Sequence to Sequence Training of CTC-RNNs with Partial Windowing


Kyuyeon Hwang, Wonyong Sung ;
Proceedings of The 33rd International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 48:2178-2187, 2016.


Connectionist temporal classification (CTC) based supervised sequence training of recurrent neural networks (RNNs) has shown great success in many machine learning areas including end-to-end speech and handwritten character recognition. For the CTC training, however, it is required to unroll (or unfold) the RNN by the length of an input sequence. This unrolling requires a lot of memory and hinders a small footprint implementation of online learning or adaptation. Furthermore, the length of training sequences is usually not uniform, which makes parallel training with multiple sequences inefficient on shared memory models such as graphics processing units (GPUs). In this work, we introduce an expectation-maximization (EM) based online CTC algorithm that enables unidirectional RNNs to learn sequences that are longer than the amount of unrolling. The RNNs can also be trained to process an infinitely long input sequence without pre-segmentation or external reset. Moreover, the proposed approach allows efficient parallel training on GPUs. Our approach achieves 20.7% phoneme error rate (PER) on the very long input sequence that is generated by concatenating all 192 utterances in the TIMIT core test set. In the end-to-end speech recognition task on the Wall Street Journal corpus, a network can be trained with only 64 times of unrolling with little performance loss.

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