Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research Aims to Improve Speech Recognition Software

13.08.2010
Anyone who has used an automated airline reservation system has experienced the promise – and the frustration – inherent in today’s automatic speech recognition technology. When it works, the computer “understands” that you want to book a flight to Austin rather than Boston, for example. Research conducted by Binghamton University’s Stephen Zahorian aims to improve the accuracy of such programs.

Zahorian, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, recently received a grant of nearly half a million dollars from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The funds will support the two-year development of a multi-language, multi-speaker audio database that will be available for spoken-language processing research. Zahorian and his team plan to gather and annotate recordings of several hundred speakers each in English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.

“The challenge,” he said, “is to get speech recognition working better in real-life situations.”

That’s why the samples in the new database will come from publicly available sources such as YouTube.

Zahorian’s team will annotate each sample, creating a more detailed version of closed captioning, including time stamps and descriptions of background sounds. Once the human listener has finished with the transcription, automatic speech recognition algorithms will be used to align the recording with the captions. Next, software will be developed to verify and correct errors in the time alignment.

“Speech-recognition algorithms begin by mimicking what your ear does,” Zahorian said. “But we want the algorithms to extract just the most useful characteristics of the speech, not all of the possible data. That’s because more detail can actually hurt performance, past a certain point.”

The field of automatic speech recognition has a long history, dating back to projects at Bell Labs before the computer age. These days, much of the technology relies on algorithms that convert sounds into numbers.

In Zahorian’s research, he represents speech as a picture in a time-frequency plane. He then uses image-processing techniques to extract features of the speech, which has led him to focus more on time than on frequency.

When researchers are ready to test an algorithm, they rely on a common set of databases held by the Linguistic Data Consortium. Zahorian’s unusual image-based approach has given his team some of the best results ever reported for automatic speech recognition experiments using two of the consortium’s best-known databases.

The database Zahorian develops with the new funding will join these others, offering researchers around the world a new way to test their theories with samples of real-life speech.

Some mistakes are inevitable, given the variations in pitch, tone and pronunciation from person to person. Still, the field does have a clear standard, Zahorian said: “In order to be useful, a system should have a word-error rate of no more than 10 percent.”

Zahorian is interested in language modeling – if someone has said these three words, what’s the fourth word likely to be? – as well as conversation modeling – that is, predicting when the speakers will switch. He’s also intrigued by the potential to make advances by using established methods from other fields, including the neural networks developed by researchers working in artificial intelligence.

He sees a future in which automatic speech recognition will enable technology to extract the meaning of speech as well as the words.

“The dream,” Zahorian said, “is that someday travelers will be able to speak into a little gadget that will translate what they’ve said into another language instantly and accurately.”

For more Binghamton University research news, visit http://discovere.binghamton.edu/

Gail Glover | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.binghamton.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht NASA CubeSat to test miniaturized weather satellite technology
10.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht New approach uses light instead of robots to assemble electronic components
08.11.2017 | The Optical Society

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>