System approach to robust acoustic echo cancellation through semi-blind source separation based on independent component analysis
Wada, Ted S.
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We live in a dynamic world full of noises and interferences. The conventional acoustic echo cancellation (AEC) framework based on the least mean square (LMS) algorithm by itself lacks the ability to handle many secondary signals that interfere with the adaptive filtering process, e.g., local speech and background noise. In this dissertation, we build a foundation for what we refer to as the system approach to signal enhancement as we focus on the AEC problem. We first propose the residual echo enhancement (REE) technique that utilizes the error recovery nonlinearity (ERN) to "enhances" the filter estimation error prior to the filter adaptation. The single-channel AEC problem can be viewed as a special case of semi-blind source separation (SBSS) where one of the source signals is partially known, i.e., the far-end microphone signal that generates the near-end acoustic echo. SBSS optimized via independent component analysis (ICA) leads to the system combination of the LMS algorithm with the ERN that allows for continuous and stable adaptation even during double talk. Second, we extend the system perspective to the decorrelation problem for AEC, where we show that the REE procedure can be applied effectively in a multi-channel AEC (MCAEC) setting to indirectly assist the recovery of lost AEC performance due to inter-channel correlation, known generally as the "non-uniqueness" problem. We develop a novel, computationally efficient technique of frequency-domain resampling (FDR) that effectively alleviates the non-uniqueness problem directly while introducing minimal distortion to signal quality and statistics. We also apply the system approach to the multi-delay filter (MDF) that suffers from the inter-block correlation problem. Finally, we generalize the MCAEC problem in the SBSS framework and discuss many issues related to the implementation of an SBSS system. We propose a constrained batch-online implementation of SBSS that stabilizes the convergence behavior even in the worst case scenario of a single far-end talker along with the non-uniqueness condition on the far-end mixing system. The proposed techniques are developed from a pragmatic standpoint, motivated by real-world problems in acoustic and audio signal processing. Generalization of the orthogonality principle to the system level of an AEC problem allows us to relate AEC to source separation that seeks to maximize the independence, hence implicitly the orthogonality, not only between the error signal and the far-end signal, but rather, among all signals involved. The system approach, for which the REE paradigm is just one realization, enables the encompassing of many traditional signal enhancement techniques in analytically consistent yet practically effective manner for solving the enhancement problem in a very noisy and disruptive acoustic mixing environment.