Impact of acoustic event tagging on scene classification in a multi-task learning framework
Acoustic events are sounds with well-defined spectro-temporal characteristics which can be associated with the physical objects generating them. Acoustic scenes are collections of such acoustic events in no specific temporal order. Given this natural linkage between events and scenes, a common belief is that the ability to classify events must help in the classification of scenes. This has led to several efforts attempting to do well on Acoustic Event Tagging (AET) and Acoustic Scene Classification (ASC) using a multi-task network. However, in these efforts, improvement in one task does not guarantee an improvement in the other, suggesting a tension between ASC and AET. It is unclear if improvements in AET translates to improvements in ASC. We explore this conundrum through an extensive empirical study and show that under certain conditions, using AET as an auxiliary task in the multi-task network consistently improves ASC performance. Additionally, ASC performance further improves with the AET data-set size and is not sensitive to the choice of events or the number of events in the AET data-set. We conclude that this improvement in ASC performance comes from the regularization effect of using AET and not from the network’s improved ability to discern between acoustic events.