Metric based segmentation is probably the most used technique up to date. It relies on the computation of a distance between two acoustic segments to determine whether they belong to the same speaker or to different speakers, and therefore whether there exists a speaker change point in the audio at the point being analyzed. The two acoustic segments are usually next to each other (in overlap or not) and the change-point considered is between them. Most of the distances used for acoustic change detection can also be applied to speaker clustering in order to compare the suitability that two speaker clusters belong to the same speaker.

Let us consider two audio segments (,) of parameterized acoustic vectors and of lengths and respectively, and with mean and standard deviation values and . Each one of these segments is modeled using Gaussian processes and , which can be a single Gaussian or a Gaussian Mixture Model (GMM). On the other hand, let's consider the agglomerate of both segments into , with mean and variance and the corresponding Gaussian process .

In general, there are two different kinds of distances that can be defined between any pair of such audio segments. The first kind compares the sufficient statistics from the two acoustic sets of data without considering any particular model applied to the data, which from now on will be called statistics-based distances. These are normally very quick to compute and give good performances if and are big enough to robustly compute the data statistics and the data being modeled can be well described using a single Gaussian.

A second group of distances are based on the evaluation of the likelihood of the data according to models representing it. These distances are slower to compute (as models need to be trained and evaluated) but can achieve better results than the statistics-based one as bigger models can be used to fit more complex data. These will be referred as likelihood-based techniques. The following are the metrics that have been found of interest used in the literature for either case:

- Bayesian Information Criterion (BIC): The BIC is
probably the most extensively used segmentation and clustering
metric due to its simplicity and effectiveness. It is a likelihood
criterion penalized by the model complexity (number of free
parameters in the model) introduced by Schwarz (1971) and
Schwarz (1978) as a model selection criterion. For a
given acoustic segment , the BIC value of a model
applied to it indicates how well the model fits the data, and is
determined by:

is the log-likelihood of the data given the considered model, is a free design parameter dependent on the data being modeled, estimated using development data; is the number of frames in the considered segment and the number of free parameters to estimate in model . Such expression is an approximation of the Bayes Factor (BF) (Kass and Raftery (1995), Chickering and Heckerman (1997)) where the acoustic models are trained via ML methods and is considered big.

In order to use BIC to evaluate whether a change point occurs between both segments it evaluates the hypothesis that better models the data versus the hypothesis that does instead, like in the GLR (Generalized Likelihood Ratio), by computing:

where P is the penalty term, which is a function of the number of free parameters in the model. For a full covariance matrix it is

The term can be written for the case of models composed on a single Gaussian as:

For cases where GMM models with multiple Gaussian mixtures are used, eq. 2.2 is written as

where is the difference between the number of free parameters in the combined model versus the two individual models. For a mathematical proof on the equality of equations 2.3 and 2.4 please refer to the appendix section.

Although is the difference between two criteria in order to determine which model suits better the data, it is usual in the speaker diarization literature to refer to the difference as BIC criterion. For the task of speaker segmentation, the technique was first used by Chen and Gopalakrishnan (Shaobing Chen and Gopalakrishnan (1998), Chen and Gopalakrishnan (1998), Chen et al. (2002)) where a single full covariance Gaussian was used for each of the models, as in eq. 2.3.

Although not existent in the original formulation, the parameter was introduced by (Shaobing Chen and Gopalakrishnan, 1998) to adjust the penalty term effect on the comparison, which constitutes a hidden threshold to the BIC difference. Such a threshold needs to be tuned to the data and therefore its correct setting has been subject of constant study. Several people propose ways to automatically selecting , (Tritschler and Gopinath (1999), Delacourt and Wellekens (2000), Delacourt et al. (1999a), Mori and Nakagawa (2001), Lopez and Ellis (2000a), Vandecatseye et al. (2004)). In Ajmera et al. (2003) a GMM is used for each of the models (, and ) and by building the model with the sum of models and complexities, it cancels out the penalty term avoiding the need to set any value. The result is equivalent to the GLR metric where the models have the complexity constraint imposed to them.

