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Revisiting Deep Audio-Text Retrieval Through the Lens of Transportation

Tien Manh Luong · Khai Nguyen · Nhat Ho · Reza Haffari · Dinh Phung · Lizhen Qu

Halle B #123
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Thu 9 May 1:45 a.m. PDT — 3:45 a.m. PDT


The Learning-to-match (LTM) framework proves to be an effective inverse optimal transport approach for learning the underlying ground metric between two sources of data, facilitating subsequent matching. However, the conventional LTM framework faces scalability challenges, necessitating the use of the entire dataset each time the parameters of the ground metric are updated. In adapting LTM to the deep learning context, we introduce the mini-batch Learning-to-match (m-LTM) framework for audio-text retrieval problems. This framework leverages mini-batch subsampling and Mahalanobis-enhanced family of ground metrics. Moreover, to cope with misaligned training data in practice, we propose a variant using partial optimal transport to mitigate the harm of misaligned data pairs in training data. We conduct extensive experiments on audio-text matching problems using three datasets: AudioCaps, Clotho, and ESC-50. Results demonstrate that our proposed method is capable of learning rich and expressive joint embedding space, which achieves SOTA performance. Beyond this, the proposed m-LTM framework is able to close the modality gap across audio and text embedding, which surpasses both triplet and contrastive loss in the zero-shot sound event detection task on the ESC-50 dataset. Notably, our strategy of employing partial optimal transport with m-LTM demonstrates greater noise tolerance than contrastive loss, especially under varying noise ratios in training data on the AudioCaps dataset. Our code is available at

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