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Poster
Offline Handwriting Recognition with Multidimensional Recurrent Neural Networks
Alex Graves · Jürgen Schmidhuber

Wed Dec 10 07:30 PM -- 12:00 AM (PST) @ None #None

Offline handwriting recognition---the transcription of images of handwritten text---is an interesting task, in that it combines computer vision with sequence learning. In most systems the two elements are handled separately, with sophisticated preprocessing techniques used to extract the image features and sequential models such as HMMs used to provide the transcriptions. By combining two recent innovations in neural networks---multidimensional recurrent neural networks and connectionist temporal classification---this paper introduces a globally trained offline handwriting recogniser that takes raw pixel data as input. Unlike competing systems, it does not require any alphabet specific preprocessing, and can therefore be used unchanged for any language. Evidence of its generality and power is provided by data from a recent international Arabic recognition competition, where it outperformed all entries (91.4% accuracy compared to 87.2% for the competition winner) despite the fact that neither author understands a word of Arabic.

Author Information

Alex Graves (Google DeepMind)

Main contributions to neural networks include the Connectionist Temporal Classification training algorithm (widely used for speech, handwriting and gesture recognition, e.g. by Google voice search), a type of differentiable attention for RNNs (originally for handwriting generation, now a standard tool in computer vision, machine translation and elsewhere), stochastic gradient variational inference, and Neural Turing Machines. He works at Google Deep Mind.

Jürgen Schmidhuber (Swiss AI Lab, IDSIA (USI & SUPSI); NNAISENSE; KAUST)

Since age 15 or so, the main goal of professor Jürgen Schmidhuber has been to build a self-improving Artificial Intelligence (AI) smarter than himself, then retire. His lab's Deep Learning Neural Networks based on ideas published in the "Annus Mirabilis" 1990-1991 have revolutionised machine learning and AI. By the mid 2010s, they were on 3 billion devices, and used billions of times per day through users of the world's most valuable public companies, e.g., for greatly improved (CTC-LSTM-based) speech recognition on all Android phones, greatly improved machine translation through Google Translate and Facebook (over 4 billion LSTM-based translations per day), Apple's Siri and Quicktype on all iPhones, the answers of Amazon's Alexa, and numerous other applications. In 2011, his team was the first to win official computer vision contests through deep neural nets, with superhuman performance. In 2012, they had the first deep NN to win a medical imaging contest (on cancer detection). All of this attracted enormous interest from industry. His research group also established the fields of mathematically rigorous universal AI and recursive self-improvement in metalearning machines that learn to learn (since 1987). In 1990, he introduced unsupervised adversarial neural networks that fight each other in a minimax game to achieve artificial curiosity (GANs are a special case). In 1991, he introduced very deep learning through unsupervised pre-training, and neural fast weight programmers formally equivalent to what's now called linear Transformers. His formal theory of creativity & curiosity & fun explains art, science, music, and humor. He also generalized algorithmic information theory and the many-worlds theory of physics, and introduced the concept of Low-Complexity Art, the information age's extreme form of minimal art. He is recipient of numerous awards, author of over 350 peer-reviewed papers, and Chief Scientist of the company NNAISENSE, which aims at building the first practical general purpose AI. He is a frequent keynote speaker, and advising various governments on AI strategies.

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