Master Thesis on Echo State Networks

Georg Holzmann
Master Thesis

Institute for Theoretical Computer Science, TU Graz, Austria


Echo State Networks with Filter Neurons and a Delay&Sum Readout with Applications in Audio Signal Processing

Echo state networks (ESNs) are a novel approach to recurrent neural network training with the advantage of a very simple and linear learning algorithm. They can in theory approximate arbitrary nonlinear dynamical system with arbitrary precision (universal approximation property), have an inherent temporal processing capability, and are therefore a very powerful enhancement of linear blackbox modeling techniques in nonlinear domain. It was demonstrated on a number of benchmark tasks, that echo state networks outperform other methods for nonlinear dynamical modeling.

This thesis suggests two enhancements of the original network model. First, the previously proposed idea of filters in neurons is extended to arbitrary infinite impulse response (IIR) filter neurons and the ability of such networks to learn multiple attractors is demonstrated. Second, a delay&sum readout is introduced, which adds trainable delays in the synaptic connections of output neurons and therefore vastly improves the memory capacity of echo state networks. It is shown in benchmark tasks that this new structure is able to outperform standard ESNs and other models, moreover no other comparable method for sparse nonlinear system identification with long-term dependencies could be found in literature.

Finally real-world applications in the context of audio signal processing are presented and compared to state-of-the-art alternative methods. The first example is a nonlinear system identification task of a tube amplifier and afterwards ESNs are trained for nonlinear audio prediction, as necessary in audio restoration or in the wireless transmission of audio where dropouts may occur. Furthermore an efficient and open source C++ library for echo state networks was developed and is briefly presented.

The audio examples can be downloaded below.