Improving Speech Recognition by Revising Gated Recurrent Units

Mirco Ravanelli, Philemon Brakel, Maurizio Omologo, Yoshua Bengio


Speech recognition is largely taking advantage of deep learning, showing that substantial benefits can be obtained by modern Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs). The most popular RNNs are Long Short-Term Memory (LSTMs), which typically reach state-of-the-art performance in many tasks thanks to their ability to learn long-term dependencies and robustness to vanishing gradients. Nevertheless, LSTMs have a rather complex design with three multiplicative gates, that might impair their efficient implementation. An attempt to simplify LSTMs has recently led to Gated Recurrent Units (GRUs), which are based on just two multiplicative gates.

This paper builds on these efforts by further revising GRUs and proposing a simplified architecture potentially more suitable for speech recognition. The contribution of this work is two-fold. First, we suggest to remove the reset gate in the GRU design, resulting in a more efficient single-gate architecture. Second, we propose to replace tanh with ReLU activations in the state update equations. Results show that, in our implementation, the revised architecture reduces the per-epoch training time with more than 30% and consistently improves recognition performance across different tasks, input features, and noisy conditions when compared to a standard GRU.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-775

Cite as: Ravanelli, M., Brakel, P., Omologo, M., Bengio, Y. (2017) Improving Speech Recognition by Revising Gated Recurrent Units. Proc. Interspeech 2017, 1308-1312, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-775.


@inproceedings{Ravanelli2017,
  author={Mirco Ravanelli and Philemon Brakel and Maurizio Omologo and Yoshua Bengio},
  title={Improving Speech Recognition by Revising Gated Recurrent Units},
  year=2017,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2017},
  pages={1308--1312},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2017-775},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2017-775}
}