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The purpose of this paper is to call attention to some of the properties of optical signal detection which may be useful for overcoming processing logistics problems in speech recognizers of useful vocabulary. Analog cross correlation by optical means, as described by Vander Lugt  permits simultaneous comparison of the speaker's utterance with a stored vocabulary tailored to the particular speaker. Storage might take the form of a microfilm aperture card. A speech recognizer model is presented for illustration purposes; parameters and experimental evidence are included to support the contention that pattern recognition can be reduced to a signal detection problem.