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"speech": models, code, and papers

Earballs: Neural Transmodal Translation

Jun 05, 2020
Andrew Port, Chelhwon Kim, Mitesh Patel

As is expressed in the adage "a picture is worth a thousand words", when using spoken language to communicate visual information, brevity can be a challenge. This work describes a novel technique for leveraging machine learned feature embeddings to translate visual (and other types of) information into a perceptual audio domain, allowing users to perceive this information using only their aural faculty. The system uses a pretrained image embedding network to extract visual features and embed them in a compact subset of Euclidean space -- this converts the images into feature vectors whose $L^2$ distances can be used as a meaningful measure of similarity. A generative adversarial network (GAN) is then used to find a distance preserving map from this metric space of feature vectors into the metric space defined by a target audio dataset equipped with either the Euclidean metric or a mel-frequency cepstrum-based psychoacoustic distance metric. We demonstrate this technique by translating images of faces into human speech-like audio. For both target audio metrics, the GAN successfully found a metric preserving mapping, and in human subject tests, users were able to accurately classify audio translations of faces.

* 9 pages, 3 figures 

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Low Resource Multi-Task Sequence Tagging -- Revisiting Dynamic Conditional Random Fields

May 01, 2020
Jonas Pfeiffer, Edwin Simpson, Iryna Gurevych

We compare different models for low resource multi-task sequence tagging that leverage dependencies between label sequences for different tasks. Our analysis is aimed at datasets where each example has labels for multiple tasks. Current approaches use either a separate model for each task or standard multi-task learning to learn shared feature representations. However, these approaches ignore correlations between label sequences, which can provide important information in settings with small training datasets. To analyze which scenarios can profit from modeling dependencies between labels in different tasks, we revisit dynamic conditional random fields (CRFs) and combine them with deep neural networks. We compare single-task, multi-task and dynamic CRF setups for three diverse datasets at both sentence and document levels in English and German low resource scenarios. We show that including silver labels from pretrained part-of-speech taggers as auxiliary tasks can improve performance on downstream tasks. We find that especially in low-resource scenarios, the explicit modeling of inter-dependencies between task predictions outperforms single-task as well as standard multi-task models.


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Language-agnostic Multilingual Modeling

Apr 20, 2020
Arindrima Datta, Bhuvana Ramabhadran, Jesse Emond, Anjuli Kannan, Brian Roark

Multilingual Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) systems allow for the joint training of data-rich and data-scarce languages in a single model. This enables data and parameter sharing across languages, which is especially beneficial for the data-scarce languages. However, most state-of-the-art multilingual models require the encoding of language information and therefore are not as flexible or scalable when expanding to newer languages. Language-independent multilingual models help to address this issue, and are also better suited for multicultural societies where several languages are frequently used together (but often rendered with different writing systems). In this paper, we propose a new approach to building a language-agnostic multilingual ASR system which transforms all languages to one writing system through a many-to-one transliteration transducer. Thus, similar sounding acoustics are mapped to a single, canonical target sequence of graphemes, effectively separating the modeling and rendering problems. We show with four Indic languages, namely, Hindi, Bengali, Tamil and Kannada, that the language-agnostic multilingual model achieves up to 10% relative reduction in Word Error Rate (WER) over a language-dependent multilingual model.


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Pre-Training for Query Rewriting in A Spoken Language Understanding System

Feb 13, 2020
Zheng Chen, Xing Fan, Yuan Ling, Lambert Mathias, Chenlei Guo

Query rewriting (QR) is an increasingly important technique to reduce customer friction caused by errors in a spoken language understanding pipeline, where the errors originate from various sources such as speech recognition errors, language understanding errors or entity resolution errors. In this work, we first propose a neural-retrieval based approach for query rewriting. Then, inspired by the wide success of pre-trained contextual language embeddings, and also as a way to compensate for insufficient QR training data, we propose a language-modeling (LM) based approach to pre-train query embeddings on historical user conversation data with a voice assistant. In addition, we propose to use the NLU hypotheses generated by the language understanding system to augment the pre-training. Our experiments show pre-training provides rich prior information and help the QR task achieve strong performance. We also show joint pre-training with NLU hypotheses has further benefit. Finally, after pre-training, we find a small set of rewrite pairs is enough to fine-tune the QR model to outperform a strong baseline by full training on all QR training data.


