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Data augmentation methods usually apply the same augmentation (or a mix of them) to all the training samples. For example, to perturb data with noise, the noise is sampled from a Normal distribution with a fixed standard deviation, for all samples. We hypothesize that a hard sample with high training loss already provides strong training signal to update the model parameters and should be perturbed with mild or no augmentation. Perturbing a hard sample with a strong augmentation may also make it too hard to learn from. Furthermore, a sample with low training loss should be perturbed by a stronger augmentation to provide more robustness to a variety of conditions. To formalize these intuitions, we propose a novel method to learn a Sample-Adaptive Policy for Augmentation -- SapAugment. Our policy adapts the augmentation parameters based on the training loss of the data samples. In the example of Gaussian noise, a hard sample will be perturbed with a low variance noise and an easy sample with a high variance noise. Furthermore, the proposed method combines multiple augmentation methods into a methodical policy learning framework and obviates hand-crafting augmentation parameters by trial-and-error. We apply our method on an automatic speech recognition (ASR) task, and combine existing and novel augmentations using the proposed framework. We show substantial improvement, up to 21% relative reduction in word error rate on LibriSpeech dataset, over the state-of-the-art speech augmentation method.

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