Improving End-to-End Models For Speech Recognition

Posted by Tara N. Sainath, Research Scientist, Speech Team and Yonghui Wu, Research Scientist, Google Brain TeamTraditional automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems, used for a variety of voice search applications at Google, are comprised of an acoustic model (AM), a pronunciation model (PM) and a language model (LM), all of which are independently trained, and often manually designed, on different datasets [1]. AMs take acoustic features and predict a set of subword units, typically context-dependent or context-independent phonemes. Next, a hand-designed lexicon (the PM) maps a sequence of phonemes produced by the acoustic model to words. Finally, the LM assigns probabilities to word sequences. Training independent components creates added complexities and is suboptimal compared to training all components jointly. Over the last several years, there has been a growing popularity in developing end-to-end systems, which attempt to learn these separate…
Original Post: Improving End-to-End Models For Speech Recognition

A Summary of the First Conference on Robot Learning

Posted by Vincent Vanhoucke, Principal Scientist, Google Brain Team and Melanie Saldaña, Program Manager, University RelationsWhether in the form of autonomous vehicles, home assistants or disaster rescue units, robotic systems of the future will need to be able to operate safely and effectively in human-centric environments. In contrast to to their industrial counterparts, they will require a very high level of perceptual awareness of the world around them, and to adapt to continuous changes in both their goals and their environment. Machine learning is a natural answer to both the problems of perception and generalization to unseen environments, and with the recent rapid progress in computer vision and learning capabilities, applying these new technologies to the field of robotics is becoming a very central research question.This past November, Google helped kickstart and host the First Conference on Robot Learning (CoRL)…
Original Post: A Summary of the First Conference on Robot Learning

Introducing a New Foveation Pipeline for Virtual/Mixed Reality

Posted by Behnam Bastani, Software Engineer Manager and Eric Turner, Software Engineer, DaydreamVirtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) offer a novel way to immerse people into new and compelling experiences, from gaming to professional training. However, current VR/MR technologies present a fundamental challenge: to present images at the extremely high resolution required for immersion places enormous demands on the rendering engine and transmission process. Headsets often have insufficient display resolution, which can limit the field of view, worsening the experience. But, to drive a higher resolution headset, the traditional rendering pipeline requires significant processing power that even high-end mobile processors cannot achieve. As research continues to deliver promising new techniques to increase display resolution, the challenges of driving those displays will continue to grow.In order to further improve the visual experience in VR and MR, we introduce a pipeline…
Original Post: Introducing a New Foveation Pipeline for Virtual/Mixed Reality

Google at NIPS 2017

Posted by Christian Howard, Editor-in-Chief, Research CommunicationsThis week, Long Beach, California hosts the 31st annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS 2017), a machine learning and computational neuroscience conference that includes invited talks, demonstrations and presentations of some of the latest in machine learning research. Google will have a strong presence at NIPS 2017, with over 450 Googlers attending to contribute to, and learn from, the broader academic research community via technical talks and posters, workshops, competitions and tutorials.Google is at the forefront of machine learning, actively exploring virtually all aspects of the field from classical algorithms to deep learning and more. Focusing on both theory and application, much of our work on language understanding, speech, translation, visual processing, and prediction relies on state-of-the-art techniques that push the boundaries of what is possible. In all of those tasks and…
Original Post: Google at NIPS 2017

Understanding Bias in Peer Review

Posted by Andrew Tomkins, Director of Engineering and William D. Heavlin, Statistician, Google ResearchIn the 1600’s, a series of practices came into being known collectively as the “scientific method.” These practices encoded verifiable experimentation as a path to establishing scientific fact. Scientific literature arose as a mechanism to validate and disseminate findings, and standards of scientific peer review developed as a means to control the quality of entrants into this literature. Over the course of development of peer review, one key structural question remains unresolved to the current day: should the reviewers of a piece of scientific work be made aware of the identify of the authors? Those in favor argue that such additional knowledge may allow the reviewer to set the work in perspective and evaluate it more completely. Those opposed argue instead that the reviewer may form an…
Original Post: Understanding Bias in Peer Review

Understanding Bias in Peer Review

Posted by Andrew Tomkins, Director of Engineering and William D. Heavlin, Statistician, Google ResearchIn the 1600’s, a series of practices came into being known collectively as the “scientific method.” These practices encoded verifiable experimentation as a path to establishing scientific fact. Scientific literature arose as a mechanism to validate and disseminate findings, and standards of scientific peer review developed as a means to control the quality of entrants into this literature. Over the course of development of peer review, one key structural question remains unresolved to the current day: should the reviewers of a piece of scientific work be made aware of the identify of the authors? Those in favor argue that such additional knowledge may allow the reviewer to set the work in perspective and evaluate it more completely. Those opposed argue instead that the reviewer may form an…
Original Post: Understanding Bias in Peer Review