Self-training for Handwritten Text Line Recognition

  • Volkmar Frinken
  • Horst Bunke
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6419)


Off-line handwriting recognition deals with the task of automatically recognizing handwritten text from images, for example from scanned sheets of paper. Due to the tremendous variations of writing styles encountered between different individuals, this is a very challenging task. Traditionally, a recognition system is trained by using a large corpus of handwritten text that has to be transcribed manually. This, however, is a laborious and costly process. Recent developments have proposed semi-supervised learning, which reduces the need for manually transcribed text by adding large amounts of handwritten text without transcription to the training set. The current paper is the first one, to the knowledge of the authors, where semi-supervised learning for unconstrained handwritten text line recognition is proposed. We demonstrate the applicability of self-training, a form of semi-supervised learning, to neural network based handwriting recognition. Through a set of experiments we show that text without transcription can successfully be used to significantly increase the performance of a handwriting recognition system.


Hide Layer Hide Markov Model Recognition Accuracy Unlabeled Data Text Line 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Ball, G.R., Srihari, S.: Prototype Integration in Off-Line Handwriting Recognition Adaptation. In: Proc. Int’l. Conf. on Frontiers in Handwriting Recognition, pp. 529–534 (2008)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ball, G.R., Srihari, S.N.: Semi-supervised Learning for Handwriting Recognition. In: 10th Int’l Conf. on Document Analysis and Recognition (2009)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Brakensiek, A., Rigoll, G.: Handwritten Address Recognition Using Hidden Markov Models. In: Dengel, A.R., Junker, M., Weisbecker, A. (eds.) RL 2004. LNCS, vol. 2956, pp. 103–122. Springer, Heidelberg (2004)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bunke, H.: Recognition of Cursive Roman Handwriting - Past, Present and Future. In: Proc. 7th Int’l Conf. on Document Analysis and Recognition, vol. 1, pp. 448–459 (August 2003)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chapelle, O., Schölkopf, B., Zien, A.: Semi-Supervised Learning. MIT Press, Cambridge (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Frinken, V., Bunke, H.: Evaluating Retraining Rules for Semi-Supervised Learning in Neural Network Based Cursive Word Recognition. In: 10th Int’l Conf. on Document Analysis and Recognition, pp. 31–35 (2009)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Frinken, V., Bunke, H.: Self-Training Strategies for Handwritten Word Recognition. In: Perner, P. (ed.) ICDM 2009. LNCS, vol. 5633, pp. 291–300. Springer, Heidelberg (2009)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Govindaraju, V., Xue, H.: Fast Handwriting Recognition for Indexing Historical Documents. In: First Int’l Workshop on Document Image Analysis for Libraries, pp. 314–320. IEEE Computer Society, Los Alamitos (2004)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Graves, A., Fernández, S., Gomez, F., Schmidhuber, J.: Connectionist Temporal Classification: Labelling Unsegmented Sequential Data with Recurrent Neural Networks. In: 23rd Int’l Conf. on Machine Learning, pp. 369–376 (2006)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Graves, A., Liwicki, M., Fernández, S., Bertolami, R., Bunke, H., Schmidhuber, J.: A Novel Connectionist System for Unconstrained Handwriting Recognition. IEEE Transaction on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence 31(5), 855–868 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Inoue, M., Ueda, N.: Exploitation of Unlabeled Sequences in Hidden Markov Models. IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence 25(12), 1570–1581 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ji, S., Watson, L.T., Carin, L.: Semisupervised Learning of Hidden Markov Models via a Homotopy Method. IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence 31(2), 275–287 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Marti, U.V., Bunke, H.: Using a Statistical Language Model to Improve the Performance of an HMM-Based Cursive Handwriting Recognition System. Int’l Journal of Pattern Recognition and Artificial Intelligence 15, 65–90 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Marti, U.V., Bunke, H.: The IAM-Database: An English Sentence Database for Offline Handwriting Recognition. Int’l Journal on Document Analysis and Recognition 5, 39–46 (2002)CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Palacios, R., Gupta, A., Wang, P.S.: Handwritten Bank Check Recognition of Courtesy Amounts. Int’l Journal of Image and Graphics 4(2), 1–20 (2004)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Seeger, M.: Learning with Labeled and Unlabeled Data. Tech. rep., University of Edinburgh, 5 Forest Hill, Edinburgh, EH1 2QL (2002)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Vinciarelli, A.: A Survey On Off-Line Cursive Word Recognition. Pattern Recognition 35(7), 1433–1446 (2002)CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Vinciarelli, A., Bengio, S., Bunke, H.: Offline Recognition of Unconstrained Handwritten Texts Using HMMs and Statistical Language Models. IEEE Trans. on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence 26(6), 709–720 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Wang, L., Jiang, T.: On the complexity of multiple sequence alignment. Journal of Computational Biology 1(4), 337–348 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ye, M., Viola, P.A., Raghupathy, S., Sutanto, H., Li, C.: Learning to Group Text Lines and Regions in Freeform Handwritten Notes. In: Ninth Int’l Conf. on Document Analysis and Recognition, pp. 28–32. IEEE Computer Society, Los Alamitos (2007)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Zhu, X.: Semi-Supervised Learning Literature Survey. Tech. Rep. 1530, Computer Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2005),

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Volkmar Frinken
    • 1
  • Horst Bunke
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Computer Science and Applied MathematicsUniversity of BernSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations