Learning based segmentation and generation methods for handwritten document images

  • Date:
  • Location: TLS, Carolina Rediviva Library, Dag Hammarskjölds Väg 1, Uppsala
  • Doctoral student: Ayyalasomayajula, Kalyan Ram
  • About the dissertation
  • Organiser: Avdelningen för visuell information och interaktion
  • Contact person: Ayyalasomayajula, Kalyan Ram
  • Disputation

Computerized analysis of handwritten documents is an active research area in image analysis and computer vision. The goal is to create tools that can be available for use at university libraries and for researchers in the humanities. Working with large collections of handwritten documents is very time consuming and many old books and letters remain unread for centuries.

Efficient computerized methods could help researchers in history, philology and computer linguistics to cost-effectively conduct a whole new type of research based on large collections of documents. The thesis makes a contribution to this area through the development of methods based on machine learning. The passage of time degrades historical documents. Humidity, stains, heat, mold and natural aging of the materials for hundreds of years make the documents increasingly difficult to interpret. The first half of the dissertation is therefore focused on cleaning the visual information in these documents by image segmentation methods based on energy minimization and machine learning. However, machine learning algorithms learn by imitating what is expected of them. One prerequisite for these methods to work is that ground truth is available. This causes a problem for historical documents because there is a shortage of experts who can help to interpret and interpret them. The second part of the thesis is therefore about automatically creating synthetic documents that are similar to handwritten historical documents. Because they are generated from a known text, they have a given facet. The visual content of the generated historical documents includes variation in the writing style and also imitates degradation factors to make the images realistic. When machine learning is trained on synthetic images of handwritten text, with a known facet, in many cases they can even give an even better result for real historical documents.