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Workshop: Deep Generative Models for Highly Structured Data

Benchmarking Generative Latent Variable Models for Speech

Jakob Havtorn · Lasse Borgholt · Søren Hauberg · Jes Frellsen · Lars Maaløe


Stochastic latent variable models (LVMs) achieve state-of-the-art performance on natural image generation but are still inferior to deterministic models on speech. In this paper, we develop a speech benchmark of popular temporal LVMs and compare them against state-of-the-art deterministic models. We report the likelihood, which is a much used metric in the image domain, but rarely, or incomparably, reported for speech models. To assess the quality of the learned representations, we also compare their usefulness for phoneme recognition. Finally, we adapt the Clockwork VAE, a state-of-the-art temporal LVM for video generation, to the speech domain. Despite being autoregressive only in latent space, we find that the Clockwork VAE can outperform previous LVMs and reduce the gap to deterministic models by using a hierarchy of latent variables.

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