Electronic Systems Design Seminar

Discerning Structure from Freeform Sketches

Michael Shilman
Ph.D. Candidate
Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
of California at Berkeley


Monday, February 3, 2003, 4:00pm-5:00pm
540AB Cory Hall (DOP Center Classroom)




Despite a rich history of research that uses sketch recognition to make drawings come to life, there are few practical successes.  One promising approach is to disregard recognition during the drawing process, instead emphasizing the value of "ink as ink" and presenting the user with the abstraction of a blank sheet of paper.  Yet there are numerous ways that recognition can add value to the ink after it has been captured, including but not limited to, better search, archival, editing, and information sharing.


In this talk I motivate the need for recognition systems that recognize ink strokes that have been laid down on a paper-like surface, discerning structure after the fact so as not to interrupt thought capture.  I give three examples of original domain-specific algorithms that obey this principle.  The first is a recognizer which pulls handwriting structure out of freeform notes and has been built into a shipping commercial product. The second recognizes freeform annotation markup in a structured document context.  The third is a more general ink parsing algorithm for context-free visual diagramming languages.


Michael is a PhD candidate in EECS at UC Berkeley.  His work is in the areas of sketch recognition algorithms, sketch user interfaces, and computer aided design tools.  As an intern at Microsoft he was a key contributor to the first-generation ink parsing algorithms of the Tablet PC and to the design of its parsing architecture.


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