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Title: An Exploration of Deep Learning Architectures for Handwritten Text Recognition
Authors: Vasiliki, Tassopoulou
Μαραγκός Πέτρος
Keywords: Handwritten Text Recognition
Multitask Learning
Sequence Modeling
Decoding Algorithms
Convolutional Networks
Dynamic Data Augmentation
Statistical Language Models
Issue Date: 7-Nov-2019
Abstract: The objective of this thesis is the study of the Handwritten Text Recognition problem with the use of deep learning models. In this thesis, we experiment with a variety of tasks that apply to the whole pipeline that synthesizes our final model. At first, we implement the baseline architecture and then we experiment with dynamic data augmentation. We implement two new augmentation techniques, the local affine transform, and the local morphological transform. Our incentive behind this is the implementation of transformations that will augment the letters and not the whole text line. Generally, we deduced that dynamic data augmentation makes the model more able to generalize and improves recognition rates. Then, we experiment with the CTC alignments that our model learns. We augment the target sequence with bigrams, except for unigrams. We train such complex alignments so as to obtain a bigram level visual language model and we utilize it in two new CTC beam search decoding algorithms, extended in such way so as to support the integration of obtained bigram information, in order to improve the recognition rates. Thereinafter, we experiment with multitask architectures with CTC, both hierarchical and block. Our experiments culminate in significant improvement in the recognition rate. With the multitask approach we exploit the language information (domain knowledge) in two ways. We integrate it both in the learning procedure via the ngrams, that are selected as target units, and the decoding process via the statistical language models. Finally, we implement a fully convolutional architecture where both the optical and sequential models were composed of convolutions. We show that the CTC layer can be successfully employed on top of a CNN network. Also, we found out that one-dimensional convolution can model sufficiently the temporal relationships among the features. Finally, our fully convolutional model converges fast, has significantly lower training and inference time and has also respectfully fewer parameters than the aforementioned architectures.
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