deep speech: scaling up end-to-end speech recognition

Awni Hannun, Carl Case, Jared Casper, Bryan Catanzaro, Greg Diamos, Erich Elsen, Ryan Prenger, Sanjeev Satheesh, Shubho Sengupta, Adam Coates, Andrew Ng

We present a state-of-the-art speech recognition system developed using end-to-end deep learning. Our architecture is significantly simpler than traditional speech systems, which rely on laboriously engineered processing pipelines; these traditional systems also tend to perform poorly when used in noisy environments. In contrast, our system does not need hand-designed components to model background noise, reverberation, or speaker variation, but instead directly learns a function that is robust to such effects. We do not need a phoneme dictionary, nor even the concept of a "phoneme." Key to our approach is a well-optimized RNN training system that uses multiple GPUs, as well as a set of novel data synthesis techniques that allow us to efficiently obtain a large amount of varied data for training. Our system, called Deep Speech, outperforms previously published results on the widely studied Switchboard Hub5'00, achieving 16.0% error on the full test set. Deep Speech also handles challenging noisy environments better than widely used, state-of-the-art commercial speech systems.

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