Unsupervised text line segmentation

ICPR 2020

Abstract: We present an unsupervised text line segmentation method that is inspired by the relative variance between text lines and spaces among text lines. Handwritten text line segmentation is important for the efficiency of further processing. A common method is to train a deep learning network for embedding the document image into an image of blob lines that are tracing the text lines. Previous methods learned such embedding in a supervised manner, requiring the annotation of many document images. This paper presents an unsupervised embedding of document image patches without a need for annotations. The main idea is that the number of foreground pixels over the text lines is relatively different from the number of foreground pixels over the spaces among text lines. Generating similar and different pairs relying on this principle definitely leads to outliers. However, as the results show, the outliers do not harm the convergence and the network learns to discriminate the text lines from the spaces between text lines. We experimented with a challenging Arabic handwritten text line segmentation dataset, VML-AHTE, and achieved a superior performance even over the supervised methods. Authors: Berat Kurar Barakat, Ahmad Droby, Rym Alasam, Boraq Madi, Irina Rabaev, Raed Shammes, Jihad El-Sana (Ben-Gurion University)