SRI International has been awarded a $13 million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop software to process noisy and highly degraded speech. The project was awarded as part of DARPA's new Robust Automatic Transcription of Speech (RATS) human language technology research and development program.

For this project, SRI's Speech Technology and Research (STAR) Laboratory will develop speech processing algorithms and software to detect speech activity, identify the speaker and the language being spoken (from a predefined set of speakers and languages), and search for key words. The goal of the program is to extract information from highly distorted audio signals, in a variety of languages. These types of audio signals may be found in many military and civilian contexts, such as air traffic control, emergency and ship radio communications, and call-in segments of talk shows.