NOTSOFAR-1 Challenge: New Datasets, Baseline, and Tasks for Distant Meeting Transcription

We introduce the first Natural Office Talkers in Settings of Far-field Audio Recordings (``NOTSOFAR-1'') Challenge alongside datasets and baseline system. The challenge focuses on distant speaker diarization and automatic speech recognition (DASR) in far-field meeting scenarios, with single-channel and known-geometry multi-channel tracks, and serves as a launch platform for two new datasets: First, a benchmarking dataset of 315 meetings, averaging 6 minutes each, capturing a broad spectrum of real-world acoustic conditions and conversational dynamics. It is recorded across 30 conference rooms, featuring 4-8 attendees and a total of 35 unique speakers. Second, a 1000-hour simulated training dataset, synthesized with enhanced authenticity for real-world generalization, incorporating 15,000 real acoustic transfer functions. The tasks focus on single-device DASR, where multi-channel devices always share the same known geometry. This is aligned with common setups in actual conference rooms, and avoids technical complexities associated with multi-device tasks. It also allows for the development of geometry-specific solutions. The NOTSOFAR-1 Challenge aims to advance research in the field of distant conversational speech recognition, providing key resources to unlock the potential of data-driven methods, which we believe are currently constrained by the absence of comprehensive high-quality training and benchmarking datasets.

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