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NWO Grants for Target Partners and Collaborators

14 February 2014
The Monk system will look for features beyond text symbols
The Monk system will look for features beyond text symbols

The Netherlands Research Organization (NWO), one of the sponsors of the Transatlantic Digging Into Data Challenge 2013, awarded a 400 000 euro grant to a collaborative project that will utilize the Target supported Monk system for handwritten text recognition. Monk is a system that uses algorithms from artificial intelligence to create a search engine for handwritten historical collections. Prof. Lambert Schomaker, who envisioned and developed Monk will collaborate with research colleagues from McGill University, Stanford University, and the Ecole de Technologie Supérieure(Montréal) to discover and analyze literary networks of intellectual exchange across cultures in the period between XI and XX century. The study will combine large-scale data analysis with social network analysis and modeling to look for ‘global currents” in our pre-print literary heritage.

Prof. Schomaker and his group at the ALICE Institute (University of Groningen) will work on the design and application of algorithms that will sieve through large collections of scanned manuscripts in search of patterns and structures that can add to our understanding of the underlying meaning and provenance of these manuscripts. Much of this work will build on methods and techniques developed for the Monk system. However, the Monk system has been designed with a focus on extracting text information. The NWO grand will allow Schomaker’s group to expand the capabilities of Monk to dig much deeper into manuscripts exploring other visual features like calligraphy, schematic drawings, authors’ doodles, special symbols, page layout and more. This wealth of new information is expected to provide new insights into the origin and purpose of the studied texts.

Prof. Schomaker’s group is a partner in the Target consortium and a major scientific user of the Target facilities and expertise in management of large datasets. The Monk system is hosted by and currently running on the Target infrastructure and the successful collaboration has resulted in spin-off enterprises in the North of the Netherlands.

Observing strong lensing can be used to deduce the structure of dark matter. Image Credit: LSST
Observing strong lensing can be used to deduce the structure of dark matter. Image Credit: LSST

Another NWO grant was awarded to Prof. Léon Koopmans from the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute (University of Groningen). The prestigious VICI grant of 1.5 million euro, awarded for a period of five years, will support Prof. Koopmans’s group in their investigation of the structure of dark matter in the Universe. In the coming years, they will look for strong gravitational lensing in the KiDs survey data to test the current theories about dark matter. Strong lensing refers to the bending of light due to gravity and it can be used to infer the mass and structure of dark matter. The KiDs survey is a ground-based optical survey produced by the Target partner OmegaCEN using the Astro-WISE information system developed by the group. It’s a precursor to the Euclid mission expected to be launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) at the end of the decade. The instruments mounted on the Euclid satellite will deliver data of unprecedented quality which will be used to unravel the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy. Target has set up an Euclid Science Data Center at the University of Groningen and will co-lead the data management and archiving of the Euclid’s data.

More on Target

Target is one of the largest ongoing public-private projects in the Netherlands in the area of Big Data management and information systems. The project focuses on research and development of innovative intelligent information systems that can efficiently process data and extract information from extremely large and structurally diverse datasets. Target has set up an expertise center at the University of Groningen and runs data intensive scientific projects at national and international level. Target is also focused on translating its knowledge into viable commercial applications based on demands posed by users outside academia, including innovative small and medium enterprises, public organizations, multi-national businesses and more.


NWO grant for designing pattern-recognition algorithm

Press Release: VICI grant for astronomer Leon Koopmans

More on Monk

More on Digging Into Data Challenge


Prof. Edwin A. Valentijn
Target Coordinator/ OmegaCEN lead
Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen
Tel: +31 50 363 4011

Prof. Lambert Schomaker
ALICE Institute, University of Groningen
Tel: +31 50 363 6533

Prof. Leon Koopmans
Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen
Tel: +31 50 363 6519

Last modified:15 June 2016 09.32 a.m.

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