User adaptive handwriting recognition by self-growing probabilistic decision-based neural networks

Hsin Chia Fu*, Hung Yuan Chang, Yeong Yuh Xu, Hsiao-Tien Pao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


It is generally agreed that, for a given handwriting recognition task, a user dependent system usually outperforms a user independent system, as long as a sufficient amount of training data is available. When the amount of user training data is limited, however, such a performance gain is not guaranteed. One way to improve the performance is to make use of existing knowledge, contained in a rich multiuser data base, so that a minimum amount of training data is sufficient to initialize a model for the new user. We mainly address the user adaption issues for a handwriting recognition system. Based on self-growing probabilistic decision-based neural networks (SPDNNs), user adaptation of the parameters of SPDNN is formulated as incremental reinforced and antireinforced learning procedures, which are easily integrated into the batched training procedures of the SPDNN. In this study, we developed 1) an SPDNN based handwriting recognition system; 2) a two-stage recognition structure; and 3) a three-phase training methodology for a) a global coarse classifier (stage 1); b) a user independent hand written character recognizer (stage 2); and c) a user adaptation module on a personal computer. With training and testing on a 600-word commonly used Chinese character set, the recognition results indicate that the user adaptation module significantly improved the recognition accuracy. The average recognition rate increased from 44.2% to 82.4% in five adapting cycles, and the performance could finally increase up to 90.2% in ten adapting cycles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1373-1384
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Networks
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2000


  • Decision-based neural networks (DBNNs)
  • Handwriting recognition
  • Self-growing
  • Self-growing probabilistic DBNN
  • Supervised learning
  • User adaptation (UA)

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