recognizers trained on close-talking speech do not generalize to distant speech and the word error rate degradation can be as large as 40% absolute. Most studies focus on tackling distant speech recognition as a separate problem, leaving little effort to adapting close-talking speech recognizers to distant speech. In this work, we review several approaches from a domain adaptation perspective. These approaches, including speech enhancement, multi-condition training, data augmentation, and autoencoders, all involve a transformation of the data between domains. We conduct experiments on the AMI data set, where these approaches can be realized under the same controlled setting. These approaches lead to different amounts of improvement under their respective assumptions. The purpose of this paper is to quantify and characterize the performance gap between the two domains, setting up the basis for studying adaptation of speech recognizers from close-talking speech to distant speech. Our results also have implications for improving distant speech recognition.

* Interspeech, 2018 

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Enhancing Automatically Discovered Multi-level Acoustic Patterns Considering Context Consistency With Applications in Spoken Term Detection

Sep 07, 2015
Cheng-Tao Chung, Wei-Ning Hsu, Cheng-Yi Lee, Lin-Shan Lee

This paper presents a novel approach for enhancing the multiple sets of acoustic patterns automatically discovered from a given corpus. In a previous work it was proposed that different HMM configurations (number of states per model, number of distinct models) for the acoustic patterns form a two-dimensional space. Multiple sets of acoustic patterns automatically discovered with the HMM configurations properly located on different points over this two-dimensional space were shown to be complementary to one another, jointly capturing the characteristics of the given corpus. By representing the given corpus as sequences of acoustic patterns on different HMM sets, the pattern indices in these sequences can be relabeled considering the context consistency across the different sequences. Good improvements were observed in preliminary experiments of pattern spoken term detection (STD) performed on both TIMIT and Mandarin Broadcast News with such enhanced patterns.

* Accepted by ICASSP 2015 

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Semi-Supervised Training for Improving Data Efficiency in End-to-End Speech Synthesis

Aug 30, 2018
Yu-An Chung, Yuxuan Wang, Wei-Ning Hsu, Yu Zhang, RJ Skerry-Ryan

Although end-to-end text-to-speech (TTS) models such as Tacotron have shown excellent results, they typically require a sizable set of high-quality <text, audio> pairs for training, which are expensive to collect. In this paper, we propose a semi-supervised training framework to improve the data efficiency of Tacotron. The idea is to allow Tacotron to utilize textual and acoustic knowledge contained in large, publicly-available text and speech corpora. Importantly, these external data are unpaired and potentially noisy. Specifically, first we embed each word in the input text into word vectors and condition the Tacotron encoder on them. We then use an unpaired speech corpus to pre-train the Tacotron decoder in the acoustic domain. Finally, we fine-tune the model using available paired data. We demonstrate that the proposed framework enables Tacotron to generate intelligible speech using less than half an hour of paired training data.


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Hierarchical Generative Modeling for Controllable Speech Synthesis

Oct 16, 2018
Wei-Ning Hsu, Yu Zhang, Ron J. Weiss, Heiga Zen, Yonghui Wu, Yuxuan Wang, Yuan Cao, Ye Jia, Zhifeng Chen, Jonathan Shen, Patrick Nguyen, Ruoming Pang

This paper proposes a neural end-to-end text-to-speech (TTS) model which can control latent attributes in the generated speech that are rarely annotated in the training data, such as speaking style, accent, background noise, and recording conditions. The model is formulated as a conditional generative model with two levels of hierarchical latent variables. The first level is a categorical variable, which represents attribute groups (e.g. clean/noisy) and provides interpretability. The second level, conditioned on the first, is a multivariate Gaussian variable, which characterizes specific attribute configurations (e.g. noise level, speaking rate) and enables disentangled fine-grained control over these attributes. This amounts to using a Gaussian mixture model (GMM) for the latent distribution. Extensive evaluation demonstrates its ability to control the aforementioned attributes. In particular, it is capable of consistently synthesizing high-quality clean speech regardless of the quality of the training data for the target speaker.


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Lingvo: a Modular and Scalable Framework for Sequence-to-Sequence Modeling

Feb 21, 2019
Jonathan Shen, Patrick Nguyen, Yonghui Wu, Zhifeng Chen, Mia X. Chen, Ye Jia, Anjuli Kannan, Tara Sainath, Yuan Cao, Chung-Cheng Chiu, Yanzhang He, Jan Chorowski, Smit Hinsu, Stella Laurenzo, James Qin, Orhan Firat, Wolfgang Macherey, Suyog Gupta, Ankur Bapna, Shuyuan Zhang, Ruoming Pang, Ron J. Weiss, Rohit Prabhavalkar, Qiao Liang, Benoit Jacob, Bowen Liang, HyoukJoong Lee, Ciprian Chelba, Sébastien Jean, Bo Li, Melvin Johnson, Rohan Anil, Rajat Tibrewal, Xiaobing Liu, Akiko Eriguchi, Navdeep Jaitly, Naveen Ari, Colin Cherry, Parisa Haghani, Otavio Good, Youlong Cheng, Raziel Alvarez, Isaac Caswell, Wei-Ning Hsu, Zongheng Yang, Kuan-Chieh Wang, Ekaterina Gonina, Katrin Tomanek, Ben Vanik, Zelin Wu, Llion Jones, Mike Schuster, Yanping Huang, Dehao Chen, Kazuki Irie, George Foster, John Richardson, Klaus Macherey, Antoine Bruguier, Heiga Zen, Colin Raffel, Shankar Kumar, Kanishka Rao, David Rybach, Matthew Murray, Vijayaditya Peddinti, Maxim Krikun, Michiel A. U. Bacchiani, Thomas B. Jablin, Rob Suderman, Ian Williams, Benjamin Lee, Deepti Bhatia, Justin Carlson, Semih Yavuz, Yu Zhang, Ian McGraw, Max Galkin, Qi Ge, Golan Pundak, Chad Whipkey, Todd Wang, Uri Alon, Dmitry Lepikhin, Ye Tian, Sara Sabour, William Chan, Shubham Toshniwal, Baohua Liao, Michael Nirschl, Pat Rondon

Lingvo is a Tensorflow framework offering a complete solution for collaborative deep learning research, with a particular focus towards sequence-to-sequence models. Lingvo models are composed of modular building blocks that are flexible and easily extensible, and experiment configurations are centralized and highly customizable. Distributed training and quantized inference are supported directly within the framework, and it contains existing implementations of a large number of utilities, helper functions, and the newest research ideas. Lingvo has been used in collaboration by dozens of researchers in more than 20 papers over the last two years. This document outlines the underlying design of Lingvo and serves as an introduction to the various pieces of the framework, while also offering examples of advanced features that showcase the capabilities of the framework.


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