Gordon Wichern

Gordon Wichern
  • Biography

    Gordon's research interests are at the intersection of signal processing and machine learning applied to speech, music, and environmental sounds. Prior to joining MERL, Gordon worked at iZotope inc. developing audio signal processing software, and at MIT Lincoln Laboratory where he worked in radar target tracking.

  • Recent News & Events


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  • Awards

    •  AWARD   Best Poster Award and Best Video Award at the International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference (ISMIR) 2020
      Date: October 15, 2020
      Awarded to: Ethan Manilow, Gordon Wichern, Jonathan Le Roux
      MERL Contacts: Jonathan Le Roux; Gordon Wichern
      Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Speech & Audio
      Brief
      • Former MERL intern Ethan Manilow and MERL researchers Gordon Wichern and Jonathan Le Roux won Best Poster Award and Best Video Award at the 2020 International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference (ISMIR 2020) for the paper "Hierarchical Musical Source Separation". The conference was held October 11-14 in a virtual format. The Best Poster Awards and Best Video Awards were awarded by popular vote among the conference attendees.

        The paper proposes a new method for isolating individual sounds in an audio mixture that accounts for the hierarchical relationship between sound sources. Many sounds we are interested in analyzing are hierarchical in nature, e.g., during a music performance, a hi-hat note is one of many such hi-hat notes, which is one of several parts of a drumkit, itself one of many instruments in a band, which might be playing in a bar with other sounds occurring. Inspired by this, the paper re-frames the audio source separation problem as hierarchical, combining similar sounds together at certain levels while separating them at other levels, and shows on a musical instrument separation task that a hierarchical approach outperforms non-hierarchical models while also requiring less training data. The paper, poster, and video can be seen on the paper page on the ISMIR website.
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  • Research Highlights

  • Internships with Gordon

    • SA1464: Joint localization and classification of sound events

      We are seeking a graduate student interested in helping advance the field of multi-channel sound localization and classification using acoustic sensor networks in challenging multi-source and far-field scenarios. The intern will collaborate with MERL researchers to derive and implement new models and optimization methods, conduct experiments, and prepare results for publication. The ideal candidate would be a senior Ph.D. student with experience in audio signal processing, beamforming/array processing, probabilistic modeling, and deep learning. The internship will be performed remotely, and candidates both from within the US and outside of the US are welcome to apply. The expected duration of the (virtual) internship is 3-6 months with a start date between Fall 2020 and early 2021.

    • SA1469: Audio source separation and sound event detection

      We are seeking multiple graduate students interested in helping advance the fields of source separation, speech enhancement, and sound event detection/localization in challenging multi-source and far-field scenarios. The intern will collaborate with MERL researchers to derive and implement new models and optimization methods, conduct experiments, and prepare results for publication. The ideal candidate would be a senior Ph.D. student with experience in audio signal processing, microphone array processing, probabilistic modeling, and deep learning techniques requiring minimal supervision (e.g., unsupervised, weakly-supervised, self-supervised, or few shot learning). The expected duration of the internship is 3-6 months and start date is flexible.

