Using Self-Supervised Feature Extractors with Attention for Automatic COVID-19 Detection from Speech

arXiv (Cornell University)(2021)

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Abstract
The ComParE 2021 COVID-19 Speech Sub-challenge provides a test-bed for the evaluation of automatic detectors of COVID-19 from speech. Such models can be of value by providing test triaging capabilities to health authorities, working alongside traditional testing methods. Herein, we leverage the usage of pre-trained, problem agnostic, speech representations and evaluate their use for this task. We compare the obtained results against a CNN architecture trained from scratch and traditional frequency-domain representations. We also evaluate the usage of Self-Attention Pooling as an utterance-level information aggregation method. Experimental results demonstrate that models trained on features extracted from self-supervised models perform similarly or outperform fully-supervised models and models based on handcrafted features. Our best model improves the Unweighted Average Recall (UAR) from 69.0\% to 72.3\% on a development set comprised of only full-band examples and achieves 64.4\% on the test set. Furthermore, we study where the network is attending, attempting to draw some conclusions regarding its explainability. In this relatively small dataset, we find the network attends especially to vowels and aspirates.
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Key words
feature extractors,speech,attention,detection,self-supervised
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