Computer Science Colloquium

Estimating information content of biological data

Ilya Nemenman

Tuesday, March 30, 2004 11:30 A.M.
Room 1302 Warren Weaver Hall
251 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10012-1185

Colloquium Information:


Richard Cole, (212) 998-3119


In many biological applications, notably in computational neuroscience and bioinformatics, information theoretic methods are now routinely being used. The major hurdle in applying such methods is the reliable estimation of entropy and information from small samples. I will discuss this difficult problem, approaches that the others have taken, and then present a Bayesian estimator of entropies introduced by us recently. I will analyze properties of the estimator and explain when it is expected to work well and how to diagnose errors. Throughout the talk I will focus on applications to biological examples (mainly to a fly visual system neuroscience experiment) to illustrate the potentials of the method.

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