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  • MERL Publications

    •  Moritz, N., Wichern, G., Hori, T., Le Roux, J., "All-in-One Transformer: Unifying Speech Recognition, Audio Tagging, and Event Detection", Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (Interspeech), October 2020.
      BibTeX TR2020-138 PDF
      • @inproceedings{Moritz2020oct,
      • author = {Moritz, Niko and Wichern, Gordon and Hori, Takaaki and Le Roux, Jonathan},
      • title = {All-in-One Transformer: Unifying Speech Recognition, Audio Tagging, and Event Detection},
      • booktitle = {Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (Interspeech)},
      • year = 2020,
      • month = oct,
      • url = {https://www.merl.com/publications/TR2020-138}
      • }
    •  Manilow, E., Wichern, G., Le Roux, J., "Hierarchical Musical Instrument Separation", International Society for Music Information Retrieval (ISMIR) Conference, October 2020.
      BibTeX TR2020-136 PDF
      • @inproceedings{Manilow2020oct,
      • author = {Manilow, Ethan and Wichern, Gordon and Le Roux, Jonathan},
      • title = {Hierarchical Musical Instrument Separation},
      • booktitle = {International Society for Music Information Retrieval (ISMIR) Conference},
      • year = 2020,
      • month = oct,
      • url = {https://www.merl.com/publications/TR2020-136}
      • }
    •  Seetharaman, P., Wichern, G., Pardo, B., Le Roux, J., "Autoclip: Adaptive Gradient Clipping For Source Separation Networks", IEEE International Workshop on Machine Learning for Signal Processing (MLSP), September 2020.
      BibTeX TR2020-132 PDF
      • @inproceedings{Seetharaman2020sep,
      • author = {Seetharaman, Prem and Wichern, Gordon and Pardo, Bryan and Le Roux, Jonathan},
      • title = {Autoclip: Adaptive Gradient Clipping For Source Separation Networks},
      • booktitle = {IEEE International Workshop on Machine Learning for Signal Processing (MLSP)},
      • year = 2020,
      • month = sep,
      • url = {https://www.merl.com/publications/TR2020-132}
      • }
    •  Pishdadian, F., Wichern, G., Le Roux, J., "Finding Strength in Weakness: Learning to Separate Sounds with Weak Supervision", IEEE/ACM Transactions on Audio, Speech, and Language Processing, September 2020.
      BibTeX TR2020-126 PDF
      • @article{Pishdadian2020sep,
      • author = {Pishdadian, Fatemeh and Wichern, Gordon and Le Roux, Jonathan},
      • title = {Finding Strength in Weakness: Learning to Separate Sounds with Weak Supervision},
      • journal = {IEEE/ACM Transactions on Audio, Speech, and Language Processing},
      • year = 2020,
      • month = sep,
      • url = {https://www.merl.com/publications/TR2020-126}
      • }
    •  Seetharaman, P., Wichern, G., Le Roux, J., Pardo, B., "Bootstrapping Unsupervised Deep Music Separation from Primitive Auditory Grouping Principles", ICML 2020 Workshop on Self-supervision in Audio and Speech, July 2020.
      BibTeX TR2020-111 PDF
      • @inproceedings{Seetharaman2020jul,
      • author = {Seetharaman, Prem and Wichern, Gordon and Le Roux, Jonathan and Pardo, Bryan},
      • title = {Bootstrapping Unsupervised Deep Music Separation from Primitive Auditory Grouping Principles},
      • booktitle = {ICML 2020 Workshop on Self-supervision in Audio and Speech},
      • year = 2020,
      • month = jul,
      • url = {https://www.merl.com/publications/TR2020-111}
      • }
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  • Other Publications

