Text recognition methods are gaining rapid development. Some advanced techniques, e.g., powerful modules, language models, and un- and semi-supervised learning schemes, consecutively push the performance on public benchmarks forward. However, the problem of how to better optimize a text recognition model from the perspective of loss functions is largely overlooked. CTC-based methods, widely used in practice due to their good balance between performance and inference speed, still grapple with accuracy degradation. This is because CTC loss emphasizes the optimization of the entire sequence target while neglecting to learn individual characters. We propose a self-distillation scheme for CTC-based model to address this issue. It incorporates a framewise regularization term in CTC loss to emphasize individual supervision, and leverages the maximizing-a-posteriori of latent alignment to solve the inconsistency problem that arises in distillation between CTC-based models. We refer to the regularized CTC loss as Distillation Connectionist Temporal Classification (DCTC) loss. DCTC loss is module-free, requiring no extra parameters, longer inference lag, or additional training data or phases. Extensive experiments on public benchmarks demonstrate that DCTC can boost text recognition model accuracy by up to 2.6%, without any of these drawbacks.
Existing text recognition methods usually need large-scale training data. Most of them rely on synthetic training data due to the lack of annotated real images. However, there is a domain gap between the synthetic data and real data, which limits the performance of the text recognition models. Recent self-supervised text recognition methods attempted to utilize unlabeled real images by introducing contrastive learning, which mainly learns the discrimination of the text images. Inspired by the observation that humans learn to recognize the texts through both reading and writing, we propose to learn discrimination and generation by integrating contrastive learning and masked image modeling in our self-supervised method. The contrastive learning branch is adopted to learn the discrimination of text images, which imitates the reading behavior of humans. Meanwhile, masked image modeling is firstly introduced for text recognition to learn the context generation of the text images, which is similar to the writing behavior. The experimental results show that our method outperforms previous self-supervised text recognition methods by 10.2%-20.2% on irregular scene text recognition datasets. Moreover, our proposed text recognizer exceeds previous state-of-the-art text recognition methods by averagely 5.3% on 11 benchmarks, with similar model size. We also demonstrate that our pre-trained model can be easily applied to other text-related tasks with obvious performance gain.
Ethiopic/Amharic script is one of the oldest African writing systems, which serves at least 23 languages (e.g., Amharic, Tigrinya) in East Africa for more than 120 million people. The Amharic writing system, Abugida, has 282 syllables, 15 punctuation marks, and 20 numerals. The Amharic syllabic matrix is derived from 34 base graphemes/consonants by adding up to 12 appropriate diacritics or vocalic markers to the characters. The syllables with a common consonant or vocalic markers are likely to be visually similar and challenge text recognition tasks. In this work, we presented the first comprehensive public datasets named HUST-ART, HUST-AST, ABE, and Tana for Amharic script detection and recognition in the natural scene. We have also conducted extensive experiments to evaluate the performance of the state of art methods in detecting and recognizing Amharic scene text on our datasets. The evaluation results demonstrate the robustness of our datasets for benchmarking and its potential of promoting the development of robust Amharic script detection and recognition algorithms. Consequently, the outcome will benefit people in East Africa, including diplomats from several countries and international communities.
Recently, segmentation-based scene text detection methods have drawn extensive attention in the scene text detection field, because of their superiority in detecting the text instances of arbitrary shapes and extreme aspect ratios, profiting from the pixel-level descriptions. However, the vast majority of the existing segmentation-based approaches are limited to their complex post-processing algorithms and the scale robustness of their segmentation models, where the post-processing algorithms are not only isolated to the model optimization but also time-consuming and the scale robustness is usually strengthened by fusing multi-scale feature maps directly. In this paper, we propose a Differentiable Binarization (DB) module that integrates the binarization process, one of the most important steps in the post-processing procedure, into a segmentation network. Optimized along with the proposed DB module, the segmentation network can produce more accurate results, which enhances the accuracy of text detection with a simple pipeline. Furthermore, an efficient Adaptive Scale Fusion (ASF) module is proposed to improve the scale robustness by fusing features of different scales adaptively. By incorporating the proposed DB and ASF with the segmentation network, our proposed scene text detector consistently achieves state-of-the-art results, in terms of both detection accuracy and speed, on five standard benchmarks.
Single-cell sequencing has a significant role to explore biological processes such as embryonic development, cancer evolution, and cell differentiation. These biological properties can be presented by a two-dimensional scatter plot. However, single-cell sequencing data generally has very high dimensionality. Therefore, dimensionality reduction should be used to process the high dimensional sequencing data for 2D visualization and subsequent biological analysis. The traditional dimensionality reduction methods, which do not consider the structure characteristics of single-cell sequencing data, are difficult to reveal the data structure in the 2D representation. In this paper, we develop a 2D feature representation method based on graph convolutional networks (GCN) for the visualization of single-cell data, termed single-cell sequencing graph embedding networks (SGEN). This method constructs the graph by the similarity relationship between cells and adopts GCN to analyze the neighbor embedding information of samples, which makes the similar cell closer to each other on the 2D scatter plot. The results show SGEN achieves obvious 2D distribution and preserves the high-dimensional relationship of different cells. Meanwhile, similar cell clusters have spatial continuity rather than relying heavily on random initialization, which can reflect the trajectory of cell development in this scatter plot.