In the formulation of BIC by Schwarz (1978) the number of acoustic vectors available to train the model were supposed to be infinite for the approximation to converge. In real applications this becomes a problem when there is a big mismatch between the length of the two adjacent windows or clusters being compared. Some people have successfully applied slight modification to the original formula, either to the penalty term (Perez-Freire and Garcia-Mateo, 2004) or to the overall value (Vandecatseye and Martens, 2003) to reduce this effect.

Several implementations using BIC as a segmentation metric have been proposed. Initially Shaobing Chen and Gopalakrishnan (1998) proposed a multiple changing point detection algorithm in two passes, and later Tritschler and Gopinath (1999), Sivakumaran et al. (2001), sian Cheng and min Wang (2003), Lu and Zhang (2002a), Cettolo and Vescovi (2003) and Vescovi et al. (2003) followed with one or two-pass algorithms. They all propose a system using a growing window with inner variable length analysis segments to iteratively find the changing points. Tritschler and Gopinath (1999) propose some ways to make the algorithm faster and to focus on detecting very short speaker changes. In Sivakumaran et al. (2001), Cettolo and Vescovi (2003) and Vescovi et al. (2003) speedups are proposed in ways of computing the mean and variances of the models. In Roch and Cheng (2004) a MAP-adapted version of the models is presented, which allows for shorter speaker change points to be found. By using MAP, this work opposes to the way the models are described to be trained in the original formula (which defines an ML criterion).

Even with the efforts to speed up the processing of BIC, it is computationally more intensive than other statistics-based metrics when used to analyze the signal with high resolution, but its good performance has kept it as the algorithm of choice in many applications. This is why some people have proposed BIC as the second pass (refinement) of a 2-pass speaker segmentation system. As described earlier, an important step in this direction is taken with DISTBIC (Delacourt and Wellekens (2000), Delacourt et al. (1999a), Delacourt et al. (1999b)) where the GLR is used as a first pass. Also in this direction are Zhou and Hansen (2000), Kim et al. (2005) and Tranter and Reynolds (2004), proposing to use Hotelling's distance, and Lu and Zhang (2002a) using KL2 (Kullback-Leibler) distance. In Vandecatseye et al. (2004), a normalized GLR (called NLLR) is used as a first pass and a normalized BIC is used in the refinement step.

Some research has been done to combine alternative sources of information to help the BIC in finding the optimum change point. This is the case in Perez-Freire and Garcia-Mateo (2004) where image shot boundaries are used.

In sian Cheng and min Wang (2004) a two-pass algorithm using BIC in both passes is proposed. This is peculiar in that instead of producing a first step with high false alarm errors (FA) and a second step that merges some of the change-points, the first step tries to minimize the FA and the second step finds the rest of unseen speaker changes.

- Generalized Likelihood Ratio (GLR): The GLR (first
proposed for change detection by Willsky and Jones (1976) and
Appel and Brandt (1982)) is a likelihood-based metric that
proposes a ratio between two hypotheses: on one hand,
considers that both segments are uttered by the same speaker,
therefore
represents better the data. On the other hand,
considers that each segment has been uttered by a
different speaker, therefore
and
together suit better the data. The
ratio test is computed as a likelihood ratio between the two
hypotheses as

and determining the distance as which, upon using an appropriate threshold one can decide whether both segments belong to the same speaker or otherwise. The GLR differs from a similar metric called the standard likelihood ratio test (LLR) in that the p.d.f.s for the GLR are unknown and must be estimated directly from the data within each considered segment, whereas in the LLR the models are considered to be known a priori. In speaker segmentation, the GLR is usually used with two adjacent segments of the same size which are scrolled through the signal, and the threshold is either pre-fixed or it dynamically adapts.

