Approximate string matching is an important paradigm in domains ranging from speech recognition to information retrieval and molecular biology. In this paper, we introduce a new formalism for a class of applications that takes two strings as input, each specified in terms of a particular domain, and performs a comparison motivated by constraints derived from a third, possibly different domain. This issue arises, for example, when searching multimedia databases built using imperfect recognition technologies (e.g., speech, optical character, and handwriting recognition). We present a polynomial time algorithm for solving the problem, and describe several variations that can also be solved efficiently
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