One Giant Leap for Mankind

Published on 21 July 2019

Exactly 50 years ago, the first human being set foot on the moon. The NASA Apollo program relied on a massive team of dedicated scientists, engineers, and specialists working seamlessly together in a cohesive manner to accomplish probably one of humankind’s greatest technological achievements in history.

The 2019 FEARLESS STEPS (FS-1) Challenge is an initial step to motivate a streamlined and collaborative effort from the speech and language community towards addressing massive naturalistic audio, the first of its kind. The Fearless Steps Corpus is a collection of 19,000 hours of multi-channel recordings of spontaneous speech from over 450 speakers under multiple noise conditions. A majority of the Apollo Missions original analog data is unlabeled and has thus far motivated the development of both unsupervised and semi-supervised strategies. This edition of the challenge encourages the development of core speech and language systems for data with limited ground-truth/low resource availability and is intended to serve as the “First Step” towards extracting high-level information from such massive unlabeled corpora. In conjunction with the Challenge, 11,000 hours of synchronized 30-channel Apollo-11 audio data has also been released to the public by CRSS-UTDallas.

At INTERSPEECH 2019, you will have the unique opportunity to sample some of the results of this challenge and commemorate the extraordinary human achievement of the first moon landing.

Look out for the following papers:

  • Two-Dimensional Convolutional Recurrent Neural Networks for Speech Activity Detection by Eleftherios Fanioudakis, Anastasios Vafeiadis, Ilyas Potamitis, Konstantinos Votis, Dimitrios Giakoumis, Dimitrios Tzovaras, Liming Chen and Raouf Hamzaoui
  • The 2019 Inaugural Fearless Steps Challenge: A Giant Leap for Naturalistic Audio by John H.L. Hansen, Aditya Joglekar, Meena Chandra Shekar, Vinay Kothapally, Lakshmish Kaushik and Chengzhu Yu
  • Multi-level Adaptive Speech Activity Detector for Speech in Naturalistic Environments by Bidisha Sharma, Rohan Kumar Das and Haizhou Li