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Speech Recognition Technology Enabled by Altera Stratix V FPGA

Posted by Danielle Leger

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Sep 2, 2015 9:00:00 AM

FPGA enabled speech recognition technology (SRT) is in numerous tech gadgets. Speech recognition technology refers to computer software systems that convert the words spoken into text. Some other FPGA applications that use SRT are:

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  1. Automobiles
  2. Laptops & Computers
  3. Smart Phones: Siri
  4. Xbox & Game Consoles
  5. Amazon Echo
  6. Shazam: Identifying a song
  7. Smart TV’s: Voice control 



These applications allow you the option to speak and give commands to the device instead of manually controlling it with a remote. This technology is becoming more common in industries and applications as a way to increase productivity and lower costs. People use this technology every day, by talking to their smart phones, asking them to send text messages, find directions, or search for information on the web. This technology is being used more often due to the fact that a spoken command can accomplish tasks that would usually require a slew of swipes and presses.

The speech recognition system begins with a pre-processing stage, which takes a speech waveform as its input, and takes from it the information required to perform the next stage. The second stage is known as recognition or decoding, where the information is analyzed and converted into text. Decoding is performed using a set of statistical models called hidden Markov models (HMMs). Although there are software actions that are capable of real time performance, there are many reasons why it is worth using hardware to attain much faster decoding. A speech recognition system using FPGA is capable of performing speech recognition at a much faster rate than real time.
One application that uses speech recognition is Bing’s voice search option. Their ranking services, have recently been switched from Xeon processors to an FPGA-based system they call Project Catapult. Microsoft could afford custom ASIC to run Bing’s ranking functions. However, given the speed at which the software algorithms now change, it probably can’t afford not to use programmable FPGA hardware.
Their latest design now uses a Altera Stratix V GS D5 FPGA. The outcome of the study was that the FPGA is capable of processing and decoding the data faster, compared to equivalent software. Some of the Stratix family part numbers include: 5SGXMA3E3H29I3N, 5SGXMA3E3H29C3N and 5SGXMA7N2F45C2.
Currently, Microsoft’s engineers are looking to start using the new Arria 10 Altera FPGA. This chip is able to run at top speeds with three times the energy efficiency of a comparable GPU. 

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Also, be sure to check out our other FPGA-related blog posts.


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References: Extreme Tech

Topics: FPGA

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