The Natural Log: Demonstration


The demonstration on this page is an early application of our research results, written in java by Nicholas Matsakis for his Masters thesis. Currently, the applet recognizes many common mathematical forms such as digits, lowercase latin letters, certain Greek letters, relational and binary operators, fractions, summations, square roots, and many accents.

At this time, the applet still has some fundamental limitations. The primary limitation is that the character models have been created from examples of Nicholas' handwriting, collected on a digitizing tablet. This means that other users' handwriting will often be misinterpreted, and that mouse users will have further trouble getting the system to work, since characters drawn with a mouse are often very different than those drawn with a pen. In addition, the system currently does not support integral or subscript notation at all. We have collected an extensive amount to multiuser data, and hope to allow for a variety of writing styles in the demonstration very soon. Other limitations will be addressed as our research progresses.


This version of the demonstration is written in Java 1.1, so it should work with many older (4.x) browsers and Java virtual machines (JVM), as well as JVMs based on Java 1.2. It has been successfully tested on a number of platforms, though your milage may vary. Basic usage is straightforward; pressing the button at the bottom of this page will launch the demonstration window. If you don't see the button, a message telling you to turn on java or use a different browser will be in its place. The demonstration program is contained in two java archives, totalling 550 kilobytes of disk space. Depending on your connection, it may take a significant time to transfer to your machine. Furthermore, it may take a few seconds to display the demonstration window once download is complete.

After the demonstration window appears, you may begin writing in it. The white area in the center of the window is the drawing canvas, the buttons and menus on the control bar at the top of the window can be used to adjust the recognition parameters, and the output is displayed at the bottom of the window. One non-obvious user interface enhancement is the scribble gesture. If you would like to erase a set of strokes, you can do so by scribbling over the strokes with the pen. In order for the gesture to be recognized, the scribbling should be larger that the strokes you want to delete. For more complete instructions, visit the instructions page.

Compatible Platforms: Windows (Internet Explorer and Netscape), Macintosh (Macintosh Runtime for java 2.1 and higher, Internet Explorer 4.5 and higher), Irix (Netscape). Most versions of Sun's Appletviewer.

Incompatible Platforms: Some versions of Linux (Netscape)

Known Bugs

At the present time there are no known bugs.


You have either turned off java or your web browser does not run java applets. If you would like to use the demonstration, turn on java or use a java-capable browser.