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Characterizing the dynamics of learning in repeated reference games

Dec 16, 2019
Robert D. Hawkins, Michael C. Frank, Noah D. Goodman

The language we use over the course of conversation changes as we establish common ground and learn what our partner finds meaningful. Here we draw upon recent advances in natural language processing to provide a finer-grained characterization of the dynamics of this learning process. We release an open corpus (>15,000 utterances) of extended dyadic interactions in a classic repeated reference game task where pairs of participants had to coordinate on how to refer to initially difficult-to-describe tangram stimuli. We find that different pairs discover a wide variety of idiosyncratic but efficient and stable solutions to the problem of reference. Furthermore, these conventions are shaped by the communicative context: words that are more discriminative in the initial context (i.e. that are used for one target more than others) are more likely to persist through the final repetition. Finally, we find systematic structure in how a speaker's referring expressions become more efficient over time: syntactic units drop out in clusters following positive feedback from the listener, eventually leaving short labels containing open-class parts of speech. These findings provide a higher resolution look at the quantitative dynamics of ad hoc convention formation and support further development of computational models of learning in communication.


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Independent language modeling architecture for end-to-end ASR

Nov 25, 2019
Van Tung Pham, Haihua Xu, Yerbolat Khassanov, Zhiping Zeng, Eng Siong Chng, Chongjia Ni, Bin Ma, Haizhou Li

The attention-based end-to-end (E2E) automatic speech recognition (ASR) architecture allows for joint optimization of acoustic and language models within a single network. However, in a vanilla E2E ASR architecture, the decoder sub-network (subnet), which incorporates the role of the language model (LM), is conditioned on the encoder output. This means that the acoustic encoder and the language model are entangled that doesn't allow language model to be trained separately from external text data. To address this problem, in this work, we propose a new architecture that separates the decoder subnet from the encoder output. In this way, the decoupled subnet becomes an independently trainable LM subnet, which can easily be updated using the external text data. We study two strategies for updating the new architecture. Experimental results show that, 1) the independent LM architecture benefits from external text data, achieving 9.3% and 22.8% relative character and word error rate reduction on Mandarin HKUST and English NSC datasets respectively; 2)the proposed architecture works well with external LM and can be generalized to different amount of labelled data.


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MelGAN: Generative Adversarial Networks for Conditional Waveform Synthesis

Oct 08, 2019
Kundan Kumar, Rithesh Kumar, Thibault de Boissiere, Lucas Gestin, Wei Zhen Teoh, Jose Sotelo, Alexandre de Brebisson, Yoshua Bengio, Aaron Courville

Previous works \citep{donahue2018adversarial, engel2019gansynth} have found that generating coherent raw audio waveforms with GANs is challenging. In this paper, we show that it is possible to train GANs reliably to generate high quality coherent waveforms by introducing a set of architectural changes and simple training techniques. Subjective evaluation metric (Mean Opinion Score, or MOS) shows the effectiveness of the proposed approach for high quality mel-spectrogram inversion. To establish the generality of the proposed techniques, we show qualitative results of our model in speech synthesis, music domain translation and unconditional music synthesis. We evaluate the various components of the model through ablation studies and suggest a set of guidelines to design general purpose discriminators and generators for conditional sequence synthesis tasks. Our model is non-autoregressive, fully convolutional, with significantly fewer parameters than competing models and generalizes to unseen speakers for mel-spectrogram inversion. Our pytorch implementation runs at more than 100x faster than realtime on GTX 1080Ti GPU and more than 2x faster than real-time on CPU, without any hardware specific optimization tricks. Blog post with samples and accompanying code coming soon.


