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COre Variable Feature Extraction Feature Extractor
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COre Variable Feature Extraction Feature Extractor

Table of Contents

Simple Description

COVFEFE is a tool for feature extraction.
Given a folder containing your data, it will compute features for each file in the input folder. It currently supports acoustic features on audio data and lexical, syntactic and pragmatic features on text data (english and chinese), but can be extended to other features and data types (feel free to make a pull request if you would like to add more).

As an example, given an input folder with two audio files and two text files.

├── file1.txt
├── file1.wav
├── file2.txt
└── file2.wav

To extract acoustic features for all the wav files:

python -i input_data -o output_folder -p opensmile_is10

To extract lexicosyntactic features on all the txt files:

python -i input_data -o output_folder -p lex

This will create an output folder with all the features:

├── is10
│   ├── file1.csv
│   └── file2.csv
└── lexicosyntactic
    ├── file1.csv
    └── file2.csv

Detailed Description

COVFEFE is a a fast, multi-threaded tool for running various feature extraction pipelines. A pipeline is a directed acyclic graph where each node is a processing task that sends it's output to the next node in the graph.

Nodes are defined in nodes/ and pipelines in pipelines/.

An example pipeline is opensmile_is10_lld defined in pipelines/

def opensmile_is10_lld(in_folder, out_folder, num_threads):
    file_finder = helper.FindFiles("file_finder", dir=in_folder, ext=".wav")

    is10 = audio.OpenSmileRunner("is10_lld", out_dir=out_folder, conf_file="IS10_paraling.conf", out_flag="-lldcsvoutput")

    p = ProgressPipeline(file_finder | is10, n_threads=num_threads, quiet=True)

    return p

The function is decorated using @pipeline_registry which adds it to registry containing all pipelines. When called, a pipeline function will be provided an input folder, output folder and number of threads as parameters. These parameters are used to configure the pipeline. The opensmile_is10_lld function shown above first creates a node to find all the files in the input folder that have a .wav extension. The second node it creates is an OpenSmileRunner, which is defined in the package. This node passes its input to openSMILE (, a feature extraction tool. Some common nodes (such as converting wav to mp3, resampling audio, calling matlab functions or shell scripts) are provided and users can define their own nodes.

After defining the nodes, the opensmile_is10_lld function creates a pipeline using the | operator. This is inspired by the unix pipe, and simply means that the output of the left node is passed to the right node. The right hand side of the operator can be a list of nodes, in which case the input from the left side is passed to all nodes in the list.

The way covfefe is set up, each node accepts as input a file path and outputs a file path. Standardizing this makes it easier to create new nodes and pipelines that are interoperable.

After creating the pipeline, p, the pipeline function returns it. The pipeline so far has only been defined and not executed. It will be executed by the main function in, which is the script you can use to call different pipelines. To execute a pipeline, simply run

python -i path/to/in/folder -o /path/to/put/out/files -p pipeline_name

where pipeline_name is the name of function that's been added to the registry (for example, opensmile_is10_lld)

to run with multiple threads (ex. 8 threads):

python -i path/to/in/folder -o /path/to/put/out/files -p pipeline_name -n 8

Running python --help will print help options and give a list of available pipelines to run.


First download covfefe and setup a virtual environment:

git clone
virtualenv -p python3 .venv

Activate the virtual environment

source .venv/bin/activate

Install python libraries:

pip install -r requirements.txt

Install nltk packages, if not already installed

python -c "import nltk; deps=['cmudict', 'wordnet_id', 'punkt', 'wordnet']; [ for d in deps];"

A script is provided that will download and setup dependencies. Before running this script, you should have openSMILE installed. You can find instructions on the openSMILE website

./ /path/to/put/downloaded/files

This script will ask you to enter the path to the openSMILE source. This is the path to the extracted zip or tar file, not the smilExtract binary.

Next the setup script downloads various dependencies (requires 1.6 GB of disk space) and creates a file called config.ini which stores paths to the dependencies. When covfefe is run, it will try to find it's dependencies from environment variables first, then this config file.

Available Pipelines

Pipeline Input data Description Requirements
split_speech_eaf .wav, .eaf Reads in wav files and eaf files (with same name except for extension) from input folder and splits each annotated segment into its own wav file
split_speech_txt .wav, .txt Same as split_speech_eaf except uses tab separated .txt files as annotations (start \t end \t annotation)
opensmile_is10 .wav Computes openSMILE IS10 features describing an entire wav file for each wav file in the input folder openSMILE is installed and OPENSMILE_HOME is set in `config.ini`
opensmile_is10_lld .wav Computes openSMILE IS10 low level descriptors for each wav file in the input folder openSMILE is installed and OPENSMILE_HOME is set in `config.ini`
praat_syllable_nuclei .wav Runs Praat script that computes syllable nuclei features praat is installed
matlab .wav Computes matlab acoustic features for each wav file in the input folder (very slow) Matlab engine for python is installed
lex .txt Computes lexicosyntactic features for each txt file in the input All dependencies were downloaded using the `` script `config.ini` was correctly generated
lex_chinese .txt Computes lexicosyntactic features for Chinese text files Same as the lex pipeline
kaldi_asr .wav Runs automatic speech recognition on all wav files using kaldi. Wav files will be reasmpled to 8KHz. Kaldi is installed and compiled and the `aspire` example is setup.
main .wav, .eaf Computers IS10 (both low level descripors and full file summaries) for each wav file in the input. If the file has an associated .eaf file, it will split all annotations into individual files and compute IS10 feautures on the isolated .wav files opensmile + lex + kaldi

Custom pipelines

You can create your own custom nodes and pipelines. For example, if you wanted to create a pipeline that computed one feature vector for each wav file, you could copy the the opensmile_is10_lld pipeline and change the output flag to '-csvoutput'.

Any pipelines added to the pipelines/ folder and decorated with @pipeline_registry will be automatically discovered and available through the CLI.

If you would like to make your custom pipelines and nodes available for others to use, please feel free to make a pull request.

Optional dependencies

Receptiviti LIWC

LIWC2015 features from receptiviti can also be added to the output. Simply copy, rename it to and fill in your api key.


If you have matlab installed on your system, you can install the MATLAB Engine API. As long as your matlab script takes as input a path the the input file and a path specifying where to save the output, you should be able to create a pipeline that uses the nodes.matlab.MatlabRunner to call your matlab script.


If you have access to the ANEW2010 dictionary, you can put the ANEW2010All.txt file in path you gave to the setup script to add additional features to lexicosyntactic output. You will also need to add path_to_anew=/path/to/dependencies/ANEW2010All.txt to config.ini.

RST Discourse Treebank

Similar to ANEW, you can put the RST treebank data in the dependency folder and the following lines to 'config.ini'



Komeili M, Pou-Prom C, Liaqat D, Fraser KC, Yancheva M, Rudzicz F (2019) Talk2Me: Automated linguistic data collection for personal assessment. PLoS ONE 14(3): e0212342.

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