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The Viterbi algorithm (VA) is a recursive optimal solution to the problem of estimating the state sequence of a discrete-time finite-state Markov process observed in memoryless noise. Many problems in areas such as digital communications can be cast in this form. This paper gives a tutorial exposition of the algorithm and of how it is implemented and analyzed. Applications to date are reviewed. Increasing use of the algorithm in a widening variety of areas is foreseen.