Continual Learning for End-to-End ASR by Averaging Domain Experts

Continual learning for end-to-end automatic speech recognition has to contend with a number of difficulties. Fine-tuning strategies tend to lose performance on data already seen, a process known as catastrophic forgetting. On the other hand, strategies that freeze parameters and append tunable parameters must maintain multiple models. We suggest a strategy that maintains only a single model for inference and avoids catastrophic forgetting. Our experiments show that a simple linear interpolation of several models' parameters, each fine-tuned from the same generalist model, results in a single model that performs well on all tested data. For our experiments we selected two open-source end-to-end speech recognition models pre-trained on large datasets and fine-tuned them on 3 separate datasets: SGPISpeech, CORAAL, and DiPCo. The proposed average of domain experts model performs well on all tested data, and has almost no loss in performance on data from the domain of original training.

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