Project team

Dr. Sanjay Krishnan, Assistant Professor; Department of Computer Science, University of Chicago
Dr. Susanne Paulus, Associate Professor of Assyriology; Oriental Institute, University of Chicago
Dr. Miller Prosser, Associate Director of Digital Studies, Humanities Division, University of Chicago
Sandra Schloen, Manager; OCHRE Data Service, University of Chicago
Dr. Matthew Stolper, Professor of Assyriology, Emeritus; Oriental Institute, University of Chicago; Academic Adviser
Eddie Williams, Technical Adviser (Machine Learning Engineer; Amgen, Los Angeles, CA)

Intern, Grace Su, Columbia University, undergraduate
Intern, Nicole Brandt, University of Chicago, PhD candidate

Watch a CDAC Summer Lab Speaker Series event, Image Analysis + AI (August 2020) where researcher Sandra Schloen describes the DeepScribe project and its current progress.

Watch a CDAC-sponsored Data Dispatch event Deciphering Cuneiform with Artificial Intelligence (April 2020) that explains the goals and strategies of DeepScribe; by researchers Sanjay Krishnan and Miller Prosser.

Manually deciphering a cuneiform tablet is a laborious, time-consuming, and error-prone process. This project explores how recent advances in computer vision can assist researchers by automatically identifying symbols and words in images of cuneiform tablets. It leverages the extensively annotated collections of the Persepolis Fortification Archive project of the Online Cultural and Historical Research Environment (OCHRE) as training data for machine learning vision models that preliminary results suggest are accurate up to 83% of the time. This discovery grant will facilitate an important step towards the goal of meaningful automatic transcription and indexing of the extensive worldwide cuneiform tablet collection.

The DeepScribe project would like to acknowledge, with appreciation, the support of a UChicago CDAC Discovery Grant for the calendar year 2020. Read this CDAC News article (Feb. 12, 2020) to learn more about DeepScribe.

Hotspots outlining cuneiform signs on Elamite tablet from the Persepolis Fortification Archive

Hotspots outlining cuneiform signs on an Elamite tablet from the Persepolis Fortification Archive

Image hotspot cutouts representing instances of the cuneiform sign for

Image hotspot cutouts representing instances of the cuneiform sign for “3”