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NAS-Bench-ASR: Reproducible Neural Architecture Search for Speech Recognition

Abhinav Mehrotra · Alberto Gil Couto Pimentel Ramos · Sourav Bhattacharya · Łukasz Dudziak · Ravichander Vipperla · Thomas C Chau · Mohamed Abdelfattah · Samin Ishtiaq · Nicholas Lane

Keywords: [ benchmark ] [ ASR ] [ NAS ]


Powered by innovations in novel architecture design, noise tolerance techniques and increasing model capacity, Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) has made giant strides in reducing word-error-rate over the past decade. ASR models are often trained with tens of thousand hours of high quality speech data to produce state-of-the-art (SOTA) results. Industry-scale ASR model training thus remains computationally heavy and time-consuming, and consequently has attracted little attention in adopting automatic techniques. On the other hand, Neural Architecture Search (NAS) has gained a lot of interest in the recent years thanks to its successes in discovering efficient architectures, often outperforming handcrafted alternatives. However, by changing the standard training process into a bi-level optimisation problem, NAS approaches often require significantly more time and computational power compared to single-model training, and at the same time increase complexity of the overall process. As a result, NAS has been predominately applied to problems which do not require as extensive training as ASR, and even then reproducibility of NAS algorithms is often problematic. Lately, a number of benchmark datasets has been introduced to address reproducibility issues by pro- viding NAS researchers with information about performance of different models obtained through exhaustive evaluation. However, these datasets focus mainly on computer vision and NLP tasks and thus suffer from limited coverage of application domains. In order to increase diversity in the existing NAS benchmarks, and at the same time provide systematic study of the effects of architectural choices for ASR, we release NAS-Bench-ASR – the first NAS benchmark for ASR models. The dataset consists of 8, 242 unique models trained on the TIMIT audio dataset for three different target epochs, and each starting from three different initializations. The dataset also includes runtime measurements of all the models on a diverse set of hardware platforms. Lastly, we show that identified good cell structures in our search space for TIMIT transfer well to a much larger LibriSpeech dataset.

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