Does anyone know, or can we deduce or infer with high probability from its characteristics, whether the neural network used on this site


is a type of convolutional neural network (CNN)?


I believe they don't use CNNs. The most important reason why it's because they have more information than a regular image: time. The input they receive is a sequence of (x,y,t) as you draw on the screen, which they refer as "ink". This gives them the construction of the image for free, which a CNN would have to deduce by itself.

They tried two approaches. Their currently most successful approach does the following:

  • Detect parts of the ink that are candidates of being a character
  • Use a FeedForward Neural Network to do character recognition on those candidates
  • Use beam search and a language model to find most the most likely combination of results that results into a word

Their second approach is using an LSTM (a type of Recurrent Neural Network) end-to-end. In their paper they say this was better in a couple languages.

Source: I was an intern in Google's handwriting team in summer 2015 (on which I believe quickdraw is based), but the techniques I explained can be found in this paper.


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