In this paper, we introduce the Variational Autoencoder (VAE) to an end-to-end speech synthesis model, to learn the latent representation of speaking styles in an unsupervised manner. The style representation learned through VAE shows good properties such as disentangling, scaling, and combination, which makes it easy for style control. Style transfer can be achieved in this framework by first inferring style representation through the recognition network of VAE, then feeding it into TTS network to guide the style in synthesizing speech. To avoid Kullback-Leibler (KL) divergence collapse in training, several techniques are adopted. Finally, the proposed model shows good performance of style control and outperforms Global Style Token (GST) model in ABX preference tests on style transfer.

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In English, prosody adds a broad range of information to segment sequences, from information structure (e.g. contrast) to stylistic variation (e.g. expression of emotion). However, when learning to control prosody in text-to-speech voices, it is not clear what exactly the control is modifying. Existing research on discrete representation learning for prosody has demonstrated high naturalness, but no analysis has been performed on what these representations capture, or if they can generate meaningfully-distinct variants of an utterance. We present a phrase-level variational autoencoder with a multi-modal prior, using the mode centres as "intonation codes". Our evaluation establishes which intonation codes are perceptually distinct, finding that the intonation codes from our multi-modal latent model were significantly more distinct than a baseline using k-means clustering. We carry out a follow-up qualitative study to determine what information the codes are carrying. Most commonly, listeners commented on the intonation codes having a statement or question style. However, many other affect-related styles were also reported, including: emotional, uncertain, surprised, sarcastic, passive aggressive, and upset.

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This paper presents SimCLR: a simple framework for contrastive learning of visual representations. We simplify recently proposed contrastive self-supervised learning algorithms without requiring specialized architectures or a memory bank. In order to understand what enables the contrastive prediction tasks to learn useful representations, we systematically study the major components of our framework. We show that (1) composition of data augmentations plays a critical role in defining effective predictive tasks, (2) introducing a learnable nonlinear transformation between the representation and the contrastive loss substantially improves the quality of the learned representations, and (3) contrastive learning benefits from larger batch sizes and more training steps compared to supervised learning. By combining these findings, we are able to considerably outperform previous methods for self-supervised and semi-supervised learning on ImageNet. A linear classifier trained on self-supervised representations learned by SimCLR achieves 76.5% top-1 accuracy, which is a 7% relative improvement over previous state-of-the-art, matching the performance of a supervised ResNet-50. When fine-tuned on only 1% of the labels, we achieve 85.8% top-5 accuracy, outperforming AlexNet with 100X fewer labels.

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Continual learning aims to improve the ability of modern learning systems to deal with non-stationary distributions, typically by attempting to learn a series of tasks sequentially. Prior art in the field has largely considered supervised or reinforcement learning tasks, and often assumes full knowledge of task labels and boundaries. In this work, we propose an approach (CURL) to tackle a more general problem that we will refer to as unsupervised continual learning. The focus is on learning representations without any knowledge about task identity, and we explore scenarios when there are abrupt changes between tasks, smooth transitions from one task to another, or even when the data is shuffled. The proposed approach performs task inference directly within the model, is able to dynamically expand to capture new concepts over its lifetime, and incorporates additional rehearsal-based techniques to deal with catastrophic forgetting. We demonstrate the efficacy of CURL in an unsupervised learning setting with MNIST and Omniglot, where the lack of labels ensures no information is leaked about the task. Further, we demonstrate strong performance compared to prior art in an i.i.d setting, or when adapting the technique to supervised tasks such as incremental class learning.

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User behavior data in recommender systems are driven by the complex interactions of many latent factors behind the users' decision making processes. The factors are highly entangled, and may range from high-level ones that govern user intentions, to low-level ones that characterize a user's preference when executing an intention. Learning representations that uncover and disentangle these latent factors can bring enhanced robustness, interpretability, and controllability. However, learning such disentangled representations from user behavior is challenging, and remains largely neglected by the existing literature. In this paper, we present the MACRo-mIcro Disentangled Variational Auto-Encoder (MacridVAE) for learning disentangled representations from user behavior. Our approach achieves macro disentanglement by inferring the high-level concepts associated with user intentions (e.g., to buy a shirt or a cellphone), while capturing the preference of a user regarding the different concepts separately. A micro-disentanglement regularizer, stemming from an information-theoretic interpretation of VAEs, then forces each dimension of the representations to independently reflect an isolated low-level factor (e.g., the size or the color of a shirt). Empirical results show that our approach can achieve substantial improvement over the state-of-the-art baselines. We further demonstrate that the learned representations are interpretable and controllable, which can potentially lead to a new paradigm for recommendation where users are given fine-grained control over targeted aspects of the recommendation lists.

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The field of Text-to-Speech has experienced huge improvements last years benefiting from deep learning techniques. Producing realistic speech becomes possible now. As a consequence, the research on the control of the expressiveness, allowing to generate speech in different styles or manners, has attracted increasing attention lately. Systems able to control style have been developed and show impressive results. However the control parameters often consist of latent variables and remain complex to interpret. In this paper, we analyze and compare different latent spaces and obtain an interpretation of their influence on expressive speech. This will enable the possibility to build controllable speech synthesis systems with an understandable behaviour.

