The first impulse to UNIPEN was given at the 11th IAPR-IEEE International Conference on Pattern Recognition, in September 1992, by a group of experts, the Technical Committee 11 of the IAPR, Professor Rejean Plamondon chairman. Information on the International Association for Pattern Recognition (IAPR)) and the Technical Committee 11 is available. Two IAPR delegates (Isabelle Guyon and Lambert Schomaker) were designated to explore the possibility to create large databases for on-line handwriting recognition research and development.
A small working group was constituted to get the project started. In May 1993, a nucleus of experts in on-line handwriting recognition (Tetsu Fujisaki (IBM), Ronjon Nag (Lexicus), Sandy Benett (GO/EO), Dick Lyons (Apple), Yves Chauvin (NetID), Dave Reynolds and Dan Flickinger (HP), Isabelle Guyon (AT&T) and Lambert Schomaker (NICI)) laid the foundations of UNIPEN. It was proposed that a common data format would be designed to facilitate data exchange. It was decided that contacts would be made with the Linguistic Data Consortium and the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) to get the data distributed and arbitrate benchmarks.
In summer 1993, the UNIPEN format was designed, incorporating features of the internal formats of several institutions, including IBM, Apple (Tap), Microsoft, Slate (Jot), HP, AT&T, NICI, GO and CIC. The format was then tested independently by the members of working group. A second iteration of test was organized in autumn 1993 to check the changes and additions to the format. In particular, the benchmark protocol was tested. The resulting format was internally used at AT&T and NICI (the home institutions of Isabelle Guyon and Lambert Schomaker) to collect data and benchmark recognizers.
In parallel, a set of Unipen Software Tools to parse the format and to browse the data was developed at AT&T and NICI.
In January 1994, the negotiations with LDC and NIST concretized into the organization of the first UNIPEN benchmark.
In March 1994, UNIPEN advertized its existence on several electronic mailing lists, resulting in nearly 200 subscriptions to the UNIPEN newsletter.
In June 1994, the instructions for participations to the first UNIPEN benchmark, limited to the Latin alphabet, are released. October 1st, 1994 was the deadline for submitting data.
For a number of reasons, the planned benchmark round did not take place as of 9 September 1999. Therefore, in order to safeguard the public academic distribution of the Unipen data, the International Unipen Foundation (iUF) was raised.
|vice president||Isabelle Guyon|
|academia||prof. Rejean Plamondon|
|industry||prof. Jean-Claude Simon|
In February 2000, Prof. Simon sadly passed away. His place in the Advisory Board has been taken over by Prof. Guy Lorette.
In september 2000, the IWFHR-7 conference was organized by the iUF.
During the year 2001, new initiatives have been developed, notably in the area of an XML-based format for on-line handwritten data which has properties suitable for applications in pen-based computers. It is the intention of the involved industrial group to integrate these efforts within the MPEG7 standard. Several aspects of the UNIPEN format philosophy will have to be retained, notably the demand for a veridical temporal reconstruction of handwritten movements at the receiving end.