Single-channel speech separation using Soft-minimum Permutation Invariant Training.

The goal of speech separation is to extract multiple speech sources from a single microphone recording. Recently, with the advancement of deep learning and availability of large datasets, speech separation has been formulated as a supervised learning problem. These approaches aim to learn discriminative patterns of speech, speakers, and background noise using a supervised learning algorithm, typically a deep neural network. A long-lasting problem in supervised speech separation is finding the correct label for each separated speech signal, referred to as label permutation ambiguity. Permutation ambiguity refers to the problem of determining the output-label assignment between the separated sources and the available single-speaker speech labels. Finding the best output-label assignment is required for calculation of separation error, which is later used for updating parameters of the model. Recently, Permutation Invariant Training (PIT) has been shown to be a promising solution in handling the label ambiguity problem. However, the overconfident choice of the output-label assignment by PIT results in a sub-optimal trained model. In this work, we propose a probabilistic optimization framework to address the inefficiency of PIT in finding the best output-label assignment. Our proposed method entitled trainable Soft-minimum PIT is then employed on the same Long-Short Term Memory (LSTM) architecture used in Permutation Invariant Training (PIT) speech separation method. The results of our experiments show that the proposed method outperforms conventional PIT speech separation significantly (p-value $ < 0.01$) by +1dB in Signal to Distortion Ratio (SDR) and +1.5dB in Signal to Interference Ratio (SIR).
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