Gated Recurrent Convolution Neural Network for OCR

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 30 (NIPS 2017)

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Jianfeng Wang, Xiaolin Hu


Optical Character Recognition (OCR) aims to recognize text in natural images. Inspired by a recently proposed model for general image classification, Recurrent Convolution Neural Network (RCNN), we propose a new architecture named Gated RCNN (GRCNN) for solving this problem. Its critical component, Gated Recurrent Convolution Layer (GRCL), is constructed by adding a gate to the Recurrent Convolution Layer (RCL), the critical component of RCNN. The gate controls the context modulation in RCL and balances the feed-forward information and the recurrent information. In addition, an efficient Bidirectional Long Short-Term Memory (BLSTM) is built for sequence modeling. The GRCNN is combined with BLSTM to recognize text in natural images. The entire GRCNN-BLSTM model can be trained end-to-end. Experiments show that the proposed model outperforms existing methods on several benchmark datasets including the IIIT-5K, Street View Text (SVT) and ICDAR.