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.
The past year has witnessed rapid advances in sequence-to-sequence (seq2seq) modeling for Machine Translation (MT). The classic RNN-based approaches to MT were first out-performed by the convolutional seq2seq model, which was then out-performed by the more recent Transformer model. Each of these new approaches consists of a fundamental architecture accompanied by a set of modeling and training techniques that are in principle applicable to other seq2seq architectures. In this paper, we tease apart the new architectures and their accompanying techniques in two ways. First, we identify several key modeling and training techniques, and apply them to the RNN architecture, yielding a new RNMT+ model that outperforms all of the three fundamental architectures on the benchmark WMT'14 English to French and English to German tasks. Second, we analyze the properties of each fundamental seq2seq architecture and devise new hybrid architectures intended to combine their strengths. Our hybrid models obtain further improvements, outperforming the RNMT+ model on both benchmark datasets.
This paper describes Tacotron 2, a neural network architecture for speech synthesis directly from text. The system is composed of a recurrent sequence-to-sequence feature prediction network that maps character embeddings to mel-scale spectrograms, followed by a modified WaveNet model acting as a vocoder to synthesize timedomain waveforms from those spectrograms. Our model achieves a mean opinion score (MOS) of $4.53$ comparable to a MOS of $4.58$ for professionally recorded speech. To validate our design choices, we present ablation studies of key components of our system and evaluate the impact of using mel spectrograms as the input to WaveNet instead of linguistic, duration, and $F_0$ features. We further demonstrate that using a compact acoustic intermediate representation enables significant simplification of the WaveNet architecture.
We propose a simple solution to use a single Neural Machine Translation (NMT) model to translate between multiple languages. Our solution requires no change in the model architecture from our base system but instead introduces an artificial token at the beginning of the input sentence to specify the required target language. The rest of the model, which includes encoder, decoder and attention, remains unchanged and is shared across all languages. Using a shared wordpiece vocabulary, our approach enables Multilingual NMT using a single model without any increase in parameters, which is significantly simpler than previous proposals for Multilingual NMT. Our method often improves the translation quality of all involved language pairs, even while keeping the total number of model parameters constant. On the WMT'14 benchmarks, a single multilingual model achieves comparable performance for English$\rightarrow$French and surpasses state-of-the-art results for English$\rightarrow$German. Similarly, a single multilingual model surpasses state-of-the-art results for French$\rightarrow$English and German$\rightarrow$English on WMT'14 and WMT'15 benchmarks respectively. On production corpora, multilingual models of up to twelve language pairs allow for better translation of many individual pairs. In addition to improving the translation quality of language pairs that the model was trained with, our models can also learn to perform implicit bridging between language pairs never seen explicitly during training, showing that transfer learning and zero-shot translation is possible for neural translation. Finally, we show analyses that hints at a universal interlingua representation in our models and show some interesting examples when mixing languages.
A key problem in structured output prediction is direct optimization of the task reward function that matters for test evaluation. This paper presents a simple and computationally efficient approach to incorporate task reward into a maximum likelihood framework. By establishing a link between the log-likelihood and expected reward objectives, we show that an optimal regularized expected reward is achieved when the conditional distribution of the outputs given the inputs is proportional to their exponentiated scaled rewards. Accordingly, we present a framework to smooth the predictive probability of the outputs using their corresponding rewards. We optimize the conditional log-probability of augmented outputs that are sampled proportionally to their exponentiated scaled rewards. Experiments on neural sequence to sequence models for speech recognition and machine translation show notable improvements over a maximum likelihood baseline by using reward augmented maximum likelihood (RAML), where the rewards are defined as the negative edit distance between the outputs and the ground truth labels.
Neural Machine Translation (NMT) is an end-to-end learning approach for automated translation, with the potential to overcome many of the weaknesses of conventional phrase-based translation systems. Unfortunately, NMT systems are known to be computationally expensive both in training and in translation inference. Also, most NMT systems have difficulty with rare words. These issues have hindered NMT's use in practical deployments and services, where both accuracy and speed are essential. In this work, we present GNMT, Google's Neural Machine Translation system, which attempts to address many of these issues. Our model consists of a deep LSTM network with 8 encoder and 8 decoder layers using attention and residual connections. To improve parallelism and therefore decrease training time, our attention mechanism connects the bottom layer of the decoder to the top layer of the encoder. To accelerate the final translation speed, we employ low-precision arithmetic during inference computations. To improve handling of rare words, we divide words into a limited set of common sub-word units ("wordpieces") for both input and output. This method provides a good balance between the flexibility of "character"-delimited models and the efficiency of "word"-delimited models, naturally handles translation of rare words, and ultimately improves the overall accuracy of the system. Our beam search technique employs a length-normalization procedure and uses a coverage penalty, which encourages generation of an output sentence that is most likely to cover all the words in the source sentence. On the WMT'14 English-to-French and English-to-German benchmarks, GNMT achieves competitive results to state-of-the-art. Using a human side-by-side evaluation on a set of isolated simple sentences, it reduces translation errors by an average of 60% compared to Google's phrase-based production system.
TensorFlow is an interface for expressing machine learning algorithms, and an implementation for executing such algorithms. A computation expressed using TensorFlow can be executed with little or no change on a wide variety of heterogeneous systems, ranging from mobile devices such as phones and tablets up to large-scale distributed systems of hundreds of machines and thousands of computational devices such as GPU cards. The system is flexible and can be used to express a wide variety of algorithms, including training and inference algorithms for deep neural network models, and it has been used for conducting research and for deploying machine learning systems into production across more than a dozen areas of computer science and other fields, including speech recognition, computer vision, robotics, information retrieval, natural language processing, geographic information extraction, and computational drug discovery. This paper describes the TensorFlow interface and an implementation of that interface that we have built at Google. The TensorFlow API and a reference implementation were released as an open-source package under the Apache 2.0 license in November, 2015 and are available at www.tensorflow.org.
In this work we explore recent advances in Recurrent Neural Networks for large scale Language Modeling, a task central to language understanding. We extend current models to deal with two key challenges present in this task: corpora and vocabulary sizes, and complex, long term structure of language. We perform an exhaustive study on techniques such as character Convolutional Neural Networks or Long-Short Term Memory, on the One Billion Word Benchmark. Our best single model significantly improves state-of-the-art perplexity from 51.3 down to 30.0 (whilst reducing the number of parameters by a factor of 20), while an ensemble of models sets a new record by improving perplexity from 41.0 down to 23.7. We also release these models for the NLP and ML community to study and improve upon.
We propose a new benchmark corpus to be used for measuring progress in statistical language modeling. With almost one billion words of training data, we hope this benchmark will be useful to quickly evaluate novel language modeling techniques, and to compare their contribution when combined with other advanced techniques. We show performance of several well-known types of language models, with the best results achieved with a recurrent neural network based language model. The baseline unpruned Kneser-Ney 5-gram model achieves perplexity 67.6; a combination of techniques leads to 35% reduction in perplexity, or 10% reduction in cross-entropy (bits), over that baseline. The benchmark is available as a code.google.com project; besides the scripts needed to rebuild the training/held-out data, it also makes available log-probability values for each word in each of ten held-out data sets, for each of the baseline n-gram models.