    •  G. Wichern and A. Lukin, "Low-Latency approximation of bidirectional recurrent networks for speech denoising", 2017 IEEE Workshop on Applications of Signal Processing to Audio and Acoustics (WASPAA), Oct 2017, pp. 66-70.
      BibTeX
      • @Inproceedings{8169996,
      • author = {Wichern, G. and Lukin, A.},
      • title = {Low-Latency approximation of bidirectional recurrent networks for speech denoising},
      • booktitle = {2017 IEEE Workshop on Applications of Signal Processing to Audio and Acoustics (WASPAA)},
      • year = 2017,
      • pages = {66--70},
      • month = {Oct}
      • }
    •  G. Wichern, H. Robertson and A. Wishnick, "Quantitative Analysis of Masking in Multitrack Mixes Using Loudness Loss", Sep 2016, Audio Engineering Society Convention 141.
      BibTeX External
      • @Conference{wichern2016quantitative,
      • author = {Wichern, G. and Robertson, H. and Wishnick, A.},
      • title = {Quantitative Analysis of Masking in Multitrack Mixes Using Loudness Loss},
      • booktitle = {Audio Engineering Society Convention 141},
      • year = 2016,
      • month = {Sep},
      • url = {http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=18450}
      • }
    •  G. Wichern, A. Wishnick, A. Lukin and H. Robertson, "Comparison of Loudness Features for Automatic Level Adjustment in Mixing", Oct 2015, Audio Engineering Society Convention 139.
      BibTeX External
      • @Conference{wichern2015comparison,
      • author = {Wichern, G. and Wishnick, A. and Lukin, A. and Robertson, H.},
      • title = {Comparison of Loudness Features for Automatic Level Adjustment in Mixing},
      • booktitle = {Audio Engineering Society Convention 139},
      • year = 2015,
      • month = {Oct},
      • url = {http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=17928}
      • }
    •  M. Yamada, G. Wichern, K. Kondo, M. Sugiyama and H. Sawada, "Noise adaptive optimization of matrix initialization for frequency-domain independent component analysis", Digital Signal Processing, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 1-8, 2013.
      BibTeX
      • @Article{yamada2013noise,
      • author = {Yamada, M. and Wichern, G. and Kondo, K. and Sugiyama, M. and Sawada, H.},
      • title = {Noise adaptive optimization of matrix initialization for frequency-domain independent component analysis},
      • journal = {Digital Signal Processing},
      • year = 2013,
      • volume = 23,
      • number = 1,
      • pages = {1--8},
      • publisher = {Academic Press}
      • }
    •  M. Yamada, M. Sugiyama, G. Wichern and J. Simm, "Improving the accuracy of least-squares probabilistic classifiers", IEICE transactions on information and systems, Vol. 94, No. 6, pp. 1337-1340, 2011.
      BibTeX
      • @Article{yamada2011improving,
      • author = {Yamada, M. and Sugiyama, M. and Wichern, G. and Simm, J.},
      • title = {Improving the accuracy of least-squares probabilistic classifiers},
      • journal = {IEICE transactions on information and systems},
      • year = 2011,
      • volume = 94,
      • number = 6,
      • pages = {1337--1340},
      • publisher = {The Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers}
      • }
    •  G. Wichern, J. Xue, H. Thornburg, B. Mechtley and A. Spanias, "Segmentation, Indexing, and Retrieval for Environmental and Natural Sounds", IEEE Transactions on Audio, Speech, and Language Processing, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 688-707, March 2010.
      BibTeX
      • @Article{5410056,
      • author = {Wichern, G. and Xue, J. and Thornburg, H. and Mechtley, B. and Spanias, A.},
      • title = {Segmentation, Indexing, and Retrieval for Environmental and Natural Sounds},
      • journal = {IEEE Transactions on Audio, Speech, and Language Processing},
      • year = 2010,
      • volume = 18,
      • number = 3,
      • pages = {688--707},
      • month = mar
      • }
    •  M. Yamada, M. Sugiyama and G. Wichern, "Direct importance estimation with probabilistic principal component analyzers", 2010 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing, March 2010, pp. 1962-1965.
      BibTeX
