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  Supervised learning methods to measure information transfer in biology


   School of Mathematics and Statistics

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  Dr Giorgos Minas  Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Information theory is widely used as the basis of communication channels to transfer information through the Internet and other platforms. The study of information transfer is also hugely important in many other fields (e.g. marketing, epidemics control, molecular and cell signalling). For instance, molecular biology is all about how biological cells respond to information coming from their environment to translate genetic code to functional macromolecules that in turn transfer information to other molecules through their interactions. This project has two main objectives: (a) to fill a gap in how this amazing theory of information flow originally derived for communication channels applies to other fields and especially but not exclusively molecular biology, (b) to study the use of supervised learning methods in estimating information theoretic quantities, and particularly mutual information. Supervised learning (e.g. classification) is naturally embedded into information theory, and the emergence of machine learning provides new tools that seem to be powerful but are also poorly understood, at least in this setting. Therefore, the project will explore the performance of supervised learning methods in estimating information theoretic quantities, but also in terms of prediction accuracy for a wide range of simulated data.

The ideal candidate for this project will be interested in information theory (see textbook below), and supervised learning. Background in one of those fields will be beneficial, but candidates with strong background in other mathematical or computational subjects will be considered.


Computer Science (8) Mathematics (25)

Funding Notes

Fully funded scholarship places (fees, plus stipend of approx. £19,162) are typically available for well-qualified students. UK, EU and other overseas students are all encouraged to apply. Further details of the application and selection procedure are at View Website (pdf - see last page) and View Website.

References

Elements of Information Theory, Thomas M. Cover, and Joy A. Thomas, Wiley Series in Telecommunications

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