Israel Researchers have developed a computer program that can decipher previously unreadable ancient texts and possibly lead the way to a Google-like search engine for historical documents. The computer works with digital copies of the texts, assigning number values to each pixel of writing depending on how dark it is. It separates the writing from the background and then identifies individual lines, letters and words. It also analyses the handwriting and writing style, so it can “fill in the blanks” of smeared or faded characters that are otherwise indiscernible. The team has focused their work on ancient Hebrew texts, but they say it can be used with other languages, as well. “The more texts the program analyses, the smarter and more accurate it gets,” Bar-Yosef said.
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