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CCI Distinguished Speaker Series: Dr. Stephen Watt
Start Date: 5/6/2019Start Time: 11:00 AM
End Date: 5/6/2019End Time: 12:00 PM

Event Description
The College of Computing & Informatics (CCI) is proud to present a lecture from Dr. Stephen M. Watt (Dean, Faculty of Mathematics & Professor, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo) as part of the 2019 Distinguished Speaker Series.

About the Talk:
Accurate algorithmic recognition of handwritten mathematics offers to provide a natural interface for mathematical computing, document creation and collaboration. Mathematical handwriting, however, brings a number of challenges beyond what is required for recognition of handwritten natural languages. For example, it is usual to use symbols from a range of different alphabets and there are many similar-looking symbols. Many writers are unfamiliar with the symbols they must use and therefore write them idiosyncratically. Mathematical notation is two-dimensional and size and placement information is important. Additionally, there is no fixed vocabulary of mathematical "words" that can be used to disambiguate symbol sequences. On the other hand, there are some simplifications. For example, symbols do tend to be well-segmented. With these characteristics, new methods of character recognition are important for accurate handwritten mathematics input.
We present a set of mathematical techniques that we have found useful for recognizing mathematical symbols. Characters are represented as parametric curves approximated by certain truncated orthogonal series. This maps symbols to the low dimensional vector space of series coefficients that may be obtained via real time numerical integration. The Euclidean distance in this space is closely related to the variational integral between two curves and may be used to find similar symbols very efficiently. Training data sets with hundreds of classes are seen to be almost linearly separable, allowing highly effective classification by a number of machine learning techniques. We find this geometric approach to give a single, coherent view with remarkably high recognition rates that do not rely on peculiarities of the symbol set.
About the Speaker
Stephen M. Watt is Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo and Professor in its David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science.  He previously held positions at Western University, the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center (USA) and INRIA (France).  Watt’s research areas include algorithms and systems for computer algebra, optimizing compilers and mathematical handwriting recognition. He was one of the original authors of the Maple and Axiom computer algebra systems, principal architect of the Aldor programming language at IBM Research, and co-author of the MathML and InkML W3C standards.  He has been active in the Waterloo area innovation environment as a company founder and as an independent director.   He presently serves on the boards of the Numerical Algorithm Group Ltd (UK) and the McMichael Canadian Art Foundation.

This event is free and open to the Drexel community.

Contact Information:
Email: raiken@drexel.edu
The Quorum, 3675 Market Street, 2nd Floor, Room Q4A
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