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The past decade (1990-2000) has witnessed substantial advances in speech recognition technology, which when combined with the increase in computational power and storage capacity has resulted in a variety of commercial products already or soon to be on the market. The authors review the state of the art in core technology, large vocabulary continuous speech recognition, with a view toward highlighting recent advances. We then highlight issues in moving toward applications, discussing system efficiency, portability across languages and tasks, and enhancing the system output by adding tags and nonlinguistic information. Current performance in speech recognition and outstanding challenges for three classes of applications (dictation, audio indexation, and spoken language dialogue systems), are discussed.