Recognition and verification of unconstrained handwritten words

Alessandro L Koerich, Robert Sabourin, Ching Y Suen
IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence 2005, 27 (10): 1509-22
This paper presents a novel approach for the verification of the word hypotheses generated by a large vocabulary, offline handwritten word recognition system. Given a word image, the recognition system produces a ranked list of the N-best recognition hypotheses consisting of text transcripts, segmentation boundaries of the word hypotheses into characters, and recognition scores. The verification consists of an estimation of the probability of each segment representing a known class of character. Then, character probabilities are combined to produce word confidence scores which are further integrated with the recognition scores produced by the recognition system. The N-best recognition hypothesis list is reranked based on such composite scores. In the end, rejection rules are invoked to either accept the best recognition hypothesis of such a list or to reject the input word image. The use of the verification approach has improved the word recognition rate as well as the reliability of the recognition system, while not causing significant delays in the recognition process. Our approach is described in detail and the experimental results on a large database of unconstrained handwritten words extracted from postal envelopes are presented.

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