Qiushi Huang

Postgraduate Research Student
PhD Candidate

Academic and research departments

Computer Science Research Centre.


My research project


Research interests



Yi Yuan, Haohe Liu, Xubo Liu, Qiushi Huang, Mark D Plumbley, Wenwu Wang (2023)Retrieval-Augmented Text-to-Audio Generation

Despite recent progress in text-to-audio (TTA) generation, we show that the state-of-the-art models, such as AudioLDM, trained on datasets with an imbalanced class distribution, such as AudioCaps, are biased in their generation performance. Specifically, they excel in generating common audio classes while underperforming in the rare ones, thus degrading the overall generation performance. We refer to this problem as long-tailed text-to-audio generation. To address this issue, we propose a simple retrieval-augmented approach for TTA models. Specifically, given an input text prompt, we first leverage a Contrastive Language Audio Pretraining (CLAP) model to retrieve relevant text-audio pairs. The features of the retrieved audio-text data are then used as additional conditions to guide the learning of TTA models. We enhance AudioLDM with our proposed approach and denote the resulting augmented system as Re-AudioLDM. On the AudioCaps dataset, Re-AudioLDM achieves a state-of-the-art Frechet Audio Distance (FAD) of 1.37, outperforming the existing approaches by a large margin. Furthermore, we show that Re-AudioLDM can generate realistic audio for complex scenes, rare audio classes, and even unseen audio types, indicating its potential in TTA tasks.


Audio captioning aims at using language to describe the content of an audio clip. Existing audio captioning systems are generally based on an encoder-decoder architecture, in which acoustic information is extracted by an audio encoder and then a language decoder is used to generate the captions. Training an audio captioning system often encounters the problem of data scarcity. Transferring knowledge from pre-trained audio models such as Pre-trained Audio Neural Networks (PANNs) have recently emerged as a useful method to mitigate this issue. However, there is less attention on exploiting pre-trained language models for the decoder, compared with the encoder. BERT is a pre-trained language model that has been extensively used in natural language processing tasks. Nevertheless, the potential of using BERT as the language decoder for audio captioning has not been investigated. In this study, we demonstrate the efficacy of the pre-trained BERT model for audio captioning. Specifically, we apply PANNs as the encoder and initialize the decoder from the publicly available pre-trained BERT models. We conduct an empirical study on the use of these BERT models for the decoder in the audio captioning model. Our models achieve competitive results with the existing audio captioning methods on the AudioCaps dataset.

Xubo Liu, Zhongkai Zhu, Haohe Liu, Yi Yuan, Meng Cui, Qiushi Huang, Jinhua Liang, Yin Cao, Qiuqiang Kong, Mark Plumbley, Wenwu Wang (2023)WavJourney: Compositional Audio Creation with Large Language Models, In: WavJourney: Compositional Audio Creation with LLMs Cornell University Library, arXiv.org

Large Language Models (LLMs) have shown great promise in integrating diverse expert models to tackle intricate language and vision tasks. Despite their significance in advancing the field of Artificial Intelligence Generated Content (AIGC), their potential in intelligent audio content creation remains unexplored. In this work, we tackle the problem of creating audio content with storylines encompassing speech, music, and sound effects, guided by text instructions. We present WavJourney, a system that leverages LLMs to connect various audio models for audio content generation. Given a text description of an auditory scene, WavJourney first prompts LLMs to generate a structured script dedicated to audio storytelling. The audio script incorporates diverse audio elements, organized based on their spatio-temporal relationships. As a conceptual representation of audio, the audio script provides an interactive and interpretable rationale for human engagement. Afterward, the audio script is fed into a script compiler, converting it into a computer program. Each line of the program calls a task-specific audio generation model or computational operation function (e.g., concatenate, mix). The computer program is then executed to obtain an explainable solution for audio generation. We demonstrate the practicality of WavJourney across diverse real-world scenarios, including science fiction, education, and radio play. The explainable and interactive design of WavJourney fosters human-machine co-creation in multi-round dialogues, enhancing creative control and adaptability in audio production. WavJourney audiolizes the human imagination, opening up new avenues for creativity in multimedia content creation.

