Monday, April 02, 2012

mildly mathematical: from words to graphs ..

the geeky part of me thinks that this looks like a really cool graphic:

apparently, though, it is called a time worm.

it's an image collected from experimental data by Deb Roy from MIT, who collected 200 terabytes of data "to capture the emergence and refinement of specific words in [his] son’s vocabulary."
"In one 40-second clip, you can hear how “gaga” turned into “water” over the course of six months. In a video clip, below, you can hear and watch the evolution of "ball.""

[more @ MIT Scientist Captures 90,000 Hours of Video of His Son's First Words, Graphs It]
i'm not usually one for empirical science, but this is really cool.  the most interesting part about it (to me) is that it accounts for geometry .. and hence the relevance of time worms:
In a landscape-like image with peaks and valleys, you can see that the word “water” was uttered most often in the kitchen, while “bye” took place at the door.

The video was processed to show "time worms," below, charting the family's movement from room to room.
as for what the seed input was, the equipment consists of "fish-eye" lenses like this:

image courtesy of prof. deb roy and his research group
the set-up is, however, a little creepy and bigbrother-ish:
From the day he and his wife brought their son home five years ago, the family's every movement and word was captured and tracked with a series of fisheye lenses in every room in their house. The purpose was to understand how we learn language, in context, through the words we hear.
i guess it's not really an invasion of privacy, since the experimenter volunteered his own family .. still, potentially being recorded for 5 years straight .. think about all the gossip you might have shared, or private opinions that you would prefer to keep private!

i think i'll stick to my abstract theories and notebooks, thank you! q-:

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