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Joint Line Segmentation and Transcription for End-to-End Handwritten Paragraph Recognition

Neural Information Processing Systems

Offline handwriting recognition systems require cropped text line images for both training and recognition. On the one hand, the annotation of position and transcript at line level is costly to obtain. On the other hand, automatic line segmentation algorithms are prone to errors, compromising the subsequent recognition. In this paper, we propose a modification of the popular and efficient Multi-Dimensional Long Short-Term Memory Recurrent Neural Networks (MDLSTM-RNNs) to enable end-to-end processing of handwritten paragraphs. More particularly, we replace the collapse layer transforming the two-dimensional representation into a sequence of predictions by a recurrent version which can select one line at a time. In the proposed model, a neural network performs a kind of implicit line segmentation by computing attention weights on the image representation. The experiments on paragraphs of Rimes and IAM databases yield results that are competitive with those of networks trained at line level, and constitute a significant step towards end-to-end transcription of full documents.


Attention networks for image-to-text

arXiv.org Machine Learning

The paper approaches the problem of image-to-text with attention-based encoder-decoder networks that are trained to handle sequences of characters rather than words. We experiment on lines of text from a popular handwriting database with different attention mechanisms for the decoder. The model trained with softmax attention achieves the lowest test error, outperforming several other RNN-based models. Our results show that softmax attention is able to learn a linear alignment whereas the alignment generated by sigmoid attention is linear but much less precise.


Variational Dropout Sparsifies Deep Neural Networks

arXiv.org Machine Learning

We explore a recently proposed Variational Dropout technique that provided an elegant Bayesian interpretation to Gaussian Dropout. We extend Variational Dropout to the case when dropout rates are unbounded, propose a way to reduce the variance of the gradient estimator and report first experimental results with individual dropout rates per weight. Interestingly, it leads to extremely sparse solutions both in fully-connected and convolutional layers. This effect is similar to automatic relevance determination effect in empirical Bayes but has a number of advantages. We reduce the number of parameters up to 280 times on LeNet architectures and up to 68 times on VGG-like networks with a negligible decrease of accuracy.


Hierarchical Sequence to Sequence Voice Conversion with Limited Data

arXiv.org Machine Learning

We present a voice conversion solution using recurrent sequence to sequence modeling for DNNs. Our solution takes advantage of recent advances in attention based modeling in the fields of Neural Machine Translation (NMT), Text-to-Speech (TTS) and Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR). The problem consists of converting between voices in a parallel setting when {\it $<$source,target$>$} audio pairs are available. Our seq2seq architecture makes use of a hierarchical encoder to summarize input audio frames. On the decoder side, we use an attention based architecture used in recent TTS works. Since there is a dearth of large multispeaker voice conversion databases needed for training DNNs, we resort to training the network with a large single speaker dataset as an autoencoder. This is then adapted for the smaller multispeaker voice conversion datasets available for voice conversion. In contrast with other voice conversion works that use $F_0$, duration and linguistic features, our system uses mel spectrograms as the audio representation. Output mel frames are converted back to audio using a wavenet vocoder.


Survey of Dropout Methods for Deep Neural Networks

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Dropout methods are a family of stochastic techniques used in neural network training or inference that have generated significant research interest and are widely used in practice. They have been successfully applied in neural network regularization, model compression, and in measuring the uncertainty of neural network outputs. While original formulated for dense neural network layers, recent advances have made dropout methods also applicable to convolutional and recurrent neural network layers. This paper summarizes the history of dropout methods, their various applications, and current areas of research interest. Important proposed methods are described in additional detail.