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Mathematical Sciences

Squeak Squeaker Squeakem Squeak, or, The Mathematics of Deciphering the Mouse-ese Language.

Date: February 27 2013 3:30pm - 4:30pm Location: JRHH 135

JRHH 135

Dr. Adam A. Smith, Visiting Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Lewis & Clark College, will present his work using mathematical and computational methods to decipher mouse sounds.

Mice are one of the most common model organisms used in biomedical research.  They are highly-social creatures that make complicated ultrasonic vocalizations.  Understanding these vocalizations better will be a boon for researchers, especially those who study mental diseases, since it will allow them to better identify a mouse’s affective state. However, current techniques to identify and extract mouse vocalizations are labor-intensive, requiring a large amount of human time (and money), and slowing the pace of research.  We shortcut this process by using hidden Markov models:  both to distinguish bona fide calls from background noise, and to follow the frequency of a call over time.  We have found that our method offers an improvement on previous automated methods.

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