The accuracy of end-to-end (E2E) automatic speech recognition (ASR) models continues to improve as they are scaled to larger sizes, with some now reaching billions of parameters. Widespread deployment and adoption of these models, however, requires computationally efficient strategies for decoding. In the present work, we study one such strategy: applying multiple frame reduction layers in the encoder to compress encoder outputs into a small number of output frames. While similar techniques have been investigated in previous work, we achieve dramatically more reduction than has previously been demonstrated through the use of multiple funnel reduction layers. Through ablations, we study the impact of various architectural choices in the encoder to identify the most effective strategies. We demonstrate that we can generate one encoder output frame for every 2.56 sec of input speech, without significantly affecting word error rate on a large-scale voice search task, while improving encoder and decoder latencies by 48% and 92% respectively, relative to a strong but computationally expensive baseline.
* Accepted to 2024 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech,
and Signal Processing (ICASSP 2024)
End-to-end automatic speech recognition (ASR) models have seen revolutionary quality gains with the recent development of large-scale universal speech models (USM). However, deploying these massive USMs is extremely expensive due to the enormous memory usage and computational cost. Therefore, model compression is an important research topic to fit USM-based ASR under budget in real-world scenarios. In this study, we propose a USM fine-tuning approach for ASR, with a low-bit quantization and N:M structured sparsity aware paradigm on the model weights, reducing the model complexity from parameter precision and matrix topology perspectives. We conducted extensive experiments with a 2-billion parameter USM on a large-scale voice search dataset to evaluate our proposed method. A series of ablation studies validate the effectiveness of up to int4 quantization and 2:4 sparsity. However, a single compression technique fails to recover the performance well under extreme setups including int2 quantization and 1:4 sparsity. By contrast, our proposed method can compress the model to have 9.4% of the size, at the cost of only 7.3% relative word error rate (WER) regressions. We also provided in-depth analyses on the results and discussions on the limitations and potential solutions, which would be valuable for future studies.
Contextual biasing refers to the problem of biasing the automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems towards rare entities that are relevant to the specific user or application scenarios. We propose algorithms for contextual biasing based on the Knuth-Morris-Pratt algorithm for pattern matching. During beam search, we boost the score of a token extension if it extends matching into a set of biasing phrases. Our method simulates the classical approaches often implemented in the weighted finite state transducer (WFST) framework, but avoids the FST language altogether, with careful considerations on memory footprint and efficiency on tensor processing units (TPUs) by vectorization. Without introducing additional model parameters, our method achieves significant word error rate (WER) reductions on biasing test sets by itself, and yields further performance gain when combined with a model-based biasing method.
In this work, we investigate two popular end-to-end automatic speech recognition (ASR) models, namely Connectionist Temporal Classification (CTC) and RNN-Transducer (RNN-T), for offline recognition of voice search queries, with up to 2B model parameters. The encoders of our models use the neural architecture of Google's universal speech model (USM), with additional funnel pooling layers to significantly reduce the frame rate and speed up training and inference. We perform extensive studies on vocabulary size, time reduction strategy, and its generalization performance on long-form test sets. Despite the speculation that, as the model size increases, CTC can be as good as RNN-T which builds label dependency into the prediction, we observe that a 900M RNN-T clearly outperforms a 1.8B CTC and is more tolerant to severe time reduction, although the WER gap can be largely removed by LM shallow fusion.
For a long time, humanity has pursued artificial intelligence (AI) equivalent to or surpassing the human level, with AI agents considered a promising vehicle for this pursuit. AI agents are artificial entities that sense their environment, make decisions, and take actions. Many efforts have been made to develop intelligent agents, but they mainly focus on advancement in algorithms or training strategies to enhance specific capabilities or performance on particular tasks. Actually, what the community lacks is a general and powerful model to serve as a starting point for designing AI agents that can adapt to diverse scenarios. Due to the versatile capabilities they demonstrate, large language models (LLMs) are regarded as potential sparks for Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), offering hope for building general AI agents. Many researchers have leveraged LLMs as the foundation to build AI agents and have achieved significant progress. In this paper, we perform a comprehensive survey on LLM-based agents. We start by tracing the concept of agents from its philosophical origins to its development in AI, and explain why LLMs are suitable foundations for agents. Building upon this, we present a general framework for LLM-based agents, comprising three main components: brain, perception, and action, and the framework can be tailored for different applications. Subsequently, we explore the extensive applications of LLM-based agents in three aspects: single-agent scenarios, multi-agent scenarios, and human-agent cooperation. Following this, we delve into agent societies, exploring the behavior and personality of LLM-based agents, the social phenomena that emerge from an agent society, and the insights they offer for human society. Finally, we discuss several key topics and open problems within the field. A repository for the related papers at https://github.com/WooooDyy/LLM-Agent-Paper-List.
Online speech recognition, where the model only accesses context to the left, is an important and challenging use case for ASR systems. In this work, we investigate augmenting neural encoders for online ASR by incorporating structured state-space sequence models (S4), which are a family of models that provide a parameter-efficient way of accessing arbitrarily long left context. We perform systematic ablation studies to compare variants of S4 models and propose two novel approaches that combine them with convolutions. We find that the most effective design is to stack a small S4 using real-valued recurrent weights with a local convolution, allowing them to work complementarily. Our best model achieves WERs of 4.01%/8.53% on test sets from Librispeech, outperforming Conformers with extensively tuned convolution.
While standard speaker diarization attempts to answer the question "who spoken when", most of relevant applications in reality are more interested in determining "who spoken what". Whether it is the conventional modularized approach or the more recent end-to-end neural diarization (EEND), an additional automatic speech recognition (ASR) model and an orchestration algorithm are required to associate the speaker labels with recognized words. In this paper, we propose Word-level End-to-End Neural Diarization (WEEND) with auxiliary network, a multi-task learning algorithm that performs end-to-end ASR and speaker diarization in the same neural architecture. That is, while speech is being recognized, speaker labels are predicted simultaneously for each recognized word. Experimental results demonstrate that WEEND outperforms the turn-based diarization baseline system on all 2-speaker short-form scenarios and has the capability to generalize to audio lengths of 5 minutes. Although 3+speaker conversations are harder, we find that with enough in-domain training data, WEEND has the potential to deliver high quality diarized text.