UWEE Tech Report Series

Graceful Degradation of Speech Recognition Performance over Lossy Packet Networks


Costas Boulis, Mari Ostendorf, Eve A. Riskin, and Scott Otterson

Speech recogntion, packet loss, bit allocation, unequal loss protection


This paper explores packet loss recovery for automatic speech recognition (ASR) in spoken dialog systems, assuming an architecture in which a lightweight client communicates with a remote ASR server. Speech is transmitted with source and channel codes optimized for the ASR application, i.e. to minimize word error rate. Unequal amounts of forward error correction, depending on the data's effect on ASR performance, are assigned to protect against packet loss. Experiments with simulated packet loss in a range of loss conditions are conducted on the DARPA Communicator (air travel information) task. Results show that the approach provides robust ASR performance which degrades gracefully as packet loss rates increase. Transmitting at 5.2Kbps with up to 200ms added delay, leads to only a 2\% relative degradation in word error rate even under extremely adverse network conditions.

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