InterSpeech 2021

Contrastive Learning of Cough Descriptors for Automatic COVID-19 Preliminary Diagnosis
(Oral presentation)

Swapnil Bhosale (TCS, India), Upasana Tiwari (TCS, India), Rupayan Chakraborty (TCS, India), Sunil Kumar Kopparapu (TCS, India)
Cough sounds as a descriptor have been used for detecting various respiratory ailments based on its intensity, duration of intermediate phase between two cough sounds, repetitions, dryness etc. However, COVID-19 diagnosis using only cough sounds is challenging because of cough being a common symptom among many non COVID-19 health diseases and inherent data imbalance within the available datasets. As one of the approach in this direction, we explore the robustness of multi-domain representation by performing the early fusion over a wide set of temporal, spectral and tempo-spectral handcrafted features, followed by training a Support Vector Machine (SVM) classifier. In our second approach, using a contrastive loss function we learn a latent space from Mel Filter Cepstral Coefficients (MFCCs) where representations belonging to samples having similar cough characteristics are closer. This helps learn representations for the highly varied COVID-negative class (healthy and symptomatic COVID-negative), by learning multiple smaller clusters. Using only the DiCOVA data, multi-domain features yields an absolute improvement of 0.74% and 1.07%, whereas our second approach shows an improvement of 2.09% and 3.98%, over the blind test and validation set, respectively, when compared with challenge baseline.