In this work, we tackle the problem of bandwidth estimation (BWE) for real-time communication systems; however, in contrast to previous works, we leverage the vast efforts of prior heuristic-based BWE methods and synergize these approaches with deep learning-based techniques. Our work addresses challenges in generalizing to unseen network dynamics and extracting rich representations from prior experience, two key challenges in integrating data-driven bandwidth estimators into real-time systems. To that end, we propose Merlin, the first purely offline, data-driven solution to BWE that harnesses prior heuristic-based methods to extract an expert BWE policy. Through a series of experiments, we demonstrate that Merlin surpasses state-of-the-art heuristic-based and deep learning-based bandwidth estimators in terms of objective quality of experience metrics while generalizing beyond the offline world to in-the-wild network deployments where Merlin achieves a 42.85% and 12.8% reduction in packet loss and delay, respectively, when compared against WebRTC in inter-continental videoconferencing calls. We hope that Merlin's offline-oriented design fosters new strategies for real-time network control.
We introduce a distinctive real-time, causal, neural network-based active speaker detection system optimized for low-power edge computing. This system drives a virtual cinematography module and is deployed on a commercial device. The system uses data originating from a microphone array and a 360-degree camera. Our network requires only 127 MFLOPs per participant, for a meeting with 14 participants. Unlike previous work, we examine the error rate of our network when the computational budget is exhausted, and find that it exhibits graceful degradation, allowing the system to operate reasonably well even in this case. Departing from conventional DOA estimation approaches, our network learns to query the available acoustic data, considering the detected head locations. We train and evaluate our algorithm on a realistic meetings dataset featuring up to 14 participants in the same meeting, overlapped speech, and other challenging scenarios.
Current state-of-the-art video quality models, such as VMAF, give excellent prediction results by comparing the degraded video with its reference video. However, they do not consider temporal distortions (e.g., frame freezes or skips) that occur during videoconferencing calls. In this paper, we present a data-driven approach for modeling such distortions automatically by training an LSTM with subjective quality ratings labeled via crowdsourcing. The videos were collected from live videoconferencing calls in 83 different network conditions. We applied QR codes as markers on the source videos to create aligned references and compute temporal features based on the alignment vectors. Using these features together with VMAF core features, our proposed model achieves a PCC of 0.99 on the validation set. Furthermore, our model outputs per-frame quality that gives detailed insight into the cause of video quality impairments. The VCM model and dataset are open-sourced at https://github.com/microsoft/Video_Call_MOS.
Deep Speech Enhancement Challenge is the 5th edition of deep noise suppression (DNS) challenges organized at ICASSP 2023 Signal Processing Grand Challenges. DNS challenges were organized during 2019-2023 to stimulate research in deep speech enhancement (DSE). Previous DNS challenges were organized at INTERSPEECH 2020, ICASSP 2021, INTERSPEECH 2021, and ICASSP 2022. From prior editions, we learnt that improving signal quality (SIG) is challenging particularly in presence of simultaneously active interfering talkers and noise. This challenge aims to develop models for joint denosing, dereverberation and suppression of interfering talkers. When primary talker wears a headphone, certain acoustic properties of their speech such as direct-to-reverberation (DRR), signal to noise ratio (SNR) etc. make it possible to suppress neighboring talkers even without enrollment data for primary talker. This motivated us to create two tracks for this challenge: (i) Track-1 Headset; (ii) Track-2 Speakerphone. Both tracks has fullband (48kHz) training data and testset, and each testclips has a corresponding enrollment data (10-30s duration) for primary talker. Each track invited submissions of personalized and non-personalized models all of which are evaluated through same subjective evaluation. Most models submitted to challenge were personalized models, same team is winner in both tracks where the best models has improvement of 0.145 and 0.141 in challenge's Score as compared to noisy blind testset.
