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In distributed meeting applications, microphone arrays have been widely used to capture superior speech sound and perform speaker localization through sound source localization (SSL) and beamforming. This paper presents a unified maximum likelihood framework of these two techniques, and demonstrates how such a framework can be adapted to create efficient SSL and beamforming algorithms for reverberant rooms and unknown directional patterns of microphones. The proposed method is closely related to steered response power-based algorithms, which are known to work extremely well in real-world environments. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method on challenging synthetic and real-world datasets, including over six hours of recorded meetings.
Date of Publication: April 2008