Random fonts

One of my long term projects is the production of interesting random fonts for the simulation of handwriting or for that human touch that is so necessary to bring the blackboard to the transparency for presentations. Eventually, I want to develop a complete mathematical font collection that would make the math books look like they were copied from the blackboard, with total integration of text and picture. Any prospective Ph.D. student interested in helping me with this? First we tried to make random fonts by random convex combinations of parent fonts, very much as multiple master fonts interpolate between their "masters". This research was reported in work with Mike McDougall in

L. Devroye and M. McDougall, Random fonts for the simulation of handwriting, Electronic Publishing, vol. 8, pp. 281-294, 1995.

Mike, an undergraduate at McGill at the time, was supported by an NSERC summer research award, for which we are very thankful to the Canadian government. The text below shows his font, Tekla, at work. It is a random type 3 font, which for now is only useful in PostScript files as we have no metrics (AFM) files. The source code is available. It has the font and shows at the end how to use the font to generate the menu.

So, fine, you may not like Mike's handwriting, but our objective was to show one possible route for development. His font has a "craziness" parameter, by which we could actually extrapolate beyond the convex polyhedron determined by the master fonts. The effects are illustrated below.

Contact and Copyright

Luc Devroye
School of Computer Science
McGill University
Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6