The Deep Noise Suppression (DNS) challenge is designed to foster innovation in the area of noise suppression to achieve superior perceptual speech quality. This is the 4th DNS challenge, with the previous editions held at INTERSPEECH 2020, ICASSP 2021, and INTERSPEECH 2021. We open-source datasets and test sets for researchers to train their deep noise suppression models, as well as a subjective evaluation framework based on ITU-T P.835 to rate and rank-order the challenge entries. We provide access to DNSMOS P.835 and word accuracy (WAcc) APIs to challenge participants to help with iterative model improvements. In this challenge, we introduced the following changes: (i) Included mobile device scenarios in the blind test set; (ii) Included a personalized noise suppression track with baseline; (iii) Added WAcc as an objective metric; (iv) Included DNSMOS P.835; (v) Made the training datasets and test sets fullband (48 kHz). We use an average of WAcc and subjective scores P.835 SIG, BAK, and OVRL to get the final score for ranking the DNS models. We believe that as a research community, we still have a long way to go in achieving excellent speech quality in challenging noisy real-world scenarios.
We study the role of magnitude structured pruning as an architecture search to speed up the inference time of a deep noise suppression (DNS) model. While deep learning approaches have been remarkably successful in enhancing audio quality, their increased complexity inhibits their deployment in real-time applications. We achieve up to a 7.25X inference speedup over the baseline, with a smooth model performance degradation. Ablation studies indicate that our proposed network re-parameterization (i.e., size per layer) is the major driver of the speedup, and that magnitude structured pruning does comparably to directly training a model in the smaller size. We report inference speed because a parameter reduction does not necessitate speedup, and we measure model quality using an accurate non-intrusive objective speech quality metric.
Human subjective evaluation is the gold standard to evaluate speech quality optimized for human perception. Perceptual objective metrics serve as a proxy for subjective scores. We have recently developed a non-intrusive speech quality metric called Deep Noise Suppression Mean Opinion Score (DNSMOS) using the scores from ITU-T Rec. P.808 subjective evaluation. The P.808 scores reflect the overall quality of the audio clip. ITU-T Rec. P.835 subjective evaluation framework gives the standalone quality scores of speech and background noise in addition to the overall quality. In this work, we train an objective metric based on P.835 human ratings that outputs 3 scores: i) speech quality (SIG), ii) background noise quality (BAK), and iii) the overall quality (OVRL) of the audio. The developed metric is highly correlated with human ratings, with a Pearson's Correlation Coefficient (PCC)=0.94 for SIG and PCC=0.98 for BAK and OVRL. This is the first non-intrusive P.835 predictor we are aware of. DNSMOS P.835 is made publicly available as an Azure service.
The Deep Noise Suppression (DNS) challenge is designed to foster innovation in the area of noise suppression to achieve superior perceptual speech quality. We recently organized a DNS challenge special session at INTERSPEECH and ICASSP 2020. We open-sourced training and test datasets for the wideband scenario. We also open-sourced a subjective evaluation framework based on ITU-T standard P.808, which was also used to evaluate participants of the challenge. Many researchers from academia and industry made significant contributions to push the field forward, yet even the best noise suppressor was far from achieving superior speech quality in challenging scenarios. In this version of the challenge organized at INTERSPEECH 2021, we are expanding both our training and test datasets to accommodate full band scenarios. The two tracks in this challenge will focus on real-time denoising for (i) wide band, and(ii) full band scenarios. We are also making available a reliable non-intrusive objective speech quality metric called DNSMOS for the participants to use during their development phase.
Large software systems tune hundreds of 'constants' to optimize their runtime performance. These values are commonly derived through intuition, lab tests, or A/B tests. A 'one-size-fits-all' approach is often sub-optimal as the best value depends on runtime context. In this paper, we provide an experimental approach to replace constants with learned contextual functions for Skype - a widely used real-time communication (RTC) application. We present Resonance, a system based on contextual bandits (CB). We describe experiences from three real-world experiments: applying it to the audio, video, and transport components in Skype. We surface a unique and practical challenge of performing machine learning (ML) inference in large software systems written using encapsulation principles. Finally, we open-source FeatureBroker, a library to reduce the friction in adopting ML models in such development environments