      • @Inproceedings{5495290,
      • author = {Yamada, M. and Sugiyama, M. and Wichern, G.},
      • title = {Direct importance estimation with probabilistic principal component analyzers},
      • booktitle = {2010 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing},
      • year = 2010,
      • pages = {1962--1965},
      • month = mar
      • }
    •  M. Yamada, M. Sugiyama, G. Wichern and T. Matsui, "Acceleration of sequence kernel computation for real-time speaker identification", 2010 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing, March 2010, pp. 1626-1629.
      BibTeX
      • @Inproceedings{5495542,
      • author = {Yamada, M. and Sugiyama, M. and Wichern, G. and Matsui, T.},
      • title = {Acceleration of sequence kernel computation for real-time speaker identification},
      • booktitle = {2010 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing},
      • year = 2010,
      • pages = {1626--1629},
      • month = mar
      • }
    •  G. Wichern, M. Yamada, H. Thornburg, M. Sugiyama and A. Spanias, "Automatic audio tagging using covariate shift adaptation", 2010 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing, March 2010, pp. 253-256.
      BibTeX
      • @Inproceedings{5495973,
      • author = {Wichern, G. and Yamada, M. and Thornburg, H. and Sugiyama, M. and Spanias, A.},
      • title = {Automatic audio tagging using covariate shift adaptation},
      • booktitle = {2010 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing},
      • year = 2010,
      • pages = {253--256},
      • month = mar
      • }
    •  B. Mechtley, G. Wichern, H. Thornburg and A. Spanias, "Combining semantic, social, and acoustic similarity for retrieval of environmental sounds", 2010 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing, March 2010, pp. 2402-2405.
      BibTeX
      • @Inproceedings{5496225,
      • author = {Mechtley, B. and Wichern, G. and Thornburg, H. and Spanias, A.},
      • title = {Combining semantic, social, and acoustic similarity for retrieval of environmental sounds},
      • booktitle = {2010 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing},
      • year = 2010,
      • pages = {2402--2405},
      • month = mar
      • }
    •  M. Shah, G. Wichern, A. Spanias and H. Thornburg, "Audio content-based feature extraction algorithms using J-DSP for arts, media and engineering courses", 2010 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), Oct 2010, pp. T1F-1-T1F-6.
      BibTeX
      • @Inproceedings{5673157,
      • author = {Shah, M. and Wichern, G. and Spanias, A. and Thornburg, H.},
      • title = {Audio content-based feature extraction algorithms using J-DSP for arts, media and engineering courses},
      • booktitle = {2010 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE)},
      • year = 2010,
      • pages = {T1F--1--T1F--6},
      • month = {Oct}
      • }
    •  A. Fink, B. Mechtley, G. Wichern, J. Liu, H. Thornburg, A. Spanias and G. Coleman, "Re-Sonification of Geographic Sound Activity using Acoustic, Semantic and Social Information", Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Auditory Display (ICAD2010), 2010.
      BibTeX
      • @Inproceedings{fink2010re,
      • author = {Fink, A. and Mechtley, B. and Wichern, G. and Liu, J. and Thornburg, H. and Spanias, A. and Coleman, G.},
      • title = {Re-Sonification of Geographic Sound Activity using Acoustic, Semantic and Social Information},
      • booktitle = {Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Auditory Display (ICAD2010)},
      • year = 2010,
      • organization = {Georgia Institute of Technology}
      • }
    •  G. Wichern, B. Mechtley, A. Fink, H. Thornburg and A. Spanias, "An ontological framework for retrieving environmental sounds using semantics and acoustic content", EURASIP Journal on Audio, Speech, and Music Processing, Vol. 2010, No. 1, pp. 192363, 2010.
      BibTeX
      • @Article{wichern2010ontological,
      • author = {Wichern, G. and Mechtley, B. and Fink, A. and Thornburg, H. and Spanias, A.},
      • title = {An ontological framework for retrieving environmental sounds using semantics and acoustic content},
