Linear Dynamic Model for Continuous Speech Recognition
CommitteeFowler, James E.
In the past decades, statistics-based hidden Markov models (HMMs) have become the predominant approach to speech recognition. Under this framework, the speech signal is modeled as a piecewise stationary signal (typically over an interval of 10 milliseconds). Speech features are assumed to be temporally uncorrelated. While these simplifications have enabled tremendous advances in speech processing systems, for the past several years progress on the core statistical models has stagnated. Since machine performance still significantly lags human performance, especially in noisy environments, researchers have been looking beyond the traditional HMM approach. Recent theoretical and experimental studies suggest that exploiting frame-to-frame correlations in a speech signal further improves the performance of ASR systems. This is typically accomplished by developing an acoustic model which includes higher order statistics or trajectories. Linear Dynamic Models (LDMs) have generated significant interest in recent years due to their ability to model higher order statistics. LDMs use a state space-like formulation that explicitly models the evolution of hidden states using an autoregressive process. This smoothed trajectory model allows the system to better track the speech dynamics in noisy environments. In this dissertation, we develop a hybrid HMM/LDM speech recognizer that effectively integrates these two powerful technologies. This hybrid system is capable of handling large recognition tasks, is robust to noise-corrupted speech data and mitigates the ill-effects of mismatched training and evaluation conditions. This two-pass system leverages the temporal modeling and N-best list generation capabilities of the traditional HMM architecture in a first pass analysis. In the second pass, candidate sentence hypotheses are re-ranked using a phone-based LDM model. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ0) derived Aurora-4 large vocabulary corpus was chosen as the training and evaluation dataset. This corpus is a well-established LVCSR benchmark with six different noisy conditions. The implementation and evaluation of the proposed hybrid HMM/LDM speech recognizer is the major contribution of this dissertation.