In Bonastre et al. (2000) the GLR is used to segment the signal into speaker turns in a single step processing for speaker tracking. The threshold is set so that miss errors are minimized (at the cost of higher false alarms), as each segment is then independently considered as a potential speaker in the tracking algorithm.

In Gangadharaiah et al. (2004) a two-speaker segmentation is performed in two steps. In the first step, GLR is used to over-segment the data. In a second step, ``seed'' segments are selected for both speakers and the rest are assigned to either speaker with a Viterbi decoding / ML approach without modifying the defined change-points.

On the same two-speaker detection task, in Adami, Kajarekar and Hermansky (2002) the first second of speech is considered to be from the first speaker and the second speaker is found determining the change-points via GLR. A second step assigns segments of speech to either speaker by comparing the GLR score of each of the two speakers computed across the recording and selecting the regions where either one is higher.

On the task of change detection for transcription and indexing in Liu and Kubala (1999) a penalized GLR is used as a second step, to accept/reject change-points previously found using a pre-trained phone-based decoder (where the ASR phone-set has been reduced into phone clusters). The penalty applied to the GLR is proportional to the amount of training data available in the two segments as

(2.6)

where is determined empirically. On the same note, Metze et al. (2004) use the GLR for a segmentation step in a transcription system for meetings.

Probably the most representative algorithm of the use of GLR for speaker segmentation is DISTBIC (Delacourt and Wellekens (1999), Delacourt et al. (1999a), Delacourt et al. (1999b), Delacourt and Wellekens (2000)) where GLR is proposed as the first step of a two-step segmentation process (using BIC as the second metric). Instead of using the GLR distance by itself, a low pass filtering is applied to it in order to reduce ripples in the computed distance function (which would generate false maxima/minima points) and then the difference between each local maxima and adjacent minima is used to assert the change-points.

- Gish distance: It is a likelihood-based metric
obtained as a variation to the GLR presented in
Gish et al. (1991) and Gish and Schmidt (1994). To derive it,
the GLR function is split into two parts (
and
) and the background dependent part is ignored,
leading to the equation
(2.7)

where and represent the sample covariance matrices for each segment, and is their sample weighted average .

In Kemp et al. (2000) the Gish distance is compared to other techniques for speaker segmentation.

- Kullback-Leibler divergence (KL or KL2): The KL and
KL2 divergences (Siegler et al. (1997), Hung et al. (2000))
are well used due to their fast computation and acceptable results.
Given two random distributions , , the K-L divergence is
defined as
(2.8)

Where is the expected value with respect to the PDF of X. When the two distributions are taken to be Gaussian, one can obtain a closed form solution to such expression (Campbell, 1997) as

(2.9)

For GMM models there is no closed form solution and the KL divergence needs to be computed using sample theory or one needs to use approximations as shown below. The KL2 divergence can be obtained by symmetrizing the KL in the following way:

(2.10)

As previously, if both distributions X and Y are considered to be Gaussian one can obtain a closed form solution for the KL2 distance as a function of their covariance matrices and means.

Given any two acoustic segments and can be considered as X and Y and therefore obtain the distance between them using these metrics.

In Delacourt and Wellekens (2000), the KL2 distance is considered as a first of two steps for speaker change detection. In Zochova and Radova (2005) KL2 is used again in an improved version of the previous algorithm.

In Hung et al. (2000) the MFCC acoustic vectors are initially processed via a PCA dimensionality reduction for each of the contiguous scrolling segments (either two independent PCA or one applied to both segments) and then Mahalanobis, KL and Bhattacharyya distances are used to determine if there is a change point.

- Divergence Shape Distance(DSD): In a very similar
fashion as how the Gish distance is defined in
Gish et al. (1991), the DSD is derived from the KL divergence of
two classes with n-variate normal p.d.f.s by eliminating the part
affected by the mean, as it is easily biased by environment
conditions. Therefore, it corresponds to the expression
(2.11)

In Kim et al. (2005) it is used in a single-step algorithm and its results are compared to BIC.