      • journal = {EURASIP Journal on Audio, Speech, and Music Processing},
      • year = 2010,
      • volume = 2010,
      • number = 1,
      • pages = 192363,
      • publisher = {Springer International Publishing}
      • }
    •  M. Yamada, M. Sugiyama, G. Wichern and J. Simm, "Direct importance estimation with a mixture of probabilistic principal component analyzers", IEICE Transactions on Information and Systems, Vol. 93, No. 10, pp. 2846-2849, 2010.
      BibTeX
      • @Article{yamada2010direct,
      • author = {Yamada, M. and Sugiyama, M. and Wichern, G. and Simm, J.},
      • title = {Direct importance estimation with a mixture of probabilistic principal component analyzers},
      • journal = {IEICE Transactions on Information and Systems},
      • year = 2010,
      • volume = 93,
      • number = 10,
      • pages = {2846--2849},
      • publisher = {The Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers}
      • }
    •  G. Wichern, H. Thornburg and A. Spanias, "Multi-channel audio segmentation for continuous observation and archival of large spaces", 2009 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing, April 2009, pp. 237-240.
      BibTeX
      • @Inproceedings{4959564,
      • author = {Wichern, G. and Thornburg, H. and Spanias, A.},
      • title = {Multi-channel audio segmentation for continuous observation and archival of large spaces},
      • booktitle = {2009 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing},
      • year = 2009,
      • pages = {237--240},
      • month = apr
      • }
    •  G. Wichern, H. Kwon, A. Spanias, A. Fink and H. Thornburg, "Continuous observation and archival of acoustic scenes using wireless sensor networks", 2009 16th International Conference on Digital Signal Processing, July 2009, pp. 1-6.
      BibTeX
      • @Inproceedings{5201082,
      • author = {Wichern, G. and Kwon, H. and Spanias, A. and Fink, A. and Thornburg, H.},
      • title = {Continuous observation and archival of acoustic scenes using wireless sensor networks},
      • booktitle = {2009 16th International Conference on Digital Signal Processing},
      • year = 2009,
      • pages = {1--6},
      • month = jul
      • }
    •  G. Wichern, H. Thornburg and A. Spanias, "Unifying semantic and content-based approaches for retrieval of environmental sounds", 2009 IEEE Workshop on Applications of Signal Processing to Audio and Acoustics, Oct 2009, pp. 13-16.
      BibTeX
      • @Inproceedings{5346493,
      • author = {Wichern, G. and Thornburg, H. and Spanias, A.},
      • title = {Unifying semantic and content-based approaches for retrieval of environmental sounds},
      • booktitle = {2009 IEEE Workshop on Applications of Signal Processing to Audio and Acoustics},
      • year = 2009,
      • pages = {13--16},
      • month = {Oct}
      • }
    •  J. Xue, G. Wichern, H. Thornburg and A. Spanias, "Fast query by example of environmental sounds via robust and efficient cluster-based indexing", 2008 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing, March 2008, pp. 5-8.
      BibTeX
      • @Inproceedings{4517532,
      • author = {Xue, J. and Wichern, G. and Thornburg, H. and Spanias, A.},
      • title = {Fast query by example of environmental sounds via robust and efficient cluster-based indexing},
      • booktitle = {2008 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing},
      • year = 2008,
      • pages = {5--8},
      • month = mar
      • }
    •  G. Wichern, H. Thornburg, B. Mechtley, A. Fink, K. Tu and A. Spanias, "Robust Multi-Features Segmentation and Indexing for Natural Sound Environments", 2007 International Workshop on Content-Based Multimedia Indexing, June 2007, pp. 69-76.
      BibTeX
      • @Inproceedings{4275057,
      • author = {Wichern, G. and Thornburg, H. and Mechtley, B. and Fink, A. and Tu, K. and Spanias, A.},
      • title = {Robust Multi-Features Segmentation and Indexing for Natural Sound Environments},
      • booktitle = {2007 International Workshop on Content-Based Multimedia Indexing},
      • year = 2007,
      • pages = {69--76},
      • month = jun
      • }
