LAMP Seminar
Language and Media Processing Laboratory
Conference Room 4406
A.V. Williams Building
University of Maryland

April 27, 1999, 1:00 p.m.
Putting Pen to Smart Paper

Jayashree Subrahmonia
Manager, Pen Technologies
IBM T J Watson Research Center,
Yorktown Heights, NY


The Pen Computing Group at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center has developed ThinkScribe, a writing tablet whose "smart paper" medium enables writers to save all their handwritten notes and drawings in their computers. Large vocabulary (40,000 words) unconstrained handwriting recognition software, also developed at Watson can transform the digitized text into standard ASCII characters. The device has potential use in a number of different fields.

In this talk, I will present a brief overview of ThinkScribe and discuss some of the challenges faced by Pen computing in the past and talk about how ThinkScribe addresses some of them. I will then move on to talk about the handwriting recognition engine that forms a key component of this device. The recognition engine uses hidden Markov models to model individual characters. A combination of the character models and smart search strategies result in a real time large vocabulary handwriting recognition system. Although the system offers a user the convenience of operation `out of the box', i.e. without any training on the part of the user, there is a significant improvement in accuracy when trained for an individual's handwriting. In this talk I will also briefly talk about strategies that we use to adapt the writer-independent models to a user's writing style.


Dr. Jayashree Subrahmonia received a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Techcology in Bombay, India; and Masters in Applied Mathematics and PhD in Electrical Engineering from Brown University in Providence, RI. She joined IBM's Thomas J Watson Research Center in 1994 to work on large vocabulary unconstrained online handwriting recognition and currently manages the pen technology group focussing on handwriting recognition and designing hardware platforms for capturing digital ink.

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