Empirical Performance Evaluation Methodology and its Application to Page Segmentation Algorithms

Mao S, Kanungo T
IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence. 2001 Mar;23(3): 242-256.


While numerous page segmentation algorithms have been proposed in the literature, there is lack of comparative Evaluation of these algorithms. In the existing performance evaluation methods, two crucial components are usually missing: 1) automatic training of algorithms with free parameters and 2) statistical and error analysis of experimental results. In this paper, we use the following five-step methodology to quantitatively compare the performance of page segmentation algorithms: 1) First, we create mutually exclusive training and test data sets with ground truth, 2) we then select a meaningful and computable performance metric, 3) an optimization procedure is then used to search automatically for the optimal parameter values of the segmentation algorithms on the training data set, 4) the segmentation algorithms are then evaluated on the test data set, and, finally, 5) a statistical and error analysis is performed to give the statistical significance of the experimental results. In particular, instead of the ad hoc and manual approach typically used in the literature for training algorithms, we pose the automatic training of algorithms as an optimization problem and use the Simplex algorithm to search for the optimal parameter value. A paired-model statistical analysis and an error analysis are then conducted to provide confidence intervals for the experimental results of the algorithms. This methodology is applied to the evaluation of five page segmentation algorithms of which, three are representative research algorithms and the other two are well-known commercial products, on 978 images from the University of Washington III data set. It is found that the performance indices (average textline accuracy) of the Voronoi, Docstrum, and Caere segmentation algorithms are not significantly different from each other, but they are significantly better than that of ScanSoft’s segmentation algorithm, which, in turn, is significantly better than that of X-Y cut.