In speech recognition, humans are known to integrate audio-visual information in order to understand speech. This was first exemplified in the McGurk effect (McGurk & MacDonald, 1976) where a visual /ga/ with a voiced /ba/ is perceived as /da/ by most subjects.

1. Introduction

In speech recognition, humans are known to integrate audio-visual information in order to understand speech. This was first exemplified in the McGurk effect (McGurk & MacDonald, 1976) where a visual /ga/ with a voiced /ba/ is perceived as /da/ by most subjects. In particular, the visual modality provides infomation on the place of articulation and muscle movements (Summerfield, 1992) which can often help to disambiguate between speech with similar acoustics (e.g., the unvoiced consonants /p/ and /k/ ). Multimodal learning involves relating information from multiple sources. For example, images and 3-d depth scans are correlated at first-order as depth discontinuities often manifest as strong edges in images. Conversely, audio and visual data for speech recognition have correlations at a “mid-level”, as phonemes and visemes (lip pose and motions); it can be difficult to relate raw pixels to audio waveforms or spectrograms. In this paper, we are interested in modeling “midlevel” relationships, thus we choose to use audio-visual speech classification to validate our methods. In particular, we focus on learning representations for speech audio which are coupled with videos of the lips. We will consider the learning settings shown in Figure 1. The overall task can be divided into three phases – feature learning, supervised training, and testing. A simple linear classifier is used for supervised training and testing to examine different feature learning models with multimodal data. In particular, we consider three learning settings – multimodal fusion, cross modality learning, and shared representation learning. In the multimodal fusion setting, data from all modalities is available at all phases; this represents the typical setting considered in most prior work in audiovisual speech recognition (Potamianos et al., 2004). In cross modality learning, data from multiple modalities is available only during feature learning; during the supervised training and testing phase, only data from a single modality is provided. For this setting, the aim is to learn better single modality representations given unlabeled data from multiple modalities . Last, we consider a shared representation learning setting, which is unique in that different modalities are presented for supervised training and testing. This setting allows us to evaluate if the feature representations can capture correlations across different modalities. Specifically, studying this setting allows us to assess whether the learned representations are modality-invariant. In the following sections, we first describe the building blocks of our model. We then present different multimodal learning models leading to a deep network that is able to perform the various multimodal learning tasks. Finally, we report experimental results and conclude.

2. Background

Recent work on deep learning (Hinton & Salakhutdinov, 2006; Salakhutdinov & Hinton, 2009) has examined how deep sigmoidal networks can be trained to produce useful representations for handwritten digits and text. The key idea is to use greedy layer-wise training with Restricted Boltzmann Machines (RBMs) followed by fine-tuning. We use an extension of RBMs with sparsity (Lee et al., 2007), which have been shown to learn meaningful features for digits and natural images. In the next section, we review the sparse RBM, which is used as a layer-wise building block for our models.

3. Learning architectures

In this section, we describe our models for the task of audio-visual bimodal feature learning, where the audio and visual input to the model are contiguous audio (spectrogram) and video frames. To motivate our deep autoencoder (Hinton & Salakhutdinov, 2006) model, we first describe several simple models and their drawbacks. One of the most straightforward approaches to feature learning is to train a RBM model separately for audio and video (Figure 2a,b). After learning the RBM, the posteriors of the hidden variables given the visible variables (Equation 2) can then be used as a new representation for the data. We use this model as a baseline to compare the results of our multimodal models, as well as for pre-training the deep networks. To train a multimodal model, a direct approach is to train a RBM over the concatenated audio and video data (Figure 2c). While this approach jointly models the distribution of the audio and video data, it is limited as a shallow model. In particular, since the correlations between the audio and video data are highly non-linear, it is hard for a RBM to learn these correlations and form multimodal representations. In practice, we found that learning a shallow bimodal RBM results in hidden units that have strong connections to variables from individual modality but few units that connect across the modalities.

Deep Autoencoder Models. A “video-only” model is shown in (a) where the model learns to reconstruct both modalities given only video as the input. A similar model can be drawn for the “audio-only” setting. We train the (b) bimodal deep autoencoder in a denoising fashion, using an augmented dataset with examples that require the network to reconstruct both modalities given only one. Both models are pre-trained using sparse RBMs (Figure 2d). Since we use a sigmoid transfer function in the deep network, we can initialize the network using the conditional probability distributions p(h|v) and p(v|h) of the learned RBM.

Therefore, we consider greedily training a RBM over the pre-trained layers for each modality, as motivated by deep learning methods (Figure 2d).2 In particular, the posteriors (Equation 2) of the first layer hidden variables are used as the training data for the new layer. By representing the data through learned first layer representations, it can be easier for the model to learn higher-order correlations across modalities. Informally, the first layer representations correspond to phonemes and visemes and the second layer models the relationships between them. Figure 4 shows visualizations of learned features from our models including examples of visual bases corresponding to visemes. However, there are still two issues with the above multimodal models. First, there is no explicit objective for the models to discover correlations across the modalities it is possible for the model to find representations such that some hidden units are tuned only for audio while others are tuned only for video. Second, the models are clumsy to use in a cross modality learning setting where only one modality is present during supervised training and testing. With only a single modality present, one would need to integrate out the unobserved visible variables to perform inference. Thus, we propose a deep autoencoder that resolves both issues. We first consider the cross modality learning setting where both modalities are present during feature learning but only a single modality is used for supervised training and testing. The deep autoencoder (Figure 3a) is trained to reconstruct both modalities when given only video data and thus discovers correlations across the modalities. Analogous to Hinton & Salakhutdinov (2006), we initialize the deep autoencoder with the bimodal DBN weights (Figure 2d) based on Equation 2, discarding any weights that are no longer present.

4. Experiments and Results

We evaluate our methods on audio-visual speech classification of isolated letters and digits. The sparseness parameter ρ was chosen using cross-validation, while all other parameters (including hidden layer size and weight regularization) were kept fixed.3

4.1. Data Preprocessing

We represent the audio signal using its spectrogram4 with temporal derivatives, resulting in a 483 dimension vector which was reduced to 100 dimensions with PCA whitening. 10 contiguous audio frames were used as the input to our models. For the video, we preprocessed the frames so as to extract only the region-of-interest (ROI) encompassing the mouth.5 Each mouth ROI was rescaled to 60 × 80 pixels and further reduced to 32 dimensions,6 using PCA whitening. Temporal derivatives over the reduced vector were also used. We used 4 contiguous video frames for input since this had approximately the same duration as 10 audio frames.

For both modalities, we also performed feature mean normalization over time (Potamianos et al., 2004), akin to removing the DC component from each example. We also note that adding temporal derivatives to the representations has been widely used in the literature as it helps to model dynamic speech information (Potamianos et al., 2004; Zhao & Barnard, 2009). The temporal derivatives were computed using a normalized linear slope so that the dynamic range of the derivative features is comparable to the original signal.

4.2. Datasets and Task

Since only unlabeled data was required for unsupervised feature learning, we combined diverse datasets (as listed below) to learn features. AVLetters and CUAVE were further used for supervised classification. We ensured that no test data was used for unsupervised feature learning. All deep autoencoder models were trained with all available unlabeled audio and video data.


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