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Scale and Rotation Invariant OCR for Pashto Cursive Script using MDLSTM Network

Riaz Ahmad; Muhammad Zeshan Afzal; Sheikh Faisal Rashid; Marcus Liwicki; Thomas Breuel
In: IEEE. International Conference on Document Analysis and Recognition (ICDAR-13), August 22-26, Nancy, France, Other, 8/2015.


Optical Character Recognition (OCR) of cursive scripts like Pashto and Urdu is difficult due the presence of complex ligatures and connected writing styles. In this paper, we evaluate and compare different approaches for the recognition of such complex ligatures. The approaches include Hidden Markov Model (HMM), Long Short Term Memory (LSTM) network and Scale Invariant Feature Transform (SIFT). Current state of the art in cursive script assumes constant scale without any rotation, while real world data contain rotation and scale variations. This research aims to evaluate the performance of sequence classifiers like HMM and LSTM and compare their performance with descriptor based classifier like SIFT. In addition, we also assess the performance of these methods against the scale and rotation variations in cursive script ligatures. Moreover, we introduce a database of 480,000 images containing 1000 unique ligatures or sub-words of Pashto. In this database, each ligature has 40 scale and 12 rotation variations. The evaluation results show a significantly improved performance of LSTM over HMM and traditional feature extraction technique such as SIFT.

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