Suggested Research Topics
The following research topics suggested by Dr. Cha and Dr. Tappert are suitable for D.P.S. or M.S. dissertations,
and also for preliminary studies in research-related courses.
Of course, the research conducted must be more extensive for a D.P.S. dissertation than for an M.S. one,
and similarly for an M.S. dissertation relative to the research required for a course.
For many of these topics preliminary research has been undertaken either by us or by some of our students.
Significant research opportunities exist in each of these topics
by either extending the earlier work or by undertaking new approaches.
Combining human and machine capabilities for improved accuracy and speed in critical visual recognition tasks.
We are interested in enhancing human-computer interaction in applications of pattern recognition
where higher accuracy is required than is currently achievable by automated systems,
but where there is enough time for a limited amount of human interaction.
This topic has so far received only limited attention from the research community.
Our current, model-based approach to interactive recognition was originated at RPI,
and then investigated jointly at RPI and Pace University.
Our success in recognizing flowers establishes a methodology for continued work in this area, see
Our objective is to develop guidelines for the design of mobile interactive object classification systems;
to explore where interaction is, and where it is not, appropriate;
and to demonstrate working interactive recognition systems in three very different domains:
foreign signs, faces, and skin diseases, see
Automatic extraction of dynamic information from static images of handwriting for forensic studies.
Forensic handwriting examination has the challenge of working only with static images of handwriting.
However, much of the information relating to the identity of the specific writer,
or relating to whether the writing was natural or distorted, is contained in the dynamics of the handwriting.
Therefore, it is important in the field of forensic science to develop digital image processing techniques
to evaluate the dynamic and temporal components of the handwriting from static images.
Specific topics in this area include:
Language recognition from text input.
The detection of handwriting forged by novices.
It is known that many forgeries, particularly those by novice forgers, are
written slowly in order to accurately capture the writing shape and style of the true writer.
Initial work in this area dealt with the development of a fractal number estimate of the wrinkliness
of the handwriting from static images
where we found an inverse correlation between the wrinkliness and the speed of the writing, see
Handwriting analyzer that determines a person's handwriting style and nationality.
Currently, an M.S. student is creating online handwriting samples by tracing offline ones from known writers
with the objective of training and testing a Bayesian classifier to recognize the nationality of the writer,
or at least to eliminate some of the possibilities.
An analyzer that determines a writer's handedness and pen grip from static images of the handwriting.
For forensic examinations it is important to be able to determine
the probability that a writer of a document was left-handed or right-handed.
Determining the writer's pen grip is also of significant value.
This is a topic that has important applications but has been minimally explored.
One application is to find websites in a particular language and possibly in a particular domain as well.
Another application is to detect a language shift, say from English to French,
within the same document
with the purpose of appropriately shifting to the proper accent when converting
into speech in a Text-To-Speech (TTS) system.
Otherwise, the TTS system when reading such sentences will treat everything as though it were English
and likely mispronounce words in the other language.
Offline handwriting synthesis of a particular writer's style.
Forensic examiners would like the capability of creating a handwriting document in a particular writer's style.
For example, the FBI might want to synthetically create a ransom note in a particular writer's style.
Development of a system of shorthand chatroom symbols for handheld devices and tablet PCs.
Alphabets of shorthand symbols have been developed for handheld devices, notably the Graffiti alphabet
for Palm handhelds. An extension of this for even faster input would be to use shorthand symbols
that correspond to words and phrases such as the text symbols used for chatroom communication.
"Look Who's Speaking" Robot.
For interactive man/machine dialogue it is desirable to develop a robot
that turns to focus on the speaker.
This will involve the determination of the location of the speaker
from the audio signal of the voice source or from the visual image of the speaker, or both.
Dr. Cha's dissertation was on writer individuality where he employed a dichotomy model
of feature vector differences that is inferable to the general population.
Other applications for which studies can be made using the same model include:
Technology life cycle.
We have conducted preliminary investigations of speaker individuality based on earlier work
by Dr. Cha on writer individuality. The idea is to determine whether a speaker's voice is
sufficient to accurately verify the identity of the speaker.
Related work involves, for example, such topics as whether a speaker can disguise his/her speech
sufficiently so as not to be identified.
Individuality based on a person's iris.
Individuality based on fingerprints.
A dissertation on the technology life cycle that combines the information on the phases of the cycles
described by Kendall and Kurzweil (and possibly others),
that gives examples of technologies as they have gone through the cycle,
and that presents one or more hypotheses and provides evidence to support them.
For example, your hypothesis might be that the time period from invention to general use for AI inventions
is longer than for non-AI inventions, as suggested by the author of Kendall's chapter 6.
Another hypothesis might be that the time period from invention to general use for Internet inventions
is shorter than for non-Internet inventions.
Yet another might be that the time period from invention to general use has been getting shorter and shorter,
as might be anticipated by Kurzweil's idea of time speeding up.