School of Computer Science; Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213-3890
This thesis examines how artificial neural networks can benefit a large vocabulary, speaker independent, continuous speech recognition system. Currently, most speech recognition systems are based on hidden Markov models (HMMs), a statistical framework that supports both acoustic and temporal modeling. Despite their state-of-the-art performance, HMMs make a number of suboptimal modeling assumptions that limit their potential effectiveness. Neural networks avoid many of these assumptions, while they can also learn complex functions, generalize effectively, tolerate noise, and support parallelism. While neural networks can readily be applied to acoustic modeling, it is not yet clear how they can be used for temporal modeling. Therefore, we explore a class of systems called NN-HMM hybrids, in which neural networks perform acoustic modeling, and HMMs perform temporal modeling. We argue that a NN-HMM hybrid has several theoretical advantages over a pure HMM system, including better acoustic ...