Orca Active Learning

First developed in 2020 by Google Summer of Code students Diego Rodríguez and Kunal Mehta, OrcaAL is an “active learning” tool. It lets you teach a machine learning model to recognize orca signals & observe how its performance evolves.

  1. The machine presents you with audio samples that it finds confusing.
  2. You help label the sounds, collaborating with a “crowd” of other human annotators.
  3. After enough samples are labeled, the machine re-trains itself using the new data, then generates a new list of sounds that confuse it.
  4. Repeat!
Screenshot of the OrcaAL UI. The 3s audio sample contains an orca call in vessel noise.

Open-source code


  1. OrcaAL with Orcasound data and a SRKW call model

Presentations & products

Mar 8, 2022: DCLDE Oahu talk

Valentina Staneva pre-recorded a talk for the DCLDE 2022 session on “Software to enable DCLDE.” (DCLDE = Detection, Classification, Localization, and Density Estimation). Here is the slide deck:

Slide deck (PDF) for a 10-minute talk on “Active Listening & Learning for Efficient and Interactive Marine Sound Annotation and Classification”

The co-authors were: Kunal Mehta, Jose Giraldo, Diego Rodriguez, Jesse Lopez, Val Veirs, Scott Veirs, and Valentina Staneva.

Sep 2021: 3rd NOAA workshop on “Leveraging AI in the Environmental Sciences”

(virtual, pre-recorded)

Kunal Mehta presents a poster for the NOAA AI workshop on Thursday, September 16, 2021.

Dec 2020: Acoustical Society of America talk

(virtual, pre-recorded, live Q&A)

Diego Rodriguez and Kunal Mehta presents a talk, with intro by Scott, at the virtual ASA meeting on December 10, 2020.

Dec 2020: Meridian webinar on “Sound detection and classification with deep learning”

Talk by Kunal Mehta, introduced by Scott Veirs on Wednesday, December 16, 2020.


  • Google Summer of Code students
    • Kunal Mehta (2020)
    • Diego Rodríguez (2020)
  • Orcasound mentors (see also the Orcasound GSoC organization page)
    • Valentina Staneva (University of Washington, eScience Institute)
    • Jesse Lopez (Axiom Data Science)
    • Abhishek Singh (Google Summer of Code 2019 alum)
    • Dan Olsen (North Gulf Oceanic Society)
    • Hannah Meyers (University of Alaska)
    • Val Veirs (Beam Reach)
    • Scott Veirs (Beam Reach)

More info:

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