IHR in Nottingham & School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Nottingham, PhD in Neuroscience

Artificial recognition of sounds in complex scenes from auditory neuronal activity

with Dr Chris Sumner, Prof. Steve Coombes and Dr Aristodimos Pneumatikakis
chris@ihr.mrc.ac.uk, stephen.coombes@nottingham.ac.uk, apne@ait.edu.gr

The auditory brain encodes complex environmental scenes with ease: it allows us to pick out individual instruments in an orchestra, or one person talking in a noisy room. How the brain represents mixtures of sounds, and how it segregates them, is still poorly understood. We aim to apply advanced mathematical methods to study this problem.

In particular, we will develop algorithms for recognising particular sounds (e.g. speech or music) within mixtures of other sounds from neural activity in the brain. We will use computer models of the auditory system, recordings of brain activity, pattern recognition and machine learning techniques to help design better recognition algorithms for indentifying sounds from neural activity. The developed algorithms will be used to probe how the brain itself separates sound sources.

Applications are encouraged from highly numerate students with first- or upper second-class degrees in engineering, maths or physics. This project is part of the European Marie Curie Initial Training Network in Computational Neuroscience, which is based in Nottingham. The fellowship includes a flexible secondment to work with Dr Aristodemos Pnevmatikakis at Athens Information Technology (Greece). For this particular studentship, candidates must be non-UK, but EU, and must not have resided, worked, or studied in the UK for more than 12 months in the 3 years prior to Sept 2012. Further information, as well as instructions on how to apply, can be found at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/mathematics/prospective/research/index.aspx.

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Sinha P (2002). Recognising Complex Patterns. Nat Neurosci 5, 1093-1097.