Previous editions of the International Workshop on Frotiers in Handwriting Recognition (IWFHR) were held in Montreal (1990), Bonas (1991), Buffalo (1993), Taipei (1994), Colchester (1996), Taejon City (1998), Amsterdam (2000), Niagara-on-the-Lake (2002), and Tokyo (2004). The workshop was organized under the auspices of the IAPR Technical Committee 11 on ‘Reading Systems’.
The aim of IWFHR is to provide a forum for the exchange of knowledge in the field of handwriting recognition. Both modalities, on-line and off-line, are considered. There are a number of well-established applications of handwriting recognition, for example, reading of postal addresses, bank checks, and forms. However, in the recent past, we have seen new applications emerging, for example, from novel digital pen and paper devices and from pen-based man-machine interfaces for PDAs, smart phones, and tablet PCs. Also, the development of digital libraries—in particular, the task of converting historical archives into electronic format—has led to a new interest in handwriting recognition.
The workshop received 133 submissions from 24 countries and four continents. Out of these submissions, 38 papers were selected for oral presentation and another 60 for the poster sessions. The workshop was attended by 140 participants from 21 different countries. Because of many potential commercial applications, there was a good mixture of people from industry and academia at the workshop.
The papers were organized in nine oral and three poster sessions. Posters were orally introduced by the authors in a so-called “poster teaser” session, where each author was given one minute to highlight the main contributions of his or her poster.
There were two invited talks, one on “Some Recent Advances in Machine Learning” by Olivier Bousquet and the other on “Language Models for Handwriting Recognition” by Joshua Goodman. Also, there was an invited session where the projects RIMES and InkML were addressed, and the results of a competition on on-line Tamil handwritten character recognition were announced. The winner of the contest was Zsolt Wimmer from Vision Objects. The best student paper award was given to the paper “A new algorithm for detecting text line in handwritten documents” by Y. Li, Y. Zheng, D. Doerman, and S. Jaeger. Prof. C. Y. Suen received an award for having initiated this workshop series.
Interest in Japanese and Chinese handwriting recognition has been traditionally high at IWFHR. This time, one could recognize rising interest in the recognition of other non-Roman languages and scripts, particularly in Arabic and Indian handwriting recognition. The fact that there are 24 official languages with 12 different scripts in India clearly underlines the need for research in non-western languages and scripts.
La Baule, the location of the workshop, is a lovely resort town in South Brittany on the Atlantic coast in France. In addition to purely scientific aspects, there was ample room for social interactions among the participants. Conference registration started on the evening before the first day, accompanied by a reception where the participants were welcomed by the deputy mayor of the town. On the evening of the first workshop day, a dinner with specialities from the regional cuisine was served. The banquet on the evening of the second day was surely a highlight of the social program. It was served during a cruise on the Erdre river in the region of Nantes. Before the dinner there was an opportunity to participate in a city tour of Nantes and visit a local winery.
In addition to IAPR, there were a number of sponsors of this workshop, including the Universities of Nantes, Rennes, and Rouen; INSA Rennes; the Laboratoire Informatique de Paris 6 (LIP6); the Foundation Michel Métevier; the Région Pays de la Loire; the International Unipen Foundation; Microsoft Research; Vision Objects; A2iA; HP Labs India; France Télécom R&D; SELISA/Ladservices; and Parascript LLC.
The next edition of IWFHR will be held at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada from August 19 to 21, 2008. It has been decided to “promote” the workshop to a conference and organize it as ‘11th International Conference on Frontiers in Handwriting Recognition’ (11th ICFHR). Also, the location of 12th ICFHR has been decided. It will take place in Siliguri, Darjeeling, India from September 27 to 30, 2010.
Workshop Report: IWFHR-10
Guy Lorette (France)
Horst Bunke (Switzerland)
Lambert Schomaker (The Netherlands)
10 th IWFHR 2006 in La Baule (France): The organizing committee on the green!
Slides from Olivier BOUSQUET’s keynote speech:
Slides from Joshua GOODMAN’s keynote speech:
The RIMES Project:
InkML which is also a part of the
"Multimodal Interaction Activity"
On-line Tamil Handwritten Character Recognition Competition: