I completed my PhD with a thesis titled Quantifying scribal behavior : A novel approach to digital paleography in Computer Science at the University of St Andrews in the St Andrews HCI (SACHI) research group supervised by Dr Mark-Jan Nederhof.

My research interests include handwriting analysis/modeling, digital paleography, computational manscript analysis, visual programming and natural language processing (machine transliteration especially). I’d say that I’m interested in languages and scripts in general. I am also very interested in the novel application of computing techniques in humanities.

PhD Thesis

I researched various innovative quantitative techniques that can be applied to the field of digital paleography. I was particularly interested in descriptive paleography that focuses on the evolution of scripts and their relationships to each other as well as looking for mechanisms to explain these phenomena through scribal behavior.

You can read in detail about my research here.

Current Research

My current research focus is about making Document Image Analysis (DIA) and Computer Vision (CV) methods and algorithms accessible to scholars in the field of Manuscript Analysis (particularly, those without a computer science background) through Visual Programming. This will enable them to take advantage of the state-of-the-art methods and incorporate them into their workflow.

You can read in detail about it here. (Under the topic iXMan_Lab)

Technical Skills

  • Programming: Python, Java, Javascript, Matlab, C, C++, PHP
  • Javascript Frameworks: Vue.js and Quasar
  • Statistical Packages: R, NumPy, SciPy, Pandas
  • NLP Toolkits: NLTK, GIZA++, OpenFST, OpenGRM, SRILM, MITLM
  • Research Methods, Quantitative Analysis, Qualitative Analysis, Experimental Design


  1. Rajan, V., & Stiehl, H.S. (2019). Advanced Manuscript Analysis Portal (AMAP): An Interactive Visual Language Environment for Manuscript Studies. Proceedings of Digital Humanities, DH 2019 [To be published]
  2. Rajan, V., & Stiehl, H.S. (2019). Turning Black into White through Visual Programming: Peeking into the Black Box of Computational Manuscript Analysis. Manuscript Cultures.  [To be Published].
  3. Rajan, V. & Stiehl, H. S., (2018). From Eye-to-Eye to Hand-in-Hand: Collaborative Solution Building in Interdisciplinary Manuscript Research. In: Burghardt, M. & Müller-Birn, C. (Hrsg.), INF-DH-2018. Bonn: Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V..
  4. Rajan S., V (2018). Interactive Exploration of Digitized Manuscripts: Introducing the iXMan_Lab. OpenX for Interdisciplinary Computational Manuscript Research. University of Hamburg.
  5. Rajan, V & Stiehl, H.S. (2018). Bringing Paleography to the Table: Developing an Interactive Manuscript Exploration System for Large Multi-Touch Devices. DAS 2018 Short Papers Booklet, DAS 2018.
  6. Rajan S., V. (2016). Quantifying scribal behavior : A novel approach to digital paleography. PhD Thesis. University of St Andrews.
  7. Rajan, V. (2016). Quantifying Scripts: Defining metrics of characters for quantitative and descriptive analysisDigital Scholarship in the Humanities, 32(3), 602-631.
  8. Rajan, V. (2015). How Handwriting Evolves: An Initial Quantitative Analysis of the Development of Indic ScriptsProceedings of the 17th International Graphonomics Society Conference. (Presentation)
  9. Rajan, V. (2014). Konkanverter – An FST-based Statistical Machine Transliteration Engine for the Konkani Language. Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on South and South-East Asian Natural Language Processing, COLING 2014. (Presentation)
  10. Rajan, V. (2014). Framework for Quantitative Analysis of Scripts. Proceedings of Digital Humanities, DH 2014. (Presentation)

Invited Talks

  1. Preserving Provenance: Interlinking Digital Representations of Manuscripts, NETamil Project, University of Hamburg. January 2016 (Presentation)
  2. Quantifying Scripts: Defining metrics of characters for quantitative and descriptive analysis, 2nd NETamil Workshop : Approaches to codicology and manuscript lab, University of Hamburg. October 2014 (Presentation)
  3. Modeling & Analyzing Development of Scripts, SACHI Seminar, School of Computer Science, University of St Andrews. May 2013 (Presentation)

Poster Presentations

  1. Annual PhD Reviews, School of Computer Science, University of St Andrews. January 2013 (PDF)
  2. SICSA MMI : All Hands Meeting, University of Edinburgh. May 2013
  3. SICSA PhD Conference, University of Stirling. August 2013
  4. Annual PhD Reviews, School of Computer Science, University of St Andrews, January 2014 (PDF)
  5. Annual PhD Reviews, School of Computer Science, University of St Andrews, January 2015 (PDF)


  1. SICSA PhD prize studentship: Fully funded scholarship awarded through competitive process across Scotland (2012)
  2. Employee of the month at Cognizant Technology Solutions (June 2011)
  3. Best Trainee at Cognizant Technology Solutions (2009)

Summer Schools

  1. Big Data Summer School, University of St Andrews. May 2013
  2. Cognitive Computation Summer School, University of Stirling, August 2013


  1. Part of the organization team for OpenX for Interdisciplinary Computational Manuscript Research, Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Hamburg. June 2019
  2. Part of the organization team for the 11th International Conference on Finite-State Methods and Natural Language Processing, St Andrews, July 2013
  3. Co-Organized the St Andrews Programming Competition, April 2014
  4. Technical Advisor for the Noolaham Foundation, Jan 2009 to May 2012


  1. Lecturer for bachelor’s level project module Visual Programming, University of Hamburg, 2018
  2. Lecturer for bachelor’s level project module Programming Projects, University of St Andrews, 2017
  3. Lecturer for the master’s level taught module Information Security Management, University of St Andrews, 2017
  4. Co-lecturer for the master’s level taught module Database Management Systems, University of St Andrews, 2016
  5. Mentor for Creativity in Engineering summer school organized by ELT, University of St Andrews, July 2014 & July 2015
  6. Lead Instructor for Code First: Girls, St Andrews Beginner’s Course, 2015
  7. Tutor for CS2002: Computer Systems, Spring 2015

Media Interviews

  1. Interview in a US-based Tamil magazine Thendral about Avalokitam (November 2011)
  2. Interview in Times of India (Mangalore Edition) about Konkanverter (August 2012)

Work Experience

Post-doctoral Research Associate  Oct 2017 to present 
University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

Researching the development of intuitive and innovative user interfaces for large screen multi-touch devices. Teaching undergraduates and postgraduates.

Associate Lecturer  Aug 2016 to Sep 2017
University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland, UK

Teaching modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Supervising M Sc project.  Managing lab sessions for undergraduates

Associate (Software Engineer)  Nov 2009 to Aug 2012
Cognizant Technology Solutions, Chennai, India

Project: Design & Development of an automated QA product for the NASCO healthcare platform
Work Profile: ASP.NET developer

Project: Claims Application Systems Small Scale Change Requests
Work Profile: Manual Testing / Test Automation


PhD  in Computer Science  Sep 2012 to Aug 2016
University of St Andrews, Scotland

Bachelor of Technology in Information Technology  July 2005 to May 2009
Anna University, Chennai, India

Bachelor of Technology in Chemical Engineering  July 2004 to May 2008
Anna University, Chennai, India