Qiushi Huang, Yu Zhang, Tom Ko, Xubo Liu, Bo Wu, Wenwu Wang, Lilian Tang Personalized Dialogue Generation with Persona-Adaptive Attention, In: arXiv (Cornell University)

Persona-based dialogue systems aim to generate consistent responses based on historical context and predefined persona. Unlike conventional dialogue generation, the persona-based dialogue needs to consider both dialogue context and persona, posing a challenge for coherent training. Specifically, this requires a delicate weight balance between context and persona. To achieve that, in this paper, we propose an effective framework with Persona-Adaptive Attention (PAA), which adaptively integrates the weights from the persona and context information via our designed attention. In addition, a dynamic masking mechanism is applied to the PAA to not only drop redundant information in context and persona but also serve as a regularization mechanism to avoid overfitting. Experimental results demonstrate the superiority of the proposed PAA framework compared to the strong baselines in both automatic and human evaluation. Moreover, the proposed PAA approach can perform equivalently well in a low-resource regime compared to models trained in a full-data setting, which achieve a similar result with only 20% to 30% of data compared to the larger models trained in the full-data setting. To fully exploit the effectiveness of our design, we designed several variants for handling the weighted information in different ways, showing the necessity and sufficiency of our weighting and masking designs.

Qiushi Huang, Tom Ko, H Tang, Xubo Liu, Bo Wu (2021)Token-Level Supervised Contrastive Learning for Punctuation Restoration, In: arXiv.org2pp. 936-940 Cornell University Library, arXiv.org

Punctuation is critical in understanding natural language text. Currently, most automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems do not generate punctuation, which affects the performance of downstream tasks, such as intent detection and slot filling. This gives rise to the need for punctuation restoration. Recent work in punctuation restoration heavily utilizes pre-trained language models without considering data imbalance when predicting punctuation classes. In this work, we address this problem by proposing a token-level supervised contrastive learning method that aims at maximizing the distance of representation of different punctuation marks in the embedding space. The result shows that training with token-level supervised contrastive learning obtains up to 3.2% absolute F1 improvement on the test set.

Qiushi Huang, Shuai Fu, Xubo Liu, Wenwu Wang, Tom Ko, Yu Zhang, Lilian Tang (2023)Learning Retrieval Augmentation for Personalized Dialogue Generation, In: Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processingpp. 2523-2540 Association for Computational Linguistics

Personalized dialogue generation, focusing on generating highly tailored responses by lever-aging persona profiles and dialogue context, has gained significant attention in conversational AI applications. However, persona profiles , a prevalent setting in current personal-ized dialogue datasets, typically composed of merely four to five sentences, may not offer comprehensive descriptions of the persona about the agent, posing a challenge to generate truly personalized dialogues. To handle this problem, we propose Learning Retrieval Augmentation for Personalized DialOgue Generation (LAPDOG), which studies the potential of leveraging external knowledge for persona dialogue generation. Specifically, the proposed LAPDOG model consists of a story retriever and a dialogue generator. The story retriever uses a given persona profile as queries to retrieve relevant information from the story document, which serves as a supplementary context to augment the persona profile. The dialogue generator utilizes both the dialogue history and the augmented persona profile to generate personalized responses. For optimization , we adopt a joint training framework that collaboratively learns the story retriever and dialogue generator, where the story retriever is optimized towards desired ultimate metrics (e.g., BLEU) to retrieve content for the dialogue generator to generate personalized responses. Experiments conducted on the CONVAI2 dataset with ROCStory as a supplementary data source show that the proposed LAPDOG method substantially outperforms the baselines, indicating the effectiveness of the proposed method. The LAPDOG model code is publicly available for further exploration. 1

Xubo Liu, Haohe Liu, Qiuqiang Kong, Xinhao Mei, Jinzheng Zhao, Qiushi Huang, Mark D. Plumbley, Wenwu Wang (2022)Separate What You Describe: Language-Queried Audio Source Separation, In: Interspeech 2022pp. 1801-1805

In this paper, we introduce the task of language-queried audio source separation (LASS), which aims to separate a target source from an audio mixture based on a natural language query of the target source (e.g., “a man tells a joke followed by people laughing”). A unique challenge in LASS is associated with the complexity of natural language description and its relation with the audio sources. To address this issue, we proposed LASSNet, an end-to-end neural network that is learned to jointly process acoustic and linguistic information, and separate the target source that is consistent with the language query from an audio mixture. We evaluate the performance of our proposed system with a dataset created from the AudioCaps dataset. Experimental results show that LASS-Net achieves considerable improvements over baseline methods. Furthermore, we observe that LASS-Net achieves promising generalization results when using diverse human-annotated descriptions as queries, indicating its potential use in real-world scenarios. The separated audio samples and source code are available at https://liuxubo717.github.io/LASS-demopage.


