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Neural network (NN) bottleneck (BN) features are typically created by training a NN with a middle bottleneck layer. Recently, an alternative structure was proposed which trains a NN with a constant number of hidden units to predict output targets, and then reduces the dimensionality of these output probabilities through an auto-encoder, to create auto-encoder bottleneck (AE-BN) features. The benefit of placing the BN after the posterior estimation network is that it avoids the loss in frame classification accuracy incurred by networks that place the BN before the softmax. In this work, we investigate the use of pre-training when creating AE-BN features. Our experiments indicate that with the AE-BN architecture, pre-trained and deeper NNs produce better AE-BN features. On a 50-hour English Broadcast News task, the AE-BN features provide over a 1% absolute improvement compared to a state-of-the-art GMM/HMM with a WER of 18.8% and pre-trained NN hybrid system with a WER of 18.4%. In addition, on a larger 430-hour Broadcast News task, AE-BN features provide a 0.5% absolute improvement over a strong GMM/HMM baseline with a WER of 16.0%. Finally, system combination with the GMM/HMM baseline and AE-BN systems provides an additional 0.5% absolute on 430 hours over the AE-BN system alone, yielding a final WER of 15.0%.
Date of Conference: 25-30 March 2012