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TechGC Newsletter July 2012
The astonishing technology enabling computers to recognise and convert characters from paper-based documents into electronic documents in seconds is progressing at lightening pace as consumers fully embrace digital technologies like Smart phones, eReaders and eWriters.
Advancing the science that drives this pattern recognition technology was the focus for around 130 leading computer researchers and academics from around the world who converged on the Gold Coast in March 2012 for the 10th IAPR International Workshop on Document Analysis Systems (“DAS 2012”).
Associate Professor Michael Blumenstein, Chair of the Workshop and Dean of Griffith University’s Research, Science, Environment, Engineering and Technology Group, said he was proud to have brought some of the top minds in the field to Australia.
“We had a magnificent line up of academic researchers and industry experts from various universities and companies around the world. It was a really exciting opportunity to hear from them and also to show off of our own leading research from Griffith University here on the Gold Coast,” A/Professor Blumenstein said.
“We’re delighted with the feedback we’re receiving from delegates. We had more delegates than we expected, and many are telling me that it was the most successful workshop to date,” he said.
Ground breaking research was presented among the oral and poster sessions during the three day event, and guests were treated to a keynote address by Google’s research scientist Dr Samy Bengio.
“Dr Bengio's presentation was certainly a highlight, as he provided both a research and an industry perspective to address some of the big problems in the area of document analysis,” A/Professor Blumenstein said.
“Almost every sector of the global economy now uses and benefits in some way from document analysis, as it’s now fundamental to the lives of most people around the world. At the workshop, we were able to share exciting insights into the future of how technology could evolve.
“For example, one of our Griffith researchers presented on new methods to read extremely difficult to recognise text, from low res video scenes, on any angle or surface. The applications for this are fantastic – it means a non-English speaking tourist could use SmartPhone technology to navigate their way around the English speaking world with ease; or a blind person could use the technology to empower them to catch the correct bus.
“If systems are able to recognise, verify and store for example, hand-written forms in seconds, which traditionally may have taken a significantly longer time, then the productivity and efficiency gains for government, business, consumers and research could be absolutely enormous,” he said.
This was the first time the biannual workshop has been held in Australia since the International Association for Pattern Recognition convened the series in 1994. A/Professor Blumenstein said the Gold Coast was a natural choice for the event.
“Griffith University here on the Gold Coast has the largest concentration of this type of research in Australia. We’re very active and have a strong standing in the global field. We created a great committee early on in the bidding process, and the international association knew they could rely on us to create a successful technical and social program.
“The attractions of the Gold Coast also played a key factor in its choice. Guests absolutely loved the beach! From our venue – the Crown Plaza – we were in walking distance to both Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach, which was a real bonus for everyone,” he said.
A/Professor Blumenstein said the organising committee aimed to weave the essence of Australia into every aspect of the event, offering guests a truly Australian experience.
“Our international guests got a really wonderful taste of Australia,” he said.
“We treated delegates to a trip to ‘The Outback Spectacular’ – a very unique and exciting evening dinner show filled with outback music, drama and action. During our evening cocktail reception, we had an Aboriginal performer, and we had an Indigenous Elder provide a Welcome-to-Country speech at the opening of the Workshop. And of course, most, if not all of the delegates took advantage of the Gold Coast's fantastic weather and hospitality and took the opportunity to visit some of the Gold Coasts many visitor attractions.
“Overall, I couldn’t be any happier with the outcome of the workshop. The venue was great, the event ran smoothly. It was so nice to have some of the top minds in the field here in the city where I have studied and practiced.
“Most importantly, we had a fruitful exchange of technical expertise which, ultimately, will help to push our field forward on a global scale,” he said.
Event 10th IAPR International Workshop on Document Analysis Systems - DAS 2012
Delegates 130 delegates from 32 countries
Destination Gold Coast, Australia
Duration 26-29 March 2012
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