Effective technique for the recognition of offline Arabic handwritten words using hidden Markov models

Author's Department

Electronics & Communications Engineering Department

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Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

International Journal on Document Analysis and Recognition

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In this paper, we present a novel segmentation-free Arabic handwriting recognition system based on hidden Markov model (HMM). Two main contributions are introduced: a new technique for dividing the image into nonuniform horizontal segments to extract the features and a new technique for solving the problems of the skewing of characters by fusing multiple HMMs. Moreover, two enhancements are introduced: the pre-processing method and feature extraction using concavity space. The proposed system first pre-processes the input image by setting the thickness of the input word to three pixels and fixing the spacing between the different parts of the word. The input image is divided into constant number of nonuniform horizontal segments depending on the distribution of the foreground pixels. A set of robust features representing the gradient of the foreground pixels is extracted using sliding windows. The input image is decomposed into several images representing the vertical, horizontal, left diagonal and right diagonal edges in the image. A set of robust features representing the densities of the foreground pixels in the various edge images is extracted using sliding windows. The proposed system builds character HMM models and learns word HMM models using embedded training. Besides the vertical sliding window, two slanted sliding windows are used to extract the features. Three different HMMs are used: one for the vertical sliding window and two for the slanted windows. A fusion scheme is used to combine the three HMMs. The proposed system is very promising and outperforms all the other Arabic handwriting recognition systems reported in the literature. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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