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A speaker-independent isolated word recognition system is described which is based on some techniques and results from rate-distortion speech coders. The recognition system can be viewed as a minimum distortion or nearest-neighbor system where the distortion measure is defined between an observed sequence of frames of speech and a reference pattern. The patterns are sequences of sets of LPC models. Every one of the sets of each pattern consist of a collection of LPC models that "best" reproduces a given frame of a word from a training sequence. The Itakura Saito distortion measure is used to design the system (or selection of the patterns) and for the decision step.