I recently completed my PhD in Computer Science at the University of St Andrews in the St Andrews HCI (SACHI) research group supervised by Dr Mark-Jan Nederhof. I researched on various innovative quantitative techniques that can be applied to the field of digital paleography. I am 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.

I developed a framework that recovers handwriting information of characters, and uses that information coupled with handwriting kinematics to decompose characters into strokes and construct a hierarchical stroke structure. I also proposed a number of intuitive metrics that quantify handwriting behavior derived using the recovered information and structure, which coupled with proper statistical methods can be used to perform quantitative analysis of scribal behavior. I further demonstrated that using recovered trajectory, handwriting modeling techniques can be directly used to mathematically model changes in scribal behavior, which can then be used to quantitatively study them.

By applying the framework and proposed metrics to the development of Indic scripts, I have discovered several interesting trends and phenomena in scribal behavior during the development by performing a detailed quantitative analysis. This included application of various univariate/multivariate statistical methods and data visualization techniques on the quantitative data.

You can read in detail about my research here.

Technical Skills

  • Programming: Python, Java, Javascript, Matlab, C, C++, PHP
  • 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. (2016). Quantifying scribal behavior : A novel approach to digital paleography. PhD Thesis. University of St Andrews.
  2. Rajan, V. (2016). Quantifying Scripts: Defining metrics of characters for quantitative and descriptive analysisDigital Scholarship in the Humanities. 
  3. Rajan, V. (2015). How Handwriting Evolves: An Initial Quantitative Analysis of the Development of Indic ScriptsProceedings of the 17th International Graphonomics Society Conference. (Presentation)
  4. 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)
  5. 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 local organization team for the 11th International Conference on Finite-State Methods and Natural Language Processing, St Andrews, July 2013
  2. Co-Organized the St Andrews Programming Competition, April 2014
  3. Technical Advisor for the Noolaham Foundation, Jan 2009 to May 2012


  1. Co-lecturer for the master’s level module IS5102 – Database Management System.
  2. Mentor for Creativity in Engineering summer school organized by ELT, University of St Andrews, July 2014 & July 2015
  3. Lead Instructor for Code First: Girls, St Andrews Beginner’s Course, 2015
  4. 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

Teaching Fellow  Aug 2016
University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland, UK
Teaching modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level, 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