Unconstrained online handwriting recognition with recurrent neural networks

Alex Graves, Santiago Fernández, Marcus Liwicki, Horst Bunke, Jürgen Schmidhuber

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

71 Scopus citations


In online handwriting recognition the trajectory of the pen is recorded during writing. Although the trajectory provides a compact and complete representation of the written output, it is hard to transcribe directly, because each letter is spread over many pen locations. Most recognition systems therefore employ sophisticated preprocessing techniques to put the inputs into a more localised form. However these techniques require considerable human effort, and are specific to particular languages and alphabets. This paper describes a system capable of directly transcribing raw online handwriting data. The system consists of an advanced recurrent neural network with an output layer designed for sequence labelling, combined with a probabilistic language model. In experiments on an unconstrained online database, we record excellent results using either raw or preprocessed data, well outperforming a state-of-the-art HMM based system in both cases.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems 20 - Proceedings of the 2007 Conference
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

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