    •  M. McCarron, M. R. Azimi-Sadjadi, G. Wichem and M. Mungiole, "An Operationally Adaptive System for Rapid Acoustic Transmission Loss Prediction", 2007 International Joint Conference on Neural Networks, Aug 2007, pp. 2262-2267.
      BibTeX
      • @Inproceedings{4371310,
      • author = {McCarron, M. and Azimi-Sadjadi, M. R. and Wichem, G. and Mungiole, M.},
      • title = {An Operationally Adaptive System for Rapid Acoustic Transmission Loss Prediction},
      • booktitle = {2007 International Joint Conference on Neural Networks},
      • year = 2007,
      • pages = {2262--2267},
      • month = {Aug}
      • }
    •  G. Wichern, J. Xue, H. Thornburg and A. Spanias, "Distortion-Aware Query-by-Example for Environmental Sounds", 2007 IEEE Workshop on Applications of Signal Processing to Audio and Acoustics, Oct 2007, pp. 335-338.
      BibTeX
      • @Inproceedings{4393051,
      • author = {Wichern, G. and Xue, J. and Thornburg, H. and Spanias, A.},
      • title = {Distortion-Aware Query-by-Example for Environmental Sounds},
      • booktitle = {2007 IEEE Workshop on Applications of Signal Processing to Audio and Acoustics},
      • year = 2007,
      • pages = {335--338},
      • month = {Oct}
      • }
    •  G. Wichern, M. R. Azimi-Sadjadi and M. Mungiole, "Environmentally adaptive acoustic transmission loss prediction in turbulent and nonturbulent atmospheres", Neural Networks, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 484 - 497, 2007.
      BibTeX External
      • @Article{WICHERN2007484,
      • author = {Wichern, G. and Azimi-Sadjadi, M. R. and Mungiole, M.},
      • title = {Environmentally adaptive acoustic transmission loss prediction in turbulent and nonturbulent atmospheres},
      • journal = {Neural Networks},
      • year = 2007,
      • volume = 20,
      • number = 4,
      • pages = {484 -- 497},
      • note = {Computational Intelligence in Earth and Environmental Sciences},
      • url = {http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S089360800700055X}
      • }
    •  G. Wichern, M. R. Azimi-Sadjadi and M. Mungiole, "An Environmentally Adaptive System for Rapid Acoustic Transmission Loss Prediction", The 2006 IEEE International Joint Conference on Neural Network Proceedings, 2006, pp. 5118-5125.
      BibTeX
      • @Inproceedings{1716812,
      • author = {Wichern, G. and Azimi-Sadjadi, M. R. and Mungiole, M.},
      • title = {An Environmentally Adaptive System for Rapid Acoustic Transmission Loss Prediction},
      • booktitle = {The 2006 IEEE International Joint Conference on Neural Network Proceedings},
      • year = 2006,
      • pages = {5118--5125}
      • }
    •  MR Azimi-Sadjadi, Y Jiang and G Wichern, "Properties of randomly distributed sparse arrays", Proc. SPIE, 2006, vol. 6201.
      BibTeX
      • @Inproceedings{azimi2006properties,
      • author = {Azimi-Sadjadi, MR and Jiang, Y and Wichern, G},
      • title = {Properties of randomly distributed sparse arrays},
      • booktitle = {Proc. SPIE},
      • year = 2006,
      • volume = 6201
      • }
    •  MR Azimi-Sadjadi, A Pezeshki, LL Scharf and G Wichern, "Unattended sparse acoustic array configurations and beamforming algorithms", Proc. SPIE, 2005, vol. 5796, pp. 40-51.
      BibTeX
      • @Inproceedings{azimi2005unattended,
      • author = {Azimi-Sadjadi, MR and Pezeshki, A and Scharf, LL and Wichern, G},
      • title = {Unattended sparse acoustic array configurations and beamforming algorithms},
      • booktitle = {Proc. SPIE},
      • year = 2005,
      • volume = 5796,
      • pages = {40--51}
      • }
  • Videos

  • MERL Issued Patents

    • Title: "Methods and Systems for Enhancing Audio Signals Corrupted by Noise"
      Inventors: Le Roux, Jonathan; Watanabe, Shinji; Hershey, John R.; Wichern, Gordon P
      Patent No.: 10,726,856
      Issue Date: Jul 28, 2020
    • Title: "Methods and Systems for End-to-End Speech Separation with Unfolded Iterative Phase Reconstruction"
      Inventors: Le Roux, Jonathan; Hershey, John R.; Wang, Zhongqiu; Wichern, Gordon P
      Patent No.: 10,529,349
      Issue Date: Jan 7, 2020
    See All Patents for MERL