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  1. Speech recognition is very challenging in student learning environments that are characterized by significant cross-talk and background noise. To address this problem, we present a bilingual speech recognition system that uses an interactive video analysis system to estimate the 3D speaker geometry for realistic audio simulations. We demonstrate the use of our system in generating a complex audio dataset that contains significant cross-talk and background noise that approximate real-life classroom recordings. We then test our proposed system with real-life recordings. In terms of the distance of the speakers from the microphone, our interactive video analysis system obtained a better average error rate of 10.83% compared to 33.12% for a baseline approach. Our proposed system gave an accuracy of 27.92% that is 1.5% better than Google Speech-to-text on the same dataset. In terms of 9 important keywords, our approach gave an average sensitivity of 38% compared to 24% for Google Speech-to-text, while both methods maintained high average specificity of 90% and 92%. On average, sensitivity improved from 24% to 38% for our proposed approach. On the other hand, specificity remained high for both methods (90% to 92%).
  2. Mirrokni, V (Ed.)
    Signal estimation problems with smoothness and sparsity priors can be naturally modeled as quadratic optimization with L0-“norm” constraints. Since such problems are non-convex and hard-to-solve, the standard approach is, instead, to tackle their convex surrogates based on L1-norm relaxations. In this paper, we propose new iterative (convex) conic quadratic relaxations that exploit not only the L0-“norm” terms, but also the fitness and smoothness functions. The iterative convexification approach substantially closes the gap between the L0-“norm” and its L1 surrogate. These stronger relaxations lead to significantly better estimators than L1-norm approaches and also allow one to utilize affine sparsity priors. In addition, the parameters of the model and the resulting estimators are easily interpretable. Experiments with a tailored Lagrangian decomposition method indicate that the proposed iterative convex relaxations yield solutions within 1% of the exact L0-approach, and can tackle instances with up to 100,000 variables under one minute.