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Attention-based end-to-end (E2E) automatic speech recognition (ASR) architectures are now the state-of-the-art in terms of recognition performance. However, despite their effectiveness, they have not been widely applied in keyword search (KWS) tasks yet. In this paper, we propose the Att-E2E-KWS architecture, an attention-based E2E ASR framework for KWS that can afford accurate and reliable keyword retrieval results. First, we design a basic framework to carry out KWS based on attention-based E2E ASR. We adopt the connectionist temporal classification and attention (CTC/Att) joint E2E ASR architecture and exploit the spike posterior property of CTC to provide the keywords time stamps. Second, we introduce the frame-synchronous phonemes modeling and use the dynamic programming (DP) algorithm to provide alignments between E2E grapheme outputs and phoneme outputs. We call this alignment procedure dynamic time alignment (DTA), which can provide the proposed Att-E2E-KWS system with more accurate time stamps and reliable confidence scores. Third, we use the Transformer, a self-attention-based encoder-decoder neural network, in place of conventional recurrent neural networks in order to yield more parallelizable models and increased training speed. We conduct comprehensive experiments on English and Mandarin Chinese. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first practical Att-E2E-KWS framework, and experimental results on Switchboard and HKUST corpora show that our proposed Att-E2E-KWS systems significantly outperform the CTC E2E ASR based KWS baselines.
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