Over the past few years, the field of scene text detection has progressed rapidly that modern text detectors are able to hunt text in various challenging scenarios. However, they might still fall short when handling text instances of extreme aspect ratios and varying scales. To tackle such difficulties, we propose in this paper a new algorithm for scene text detection, which puts forward a set of strategies to significantly improve the quality of text localization. Specifically, a Text Feature Alignment Module (TFAM) is proposed to dynamically adjust the receptive fields of features based on initial raw detections; a Position-Aware Non-Maximum Suppression (PA-NMS) module is devised to selectively concentrate on reliable raw detections and exclude unreliable ones; besides, we propose an Instance-wise IoU loss for balanced training to deal with text instances of different scales. An extensive ablation study demonstrates the effectiveness and superiority of the proposed strategies. The resulting text detection system, which integrates the proposed strategies with a leading scene text detector EAST, achieves state-of-the-art or competitive performance on various standard benchmarks for text detection while keeping a fast running speed.
Scene text detection, which is one of the most popular topics in both academia and industry, can achieve remarkable performance with sufficient training data. However, the annotation costs of scene text detection are huge with traditional labeling methods due to the various shapes of texts. Thus, it is practical and insightful to study simpler labeling methods without harming the detection performance. In this paper, we propose to annotate the texts by scribble lines instead of polygons for text detection. It is a general labeling method for texts with various shapes and requires low labeling costs. Furthermore, a weakly-supervised scene text detection framework is proposed to use the scribble lines for text detection. The experiments on several benchmarks show that the proposed method bridges the performance gap between the weakly labeling method and the original polygon-based labeling methods, with even better performance. We will release the weak annotations of the benchmarks in our experiments and hope it will benefit the field of scene text detection to achieve better performance with simpler annotations.
Recent end-to-end trainable methods for scene text spotting, integrating detection and recognition, showed much progress. However, most of the current arbitrary-shape scene text spotters use region proposal networks (RPN) to produce proposals. RPN relies heavily on manually designed anchors and its proposals are represented with axis-aligned rectangles. The former presents difficulties in handling text instances of extreme aspect ratios or irregular shapes, and the latter often includes multiple neighboring instances into a single proposal, in cases of densely oriented text. To tackle these problems, we propose Mask TextSpotter v3, an end-to-end trainable scene text spotter that adopts a Segmentation Proposal Network (SPN) instead of an RPN. Our SPN is anchor-free and gives accurate representations of arbitrary-shape proposals. It is therefore superior to RPN in detecting text instances of extreme aspect ratios or irregular shapes. Furthermore, the accurate proposals produced by SPN allow masked RoI features to be used for decoupling neighboring text instances. As a result, our Mask TextSpotter v3 can handle text instances of extreme aspect ratios or irregular shapes, and its recognition accuracy won't be affected by nearby text or background noise. Specifically, we outperform state-of-the-art methods by 21.9 percent on the Rotated ICDAR 2013 dataset (rotation robustness), 5.9 percent on the Total-Text dataset (shape robustness), and achieve state-of-the-art performance on the MSRA-TD500 dataset (aspect ratio robustness). Code is available at: https://github.com/MhLiao/MaskTextSpotterV3
Chinese scene text reading is one of the most challenging problems in computer vision and has attracted great interest. Different from English text, Chinese has more than 6000 commonly used characters and Chinesecharacters can be arranged in various layouts with numerous fonts. The Chinese signboards in street view are a good choice for Chinese scene text images since they have different backgrounds, fonts and layouts. We organized a competition called ICDAR2019-ReCTS, which mainly focuses on reading Chinese text on signboard. This report presents the final results of the competition. A large-scale dataset of 25,000 annotated signboard images, in which all the text lines and characters are annotated with locations and transcriptions, were released. Four tasks, namely character recognition, text line recognition, text line detection and end-to-end recognition were set up. Besides, considering the Chinese text ambiguity issue, we proposed a multi ground truth (multi-GT) evaluation method to make evaluation fairer. The competition started on March 1, 2019 and ended on April 30, 2019. 262 submissions from 46 teams are received. Most of the participants come from universities, research institutes, and tech companies in China. There are also some participants from the United States, Australia, Singapore, and Korea. 21 teams submit results for Task 1, 23 teams submit results for Task 2, 24 teams submit results for Task 3, and 13 teams submit results for Task 4. The official website for the competition is http://rrc.cvc.uab.es/?ch=12.