The DSD is also used in Lu and Zhang (2002a) as a first step of a two step segmentation system, using BIC in the refinement step. In Lu and Zhang (2002b) some speed-ups are proposed to make the previous system real-time.

The same authors present in Wu et al. (2003b), Wu et al. (2003a) and Wu et al. (2003c) an improvement to the algorithm using DSD and a Universal Background Model (UBM) trained from only the data in the processed data. Evaluation of the likelihood of the data according to the UBM is used to categorize the features in each analysis segment and only the good quality speech frames from each one are compared to each other. They use an adaptive threshold (adapted from previous values) to determine change points.

Such work is inspired by Beigi and Maes (1998) where each segment is clustered into one of three classes via k-means and a global distance is computed by combining the distances between classes. There is no word in this work regarding to which particular distance is used between the classes.

- Cross-BIC (XBIC): This distance was introduced by
the author in Anguera and Hernando (2004b) and
Anguera (2005), which derives a distance between two
adjacent segments by cross-likelihood evaluation, inspired by the
BIC distance by comparison to a distance between HMMs presented in
Juang and Rabiner (1985):
(2.12)

In Malegaonkar et al. (2006) they propose a similar metric and study different likelihood normalization techniques to make the metric more robust, achieving better results than BIC for speaker segmentation.

- Other distances: There are many other distances that
are able to define a distance between two sets of acoustic
features or two models. Some of them have been applied to the
speaker segmentation task.
In Omar et al. (2005) the CuSum distance (Basseville and Nikiforov, 1993), the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test (Deshayes and Picard, 1986) and BIC are first used independently to find putative change points and then fused at likelihood level to assert those changes.

In (Hung et al., 2000) the Malalanobis and Bhattacharyya distances (Campbell, 1997) are used in comparison to the KL distance for change detection.

In Kemp et al. (2000) the entropy loss (Lee, 1998) of coding the data in two segments instead of only one is proposed in comparison to the Gish and KL distances.

Mori and Nakagawa (2001) apply VQ (Vector quantization) techniques to create a codebook from one of two adjacent segments and applies a VQ distortion measure (Nakagawa and Suzuki, 1993) to compare its similarity with the other segment. Results are compared to GLR and BIC techniques.

In Zhou and Hansen (2000) and Tranter and Reynolds (2004) Hotelling's distance is proposed, being a multivariate analog of the t-distribution. It is applied for the first step of a two-step segmentation algorithm. It finds the distance between two segments, modeling each one with a single Gaussian where both covariance matrices are set to be the same.

All of these metric-based techniques compute a function whose maxima/minima need to be compared with a threshold in order to determine the suitability of every change point. In many cases the threshold is defined empirically given a development set, according to a desired performance. Such proceeding leads to a threshold which is normally dependent on the data being processed and that needs to be redefined every time data of a different nature needs to be processed. This problem has been studied within the speaker identification community in order to classify speakers in an open set speaker identification task (see for example Campbell (1997)). In the area of speaker segmentation and clustering some publications propose automatic ways to define appropriate thresholds, for example:

- In Lu et al. (2002), Lu and Zhang (2002b) and
Lu and Zhang (2002a) an adaptive threshold is made dependent on the
previous as
(2.13)

where is an amplification coefficient (usually set close to 1).

The same adaptive threshold is used in Wu et al. (2003b), Wu et al. (2003a) and Wu et al. (2003c) to evaluate the difference between the local maxima and the neighboring minima distance points.

- In Rougui et al. (2006) a dynamic threshold is defined
in comparing speaker clusters (rather than speaker segments) where
a population of clusters is used to decide on the threshold value.
It is defined as
(2.14)

where denotes the histogram and is the distance between two models, which in that work is defined as a modified KL distance to compare two GMM models.

user 2008-12-08