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PhD Defense - Yuan Gong

Start: 7/9/2020 at 9:00AM
End: 7/9/2020 at 1:00PM
Location: Remote via Zoom
Attendees: Remote attendance:
Meeting ID: 991 9747 7159 . Those that will be joining remotely need to mute their microphones until the Q&A session begins. Please disconnect when the public portion ends.
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Yuan Gong

Dissertation Defense

July 9, 2020        9:00 am        Remote via Zoom

Adviser:  Dr. Christian Poellabauer

Committee Members:

 Dr. Adam Czajka      Dr. Meng Jiang      Dr. Taeho Jung


"Healthcare Applications and Security Concerns of Speech Processing Systems" 


Conventionally, most research on speech processing focuses on automatic speech recognition (ASR), i.e., transcribing speech to text. However, natural speech does not only contain text content information, but also much other information such as emotion and even the speaker's health status. That means we can extract more information from speech besides text content and use them for novel applications. Specifically, we can develop speech processing systems for healthcare applications such as building convenient and low-cost diagnose, screening, or monitoring solutions. In the first part of this thesis, I investigate how to build speech processing systems for healthcare applications. Specifically, I explore the use of speech systems for monitoring and early diagnosis the autism spectrum disorders, emotional and behavioral disorders, and major depressive disorder.

On the other hand, with the fast-growing number of users and usage scenarios, the security problem of speech processing systems (e.g., Amazon Alexa) becomes a new concern. Recent work has found speech processing systems are vulnerable to multiple types of attacks. However, it is still unclear how dangerous these attacks are in realistic settings. Therefore, in the second part of the thesis, I first systematically explore the vulnerabilities of speech processing systems. Then, I conduct a focused study on adversarial attacks to deep neural network-based models since deep neural networks are becoming the mainstream technique in a variety of speech applications such as speech recognition and speaker identification. Finally, I investigate the effective defense strategies protecting speech processing systems against malicious attacks in realistic settings.

Overall, this thesis aims to address two orthogonal problems about speech processing, and the goal of the research is to broaden the applications and proves the robustness of machine learning-based speech processing systems.