Transformer-based models have been achieving state-of-the-art results in several fields of Natural Language Processing. However, its direct application to speech tasks is not trivial. The nature of this sequences carries problems such as long sequence lengths and redundancy between adjacent tokens. Therefore, we believe that regular self-attention mechanism might not be well suited for it. Different approaches have been proposed to overcome these problems, such as the use of efficient attention mechanisms. However, the use of these methods usually comes with a cost, which is a performance reduction caused by information loss. In this study, we present the Multiformer, a Transformer-based model which allows the use of different attention mechanisms on each head. By doing this, the model is able to bias the self-attention towards the extraction of more diverse token interactions, and the information loss is reduced. Finally, we perform an analysis of the head contributions, and we observe that those architectures where all heads relevance is uniformly distributed obtain better results. Our results show that mixing attention patterns along the different heads and layers outperforms our baseline by up to 0.7 BLEU.
We propose multi-layer perceptron (MLP)-based architectures suitable for variable length input. MLP-based architectures, recently proposed for image classification, can only be used for inputs of a fixed, pre-defined size. However, many types of data are naturally variable in length, for example, acoustic signals. We propose three approaches to extend MLP-based architectures for use with sequences of arbitrary length. The first one uses a circular convolution applied in the Fourier domain, the second applies a depthwise convolution, and the final relies on a shift operation. We evaluate the proposed architectures on an automatic speech recognition task with the Librispeech and Tedlium2 corpora. The best proposed MLP-based architectures improves WER by 1.0 / 0.9%, 0.9 / 0.5% on Librispeech dev-clean/dev-other, test-clean/test-other set, and 0.8 / 1.1% on Tedlium2 dev/test set using 86.4% the size of self-attention-based architecture.
Contextual knowledge is important for real-world automatic speech recognition (ASR) applications. In this paper, a novel tree-constrained pointer generator (TCPGen) component is proposed that incorporates such knowledge as a list of biasing words into both attention-based encoder-decoder and transducer end-to-end ASR models in a neural-symbolic way. TCPGen structures the biasing words into an efficient prefix tree to serve as its symbolic input and creates a neural shortcut between the tree and the final ASR output distribution to facilitate recognising biasing words during decoding. Systems were trained and evaluated on the Librispeech corpus where biasing words were extracted at the scales of an utterance, a chapter, or a book to simulate different application scenarios. Experimental results showed that TCPGen consistently improved word error rates (WERs) compared to the baselines, and in particular, achieved significant WER reductions on the biasing words. TCPGen is highly efficient: it can handle 5,000 biasing words and distractors and only add a small overhead to memory use and computation cost.
Attention-based methods and Connectionist Temporal Classification (CTC) network have been promising research directions for end-to-end Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR). The joint CTC/Attention model has achieved great success by utilizing both architectures during multi-task training and joint decoding. In this work, we present a novel Multi-Encoder Multi-Resolution (MEMR) framework based on the joint CTC/Attention model. Two heterogeneous encoders with different architectures, temporal resolutions and separate CTC networks work in parallel to extract complimentary acoustic information. A hierarchical attention mechanism is then used to combine the encoder-level information. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed model, experiments are conducted on Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and CHiME-4, resulting in relative Word Error Rate (WER) reduction of 18.0-32.1%. Moreover, the proposed MEMR model achieves 3.6% WER in the WSJ eval92 test set, which is the best WER reported for an end-to-end system on this benchmark.
Layer normalization is a recently introduced technique for normalizing the activities of neurons in deep neural networks to improve the training speed and stability. In this paper, we introduce a new layer normalization technique called Dynamic Layer Normalization (DLN) for adaptive neural acoustic modeling in speech recognition. By dynamically generating the scaling and shifting parameters in layer normalization, DLN adapts neural acoustic models to the acoustic variability arising from various factors such as speakers, channel noises, and environments. Unlike other adaptive acoustic models, our proposed approach does not require additional adaptation data or speaker information such as i-vectors. Moreover, the model size is fixed as it dynamically generates adaptation parameters. We apply our proposed DLN to deep bidirectional LSTM acoustic models and evaluate them on two benchmark datasets for large vocabulary ASR experiments: WSJ and TED-LIUM release 2. The experimental results show that our DLN improves neural acoustic models in terms of transcription accuracy by dynamically adapting to various speakers and environments.
In this paper, we extend the deep long short-term memory (DLSTM) recurrent neural networks by introducing gated direct connections between memory cells in adjacent layers. These direct links, called highway connections, enable unimpeded information flow across different layers and thus alleviate the gradient vanishing problem when building deeper LSTMs. We further introduce the latency-controlled bidirectional LSTMs (BLSTMs) which can exploit the whole history while keeping the latency under control. Efficient algorithms are proposed to train these novel networks using both frame and sequence discriminative criteria. Experiments on the AMI distant speech recognition (DSR) task indicate that we can train deeper LSTMs and achieve better improvement from sequence training with highway LSTMs (HLSTMs). Our novel model obtains $43.9/47.7\%$ WER on AMI (SDM) dev and eval sets, outperforming all previous works. It beats the strong DNN and DLSTM baselines with $15.7\%$ and $5.3\%$ relative improvement respectively.
We describe here our work with automatic speech recognition (ASR) in the context of voice search functionality on the Flipkart e-Commerce platform. Starting with the deep learning architecture of Listen-Attend-Spell (LAS), we build upon and expand the model design and attention mechanisms to incorporate innovative approaches including multi-objective training, multi-pass training, and external rescoring using language models and phoneme based losses. We report a relative WER improvement of 15.7% on top of state-of-the-art LAS models using these modifications. Overall, we report an improvement of 36.9% over the phoneme-CTC system. The paper also provides an overview of different components that can be tuned in a LAS-based system.
Developing Text Normalization (TN) systems for Text-to-Speech (TTS) on new languages is hard. We propose a novel architecture to facilitate it for multiple languages while using data less than 3% of the size of the data used by the state of the art results on English. We treat TN as a sequence classification problem and propose a granular tokenization mechanism that enables the system to learn majority of the classes and their normalizations from the training data itself. This is further combined with minimal precoded linguistic knowledge for other classes. We publish the first results on TN for TTS in Spanish and Tamil and also demonstrate that the performance of the approach is comparable with the previous work done on English. All annotated datasets used for experimentation will be released at https://github.com/amazon-research/proteno.
In spite of the recent success of Dialogue Act (DA) classification, the majority of prior works focus on text-based classification with oracle transcriptions, i.e. human transcriptions, instead of Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR)'s transcriptions. In spoken dialog systems, however, the agent would only have access to noisy ASR transcriptions, which may further suffer performance degradation due to domain shift. In this paper, we explore the effectiveness of using both acoustic and textual signals, either oracle or ASR transcriptions, and investigate speaker domain adaptation for DA classification. Our multimodal model proves to be superior to the unimodal models, particularly when the oracle transcriptions are not available. We also propose an effective method for speaker domain adaptation, which achieves competitive results.