In conjunction with the interdisciplinary activities of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), a seminar series on topics in mathematical biology will be hosted at NIMBioS every other Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. (unless otherwise noted) in the Hallam Auditorium, Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd. Seminar speakers will focus on their research initiatives at the interface of mathematics and many areas of the life sciences. Light refreshments will be served in the 1st floor visitor breakroom beginning 30 minutes before each talk. Faculty and students from across the UT community are welcome to join us.
Time/Date: Tuesday, October 2, 2012, 3:30 p.m.*
Location: Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd.
Speaker: Dr. Arik Kershenbaum, NIMBioS Postdoctoral Fellow
Topic: Analyzing sequences in animal vocal communication
Abstract: As far as we know, no animal species apart from humans has true language abilities. However, recent research has indicated that more species than expected possess some of the linguistic abilities necessary for the development of language. Vocal syntax, once observed only in birds, has now been shown in cetaceans, bats, rodents, primates and hyraxes. Some of the varied mathematical techniques used to uncover syntactic structure in animal vocalizations will be discussed, including signal processing algorithms for the extraction of frequency modulated tonal elements, machine learning algorithms for classifying vocal elements into "syllables," and techniques borrowed from bioinformatics for characterizing and comparing such syllable streams. With examples from the rock hyrax, bottlenose dolphin and pilot whale, these techniques are uncovering surprising linguistic abilities among animals, which may shed light on the apparently unique evolution of our own language.
*Join us for refreshments at 3 p.m. in the 1st floor visitor breakroom.
Seminar Flyer (pdf)
For more information about this and other NIMBioS Seminars, visit http://www.nimbios.org/seminars.