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Environmental Sniffing: Noise Knowledge Estimation for Robust Speech Systems

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2 Author(s)
Akbacak, M. ; Erik Jonsson Sch. of Eng. & Comput. Sci., Texas Univ., Richardson, TX ; Hansen, J.H.L.

Automatic speech recognition systems work reasonably well under clean conditions but become fragile in practical applications involving real-world environments. To date, most approaches dealing with environmental noise in speech systems are based on assumptions concerning the noise, or differences in collecting and training on a specific noise condition, rather than exploring the nature of the noise. As such, speech recognition, speaker ID, or coding systems are typically retrained when new acoustic conditions are to be encountered. In this paper, we propose a new framework entitled Environmental Sniffing to detect, classify, and track acoustic environmental conditions. The first goal of the framework is to seek out detailed information about the environmental characteristics instead of just detecting environmental changes. The second goal is to organize this knowledge in an effective manner to allow smart decisions to direct subsequent speech processing systems. Our current framework uses a number of speech processing modules including a hybrid algorithm with T2-BIC segmentation, Gaussian mixture model/hidden Markov model (GMM/HMM)-based classification and noise language modeling to achieve effective noise knowledge estimation. We define a new information criterion that incorporates the impact of noise into Environmental Sniffing performance. We use an in-vehicle speech and noise environment as a test platform for our evaluations and investigate the integration of Environmental Sniffing for automatic speech recognition (ASR) in this environment. Noise sniffing experiments show that our proposed hybrid algorithm achieves a classification error rate of 25.51%, outperforming our baseline system by 7.08%. The sniffing framework is compared to a ROVER solution for automatic speech recognition (ASR) using different noise conditioned recognizers in terms of word error rate (WER) and CPU usage. Results show that the model matching scheme using the knowledge extr- acted from the audio stream by Environmental Sniffing achieves better performance than a ROVER solution both in accuracy and computation. A relative 11.1% WER improvement is achieved with a relative 75% reduction in CPU resources

Published in:

Audio, Speech, and Language Processing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 2 )