Automated audio captioning aims to use natural language to describe the content of audio data. This paper presents an audio captioning system with an encoder-decoder architecture, where the decoder predicts words based on audio features extracted by the encoder. To improve the proposed system, transfer learning from either an upstream audio-related task or a large in-domain dataset is introduced to mitigate the problem induced by data scarcity. Moreover, evaluation metrics are incorporated into the optimization of the model with reinforcement learning, which helps address the problem of " exposure bias " induced by " teacher forcing " training strategy and the mismatch between the evaluation metrics and the loss function. The resulting system was ranked 3rd in DCASE 2021 Task 6. Abla-tion studies are carried out to investigate how much each component in the proposed system can contribute to final performance. The results show that the proposed techniques significantly improve the scores of the evaluation metrics, however, reinforcement learning may impact adversely on the quality of the generated captions.


Audio captioning aims to automatically generate a natural language description of an audio clip. Most captioning models follow an encoder-decoder architecture, where the decoder predicts words based on the audio features extracted by the encoder. Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and recurrent neural networks (RNNs) are often used as the audio encoder. However, CNNs can be limited in modelling temporal relationships among the time frames in an audio signal, while RNNs can be limited in modelling the long-range dependencies among the time frames. In this paper, we propose an Audio Captioning Transformer (ACT), which is a full Transformer network based on an encoder-decoder architecture and is totally convolution-free. The proposed method has a better ability to model the global information within an audio signal as well as capture temporal relationships between audio events. We evaluate our model on AudioCaps, which is the largest audio captioning dataset publicly available. Our model shows competitive performance compared to other state-of-the-art approaches.

Xubo Liu, Turab Iqbal, Jinzheng Zhao, Qiushi Huang, Mark D. Plumbley, Wenwu Wang (2021)Conditional Sound Generation Using Neural Discrete Time-Frequency Representation Learningpp. 25-28

Deep generative models have recently achieved impressive performance in speech and music synthesis. However, compared to the generation of those domain-specific sounds, generating general sounds (such as siren, gunshots) has received less attention , despite their wide applications. In previous work, the SampleRNN method was considered for sound generation in the time domain. However, SampleRNN is potentially limited in capturing long-range dependencies within sounds as it only back-propagates through a limited number of samples. In this work, we propose a method for generating sounds via neural discrete time-frequency representation learning, conditioned on sound classes. This offers an advantage in efficiently modelling long-range dependencies and retaining local fine-grained structures within sound clips. We evaluate our approach on the UrbanSound8K dataset, compared to SampleRNN, with the performance metrics measuring the quality and diversity of generated sounds. Experimental results show that our method offers comparable performance in quality and significantly better performance in diversity.


Automated Audio captioning (AAC) is a cross-modal translation task that aims to use natural language to describe the content of an audio clip. As shown in the submissions received for Task 6 of the DCASE 2021 Challenges, this problem has received increasing interest in the community. The existing AAC systems are usually based on an encoder-decoder architecture, where the audio signal is encoded into a latent representation, and aligned with its corresponding text descriptions, then a decoder is used to generate the captions. However, training of an AAC system often encounters the problem of data scarcity, which may lead to inaccurate representation and audio-text alignment. To address this problem, we propose a novel encoder-decoder framework called Contrastive Loss for Audio Captioning (CL4AC). In CL4AC, the self-supervision signals derived from the original audio-text paired data are used to exploit the correspondences between audio and texts by contrasting samples, which can improve the quality of latent representation and the alignment between audio and texts, while trained with limited data. Experiments are performed on the Clotho dataset to show the effectiveness of our proposed approach.