We study large-scale kernel methods for acoustic modeling and compare to DNNs on performance metrics related to both acoustic modeling and recognition. Measuring perplexity and frame-level classification accuracy, kernel-based acoustic models are as effective as their DNN counterparts. However, on token-error-rates DNN models can be significantly better. We have discovered that this might be attributed to DNN's unique strength in reducing both the perplexity and the entropy of the predicted posterior probabilities. Motivated by our findings, we propose a new technique, entropy regularized perplexity, for model selection.
Hidden Markov models (HMMs) for automatic speech recognition rely on high dimensional feature vectors to summarize the shorttime propertiesof speech. Correlations between features can arise when the speech signal is non-stationary or corrupted by noise. We investigate how to model these correlations using factor analysis, a statistical method for dimensionality reduction. Factor analysis uses a small number of parameters to model the covariance structure ofhigh dimensional data. These parameters are estimated by an Expectation-Maximization (EM) algorithm that can be embedded inthe training procedures for HMMs.
Recent advances in speech synthesis suggest that limitations such as the lossy nature of the amplitude spectrum with minimum phase approximation and the over-smoothing effect in acoustic modeling can be overcome by using advanced machine learning approaches. In this paper, we build a framework in which we can fairly compare new vocoding and acoustic modeling techniques with conventional approaches by means of a large scale crowdsourced evaluation. Results on acoustic models showed that generative adversarial networks and an autoregressive (AR) model performed better than a normal recurrent network and the AR model performed best. Evaluation on vocoders by using the same AR acoustic model demonstrated that a Wavenet vocoder outperformed classical source-filter-based vocoders. Particularly, generated speech waveforms from the combination of AR acoustic model and Wavenet vocoder achieved a similar score of speech quality to vocoded speech.
Conventional deep neural networks (DNN) for speech acoustic modeling rely on Gaussian mixture models (GMM) and hidden Markov model (HMM) to obtain binary class labels as the targets for DNN training. Subword classes in speech recognition systems correspond to context-dependent tied states or senones. The present work addresses some limitations of GMM-HMM senone alignments for DNN training. We hypothesize that the senone probabilities obtained from a DNN trained with binary labels can provide more accurate targets to learn better acoustic models. However, DNN outputs bear inaccuracies which are exhibited as high dimensional unstructured noise, whereas the informative components are structured and low-dimensional. We exploit principle component analysis (PCA) and sparse coding to characterize the senone subspaces. Enhanced probabilities obtained from low-rank and sparse reconstructions are used as soft-targets for DNN acoustic modeling, that also enables training with untranscribed data. Experiments conducted on AMI corpus shows 4.6% relative reduction in word error rate.
Deep neural networks (DNNs) are now a central component of nearly all state-of-the-art speech recognition systems. Building neural network acoustic models requires several design decisions including network architecture, size, and training loss function. This paper offers an empirical investigation on which aspects of DNN acoustic model design are most important for speech recognition system performance. We report DNN classifier performance and final speech recognizer word error rates, and compare DNNs using several metrics to quantify factors influencing differences in task performance. Our first set of experiments use the standard Switchboard benchmark corpus, which contains approximately 300 hours of conversational telephone speech. We compare standard DNNs to convolutional networks, and present the first experiments using locally-connected, untied neural networks for acoustic modeling. We additionally build systems on a corpus of 2,100 hours of training data by combining the Switchboard and Fisher corpora. This larger corpus allows us to more thoroughly examine performance of large DNN models -- with up to ten times more parameters than those typically used in speech recognition systems. Our results suggest that a relatively simple DNN architecture and optimization technique produces strong results. These findings, along with previous work, help establish a set of best practices for building DNN hybrid speech recognition systems with maximum likelihood training. Our experiments in DNN optimization additionally serve as a case study for training DNNs with discriminative loss functions for speech tasks, as well as DNN classifiers more generally.