Date of Award

Winter 2006

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical & Computer Engineering

Committee Director

Stephen A. Zahorian

Committee Member

Charlie H. Cooke

Committee Member

Oscar R. Gonzalez

Committee Member

David Streight


Front-end feature extraction techniques have long been a critical component in Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR). Nonlinear filtering techniques are becoming increasingly important in this application, and are often better than linear filters at removing noise without distorting speech features. However, design and analysis of nonlinear filters are more difficult than for linear filters. Mathematical morphology, which creates filters based on shape and size characteristics, is a design structure for nonlinear filters. These filters are limited to minimum and maximum operations that introduce a deterministic bias into filtered signals.

This work develops filtering structures based on a mathematical morphology that utilizes the bias while emphasizing spectral peaks. The combination of peak emphasis via LP analysis with morphological filtering results in more noise robust speech recognition rates.

To help understand the behavior of these pre-processing techniques the deterministic and statistical properties of the morphological filters are compared to the properties of feature extraction techniques that do not employ such algorithms. The robust behavior of these algorithms for automatic speech recognition in the presence of rapidly fluctuating speech signals with additive and convolutional noise is illustrated. Examples of these nonlinear feature extraction techniques are given using the Aurora 2.0 and Aurora 3.0 databases. Features are computed using LP analysis alone to emphasize peaks, morphological filtering alone, or a combination of the two approaches. Although absolute best results are normally obtained using a combination of the two methods, morphological filtering alone is nearly as effective and much more computationally efficient.


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