For those familiar with document analysis, we note that pen-based
mathematical handwriting presents some simplifications and
some new challenges.
The main simplification, compared to earlier
off-line document analysis, is that pen-based applications use digital
ink that carries information giving separation of strokes and timing.
This feature is common to all digital ink applications, not just math.
The fun comes with the challenges specific to math:
- Mathematical notiation is two-dimensional with complex spatial
relations among subexpressions. It is more like a combination of
drawing and writing.
- Mathematical notation typically uses a large vocabulary of symbols,
with multiple alphabets and special characters,
making the usual methods for character recognition break down.
- There is not a fixed vocabulary of words that may be used for
disambiguation. Dictionary-based methods are essential in achieving
high accuracy in natural language text. For mathematics we have
to develop new ideas.