Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: New Results

Beyond black-box supervised learning

Participants : Emmanuel Vincent, Denis Jouvet, Antoine Deleforge, Vincent Colotte, Irène Illina, Romain Serizel, Imran Sheikh, Pierre Champion, Adrien Dufraux, Ajinkya Kulkarni, Manuel Pariente, Georgios Zervakis, Zaineb Chelly Dagdia, Mehmet Ali Tugtekin Turan, Brij Mohan Lal Srivastava.

This year marked a significant increase in our research activities on domain-agnostic challenges relating to deep learning, such as the integration of domain knowledge, data efficiency, or privacy preservation. Our vision was illustrated by a keynote [18] and several talks [19], [17] on the key challenges and solutions.

Integrating domain knowledge

Integration of signal processing knowledge

State-of-the-art methods for single-channel speech enhancement or separation are based on end-to-end neural networks including learned real-valued filterbanks. We tackled two limitations of this approach. First, to ensure that the representation properly encodes phase properties as the short time Fourier transform and other conventional time-frequency transforms, we designed complex-valued analytic learned filterbanks and defined corresponding representations and masking strategies which outperformed the popular ConvTasNet algorithm [59]. Second, in order to allow generalization to mixtures of sources not seen together in training, we explored the modeling of speech spectra by variational autoencoders (VAEs), which are a variant of the probabilistic generative models classically used in source separation before the deep learning era. The VAEs are trained separately for each source and used to infer the source signals underlying a given mixture. Compared with existing iterative inference algorithms involving Gibbs sampling or gradient descent, we proposed a computationally efficient variational inference method based on an analytical derivation in which the encoder of the pre-learned VAE can be used to estimate the variational approximation of the true posterior [42], [55].

Learning from little/no labeled data

Learning from noisy labels

ASR systems are typically trained in a supervised fashion using manually labeled data. This labeling process incurs a high cost. Classical semi-supervised learning and transfer learning approaches to reduce the transcription cost achieve limited performance because the amount of knowledge that can be inferred from unlabeled data is intrinsically lower. We explored the middle ground where the training data are neither accurately labeled nor unlabeled but a not-so-expensive “noisy” transcription is available instead. We proposed a method to learn an end-to-end ASR model given a noise model and a single noisy transcription per utterance by adapting the auto segmentation criterion (ASG) loss to account for several possible transcriptions. Because the computation of this loss is intractable, we used a differentiable beam search algorithm that samples only the best alignments of the best transcriptions [32].

Transfer learning

We worked on the disentanglement of speaker, emotion and content in the acoustic domain for transferring expressivity information from one speaker to another one, particularly when only neutral speech data is available for the latter. In [36], we proposed to transfer the expressive characteristics through layer adaptation during the learning step. The obtained results highlighted that there is a difficult trade-off between speaker's identity to remove and the expressivity to transfer. We are now working on an approach relying on multiclass N-pair based deep metric learning in recurrent conditional variational autoencoder (RCVAE) for implementing a multispeaker expressive text-to-speech (TTS) system. The proposed approach conditions the text-to-speech system on speaker embeddings, and leads to a clustering with respect to emotion in a latent space. The deep metric learning helps to reduce the intra-class variance and increase the inter-class variance. We transfer the expressivity by using the latent variables for each emotion to generate expressive speech in the voice of a different speaker for which no expressive speech is available. The performance measured shows the model’s capability to transfer the expressivity while preserving the speaker’s voice in synthesized speech.

Preserving privacy

Speech signals involve a lot of private information. With a few minutes of data, the speaker identity can be modeled for malicious purposes like voice cloning, spoofing, etc. To reduce this risk, we investigated speaker anonymization strategies based on voice conversion. In contrast to prior evaluations, we argue that different types of attackers can be defined depending on the extent of their knowledge. We compared three conversion methods in three attack scenarios, and showed that these methods fail to protect against an attacker that has extensive knowledge of the type of conversion and how it has been applied, but may provide some protection against less knowledgeable attackers [64]. As an alternative, we proposed an adversarial approach to learn representations that perform well for ASR while hiding speaker identity. Our results demonstrate that adversarial training dramatically reduces the closed-set speaker classification accuracy, but this does not translate into increased open-set speaker verification error [45]. We are currently organizing the 1st Voice Privacy Challenge in which these and other approaches will be further assessed and compared.