BSc(COSC) Student Yijia CHEN Received First Runner-Up for the 2021 Mr. Armin and Mrs. Lillian Kitchell Undergraduate Research Award
Year 3 BSc(COSC) student Yijia CHEN received First Runner-Up for the 2021 Mr. Armin and Mrs. Lillian Kitchell Undergraduate Research Award. His award-winning project “A real-time wavelet-based algorithm for improving speech intelligibility” was supervised by Prof. Kevin CHAU.
Speech intelligibility refers to the comprehensibility of speech, and is comprised of the speaker, the listener, and the listening environment. Considerable research has been conducted to understand and improve speech intelligibility in a noisy environment and for people with hearing loss. However, most current methods are computationally intensive and hard to implement in real-time. Yijia with the UROP team proposed a novel speech intelligibility improvement algorithm leveraging Discrete Wavelet Transform to emphasize the speech audio parts that contain more intelligibility hints including consonants and transients. The improvement results of both English and Chinese speech audio examples under various background interferences and hearing loss situations are examined objectively and quantitatively using Google's speech-to-text transcription AI, and up to 80 percentage points of intelligibility improvements are presented in the research findings.
This work was presented at the 179th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) held virtually on 7-11 December 2020. A paper with full technical details was published in the Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics (POMA) by the ASA.
Yijia Chen, Tianqu Kang, Jiakun Zheng, Yuxuan Wan, Keegan Yi Hang Sim, Eugene Chau, and Kevin Chau, "A real-time wavelet-based algorithm for improving speech intelligibility," Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, vol. 42, 060009 (2020).
The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) is a HKUST signature program designed to provide undergraduate students with an exciting opportunity to engage in academic research, thereby helping them to develop insightful perspectives on their areas of interest and advance the frontiers of knowledge. All students who have successfully completed any one of the UROP courses ( UROP 1000 / 1100 / 2100 / 3100 / 4100 ) are eligible to be nominated for the Mr. Armin and Mrs. Lillian Kitchell Undergraduate Research Award.