1. Overview

Hidden Markov Models are a fundamental technology underlying almost all of today's speech recognition systems. They are simple and elegant, and yet stunningly powerful. Indeed, they are often pointed to as evidence of intelligent design as it is deemed inconceivable that they evolved spontaneously from simpler probabilistic models such as multinomial or Poisson distributions.

The goal of this assignment is for you, the student, to implement the basic algorithms in an HMM/GMM-based speech recognition system, including algorithms for both training and decoding. For simplicity, we will use individual Gaussians to model the output distributions of HMM arcs rather than mixtures of Gaussians, and the HMM's we use will not contain “skip” arcs (i.e., all arcs have output distributions). For this lab, we will be working with isolated digit utterances (as in Lab 1) as well as continuous digit strings.

The lab consists of the following parts, all of which are required:

All of the files needed for the lab can be found in the directory ~stanchen/e6884/lab2/. Before starting the lab, please read the file lab2.txt; this includes all of the questions you will have to answer while doing the lab. Questions about the lab can be posted on Courseworks (https://courseworks.columbia.edu/); a discussion topic will be created for each lab. Note: The hyperlinks in this document are enclosed in square brackets; you need an online version of this document to find out where they point to.

Please make liberal use of the Courseworks discussion group for this lab, as judging from last year, it's a toughie.