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Although end-to-end neural text-to-speech (TTS) methods (such as Tacotron2) are proposed and achieve state-of-the-art performance, they still suffer from two problems: 1) low efficiency during training and inference; 2) hard to model long dependency using current recurrent neural networks (RNNs). Inspired by the success of Transformer network in neural machine translation (NMT), in this paper, we introduce and adapt the multi-head attention mechanism to replace the RNN structures and also the original attention mechanism in Tacotron2. With the help of multi-head self-attention, the hidden states in the encoder and decoder are constructed in parallel, which improves the training efficiency. Meanwhile, any two inputs at different times are connected directly by self-attention mechanism, which solves the long range dependency problem effectively. Using phoneme sequences as input, our Transformer TTS network generates mel spectrograms, followed by a WaveNet vocoder to output the final audio results. Experiments are conducted to test the efficiency and performance of our new network. For the efficiency, our Transformer TTS network can speed up the training about 4.25 times faster compared with Tacotron2. For the performance, rigorous human tests show that our proposed model achieves state-of-the-art performance (outperforms Tacotron2 with a gap of 0.048) and is very close to human quality (4.39 vs 4.44 in MOS).

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While supervised learning has enabled great progress in many applications, unsupervised learning has not seen such widespread adoption, and remains an important and challenging endeavor for artificial intelligence. In this work, we propose a universal unsupervised learning approach to extract useful representations from high-dimensional data, which we call Contrastive Predictive Coding. The key insight of our model is to learn such representations by predicting the future in latent space by using powerful autoregressive models. We use a probabilistic contrastive loss which induces the latent space to capture information that is maximally useful to predict future samples. It also makes the model tractable by using negative sampling. While most prior work has focused on evaluating representations for a particular modality, we demonstrate that our approach is able to learn useful representations achieving strong performance on four distinct domains: speech, images, text and reinforcement learning in 3D environments.

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Neural waveform models such as the WaveNet are used in many recent text-to-speech systems, but the original WaveNet is quite slow in waveform generation because of its autoregressive (AR) structure. Although faster non-AR models were recently reported, they may be prohibitively complicated due to the use of a distilling training method and the blend of other disparate training criteria. This study proposes a non-AR neural source-filter waveform model that can be directly trained using spectrum-based training criteria and the stochastic gradient descent method. Given the input acoustic features, the proposed model first uses a source module to generate a sine-based excitation signal and then uses a filter module to transform the excitation signal into the output speech waveform. Our experiments demonstrated that the proposed model generated waveforms at least 100 times faster than the AR WaveNet and the quality of its synthetic speech is close to that of speech generated by the AR WaveNet. Ablation test results showed that both the sine-wave excitation signal and the spectrum-based training criteria were essential to the performance of the proposed model.

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Modern deep transfer learning approaches have mainly focused on learning generic feature vectors from one task that are transferable to other tasks, such as word embeddings in language and pretrained convolutional features in vision. However, these approaches usually transfer unary features and largely ignore more structured graphical representations. This work explores the possibility of learning generic latent relational graphs that capture dependencies between pairs of data units (e.g., words or pixels) from large-scale unlabeled data and transferring the graphs to downstream tasks. Our proposed transfer learning framework improves performance on various tasks including question answering, natural language inference, sentiment analysis, and image classification. We also show that the learned graphs are generic enough to be transferred to different embeddings on which the graphs have not been trained (including GloVe embeddings, ELMo embeddings, and task-specific RNN hidden unit), or embedding-free units such as image pixels.

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This paper proposes the decision tree latent controller generative adversarial network (DTLC-GAN), an extension of a GAN that can learn hierarchically interpretable representations without relying on detailed supervision. To impose a hierarchical inclusion structure on latent variables, we incorporate a new architecture called the DTLC into the generator input. The DTLC has a multiple-layer tree structure in which the ON or OFF of the child node codes is controlled by the parent node codes. By using this architecture hierarchically, we can obtain the latent space in which the lower layer codes are selectively used depending on the higher layer ones. To make the latent codes capture salient semantic features of images in a hierarchically disentangled manner in the DTLC, we also propose a hierarchical conditional mutual information regularization and optimize it with a newly defined curriculum learning method that we propose as well. This makes it possible to discover hierarchically interpretable representations in a layer-by-layer manner on the basis of information gain by only using a single DTLC-GAN model. We evaluated the DTLC-GAN on various datasets, i.e., MNIST, CIFAR-10, Tiny ImageNet, 3D Faces, and CelebA, and confirmed that the DTLC-GAN can learn hierarchically interpretable representations with either unsupervised or weakly supervised settings. Furthermore, we applied the DTLC-GAN to image-retrieval tasks and showed its effectiveness in representation learning.

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