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To React or not to React: End-to-End Visual Pose Forecasting for Personalized Avatar during Dyadic Conversations

Oct 05, 2019
Chaitanya Ahuja, Shugao Ma, Louis-Philippe Morency, Yaser Sheikh

Non verbal behaviours such as gestures, facial expressions, body posture, and para-linguistic cues have been shown to complement or clarify verbal messages. Hence to improve telepresence, in form of an avatar, it is important to model these behaviours, especially in dyadic interactions. Creating such personalized avatars not only requires to model intrapersonal dynamics between a avatar's speech and their body pose, but it also needs to model interpersonal dynamics with the interlocutor present in the conversation. In this paper, we introduce a neural architecture named Dyadic Residual-Attention Model (DRAM), which integrates intrapersonal (monadic) and interpersonal (dyadic) dynamics using selective attention to generate sequences of body pose conditioned on audio and body pose of the interlocutor and audio of the human operating the avatar. We evaluate our proposed model on dyadic conversational data consisting of pose and audio of both participants, confirming the importance of adaptive attention between monadic and dyadic dynamics when predicting avatar pose. We also conduct a user study to analyze judgments of human observers. Our results confirm that the generated body pose is more natural, models intrapersonal dynamics and interpersonal dynamics better than non-adaptive monadic/dyadic models.


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A Winograd-based Integrated Photonics Accelerator for Convolutional Neural Networks

Jun 25, 2019
Armin Mehrabian, Mario Miscuglio, Yousra Alkabani, Volker J. Sorger, Tarek El-Ghazawi

Neural Networks (NNs) have become the mainstream technology in the artificial intelligence (AI) renaissance over the past decade. Among different types of neural networks, convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have been widely adopted as they have achieved leading results in many fields such as computer vision and speech recognition. This success in part is due to the widespread availability of capable underlying hardware platforms. Applications have always been a driving factor for design of such hardware architectures. Hardware specialization can expose us to novel architectural solutions, which can outperform general purpose computers for tasks at hand. Although different applications demand for different performance measures, they all share speed and energy efficiency as high priorities. Meanwhile, photonics processing has seen a resurgence due to its inherited high speed and low power nature. Here, we investigate the potential of using photonics in CNNs by proposing a CNN accelerator design based on Winograd filtering algorithm. Our evaluation results show that while a photonic accelerator can compete with current-state-of-the-art electronic platforms in terms of both speed and power, it has the potential to improve the energy efficiency by up to three orders of magnitude.

* 12 pages, photonics, artificial intelligence, convolutional neural networks, Winograd 

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HARK Side of Deep Learning -- From Grad Student Descent to Automated Machine Learning

Apr 16, 2019
Oguzhan Gencoglu, Mark van Gils, Esin Guldogan, Chamin Morikawa, Mehmet Süzen, Mathias Gruber, Jussi Leinonen, Heikki Huttunen

Recent advancements in machine learning research, i.e., deep learning, introduced methods that excel conventional algorithms as well as humans in several complex tasks, ranging from detection of objects in images and speech recognition to playing difficult strategic games. However, the current methodology of machine learning research and consequently, implementations of the real-world applications of such algorithms, seems to have a recurring HARKing (Hypothesizing After the Results are Known) issue. In this work, we elaborate on the algorithmic, economic and social reasons and consequences of this phenomenon. We present examples from current common practices of conducting machine learning research (e.g. avoidance of reporting negative results) and failure of generalization ability of the proposed algorithms and datasets in actual real-life usage. Furthermore, a potential future trajectory of machine learning research and development from the perspective of accountable, unbiased, ethical and privacy-aware algorithmic decision making is discussed. We would like to emphasize that with this discussion we neither claim to provide an exhaustive argumentation nor blame any specific institution or individual on the raised issues. This is simply a discussion put forth by us, insiders of the machine learning field, reflecting on us.

* 13 pages 

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