Principal Investigator(s): 
Nelson Morgan

Researchers are developing ways to find spoken phrases in audio from multiple languages. A working group, called SWORDFISH, includes scientists from ICSI, the University of Washington, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, and Columbia University. The acronym expands to a rough description of the effort: Spoken WOrdsearch  with Rapid Development and Frugal Invariant Subword Hierarchies. The “Rapid Development” aspect makes this project unique for research in speech recognition and related tasks, as the goal is not so much to reduce the error rate, but rather to reduce the time required to build a system for a new language (given a limit on allowable errors). The word “Frugal” is apropos for work on a new language, particularly one that has not been significantly studied before (in the machine learning context). In this case massive resources are often unavailable as they are for languages such as English. Consequently, one must be frugal in building detailed models of speech in such languages, using only those representations that are particularly appropriate. One such parsimonious representation would be a hierarchy of phrases, words, and subwords that are maximally invariant over a number of similar languages, so that available resources can be best used.

Funding provided by IARPA.