The Hieroglyphics Initiative: an open source digital platform for Egyptology

Abendveranstaltung

14. Februar 2019

Akademiegebäude am Gendarmenmarkt, Einstein-Saal, Jägerstraße 22/23, 10117 Berlin

This Ubisoft research project, exploring the use of machine learning in translating ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, has produced a set of open source digital humanities tools and a data framework which support research, teaching, and learning. The developers, Psycle, will explain their approach, demonstrate the tools, and showcase some applications being pioneered by academic institutions.

The Hieroglyphics Initiative: an open source digital platform for Egyptology
The Hieroglyphics Initiative: an open source digital platform for Egyptology

Can we train a machine to translate Egyptian hieroglyphs? This is the question the independent production company Psycle explored in a Ubisoft research project. Taking the facsimiles created by Egyptologists as our starting point, we created a processing pipeline that begins with photographs of hieroglyphs in situ, and ends with possible translations in a modern language. The pipeline uses computer vision techniques to find candidate glyphs and glyph groups in an automatically generated facsimile. Next, neural nets are used to recognise the candidate glyphs and, finally, sequences of glyphs are compared to dictionaries of glyph words in order to find possible translations.
The lecture discusses not only the technical challenges of the project, but also highlights the limitations of machine learning, and the critical importance of the amount and consistency of data for enterprises of this type. The engagement and support of the academic community, which was crucial in giving direction and substance to the project, is also discussed.
The project has generated a research and teaching tool for Egyptologists, an open-source repository of code, and several avenues for further research and collaboration.

 

Please register until 14.02.2019 under the following  Link 

 

 

Introduction
Maxim Kupreyev
BBAW

 

Lecture
Alex Fry
Psycle
Hieroglyphics Initiative

 

Roy Gardner
Psycle
Hieroglyphics Initiative

 

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