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Phonology of Dyslexia: Phonological and neurobiological explanations of cross-linguistic variations

Fusa Katada

Waseda University

Abstract : The neurobiological disability called dyslexia (< Greek dys- ‘impaired’ + lexis ‘word’) is a specific learning disability (LD) that affects literacy skills: both decoding (pronouncing written words) and encoding (spelling words). It has been generally assumed that congenital form of dyslexia, termed developmental dyslexia, stems from a particular problem in language acquisition affecting phonological awareness. However, the exact nature of phonological awareness has not yet been made clear. The majority of studies on dyslexia have been carried out with respect to Roman alphabetic languages, most especially English, and it might be the case that certain truths of dyslexia remain unrevealed under such research situations.

This talk first establishes the relevance of the mora-basic hypothesis that moras (CVs) are the units underlying all human natural languages. It then spotlights a seemingly mysterious discrepancy in the prevalence of phonological dyslexic populations between the English-speaking world and the Japanese-speaking world: namely as high as 17% for the former and as low as 1% for the latter. On the basis of English dyslexic reading marked by an overproduction of moraic (CV) units in the absence of rhyme (VC) units, the talk will show that the discrepancy is due to differences in prosodic structures between the two languages. For rhyme(VC)-oriented English, readers must depict the unit rhyme through prosodic restructuring from the underlying CV-C (do-g) to rhyme-oriented C-VC (d-og). A failure to do so manifests as phonological dyslexia. For mora(CV)-oriented, rhymeless Japanese, such prosodic restructuring is irrelevant, and phonological dyslexia is largely undetected.

The talk furthermore moves on to exploring possible explanations of a failure in such a prosodic restructuring. From the articulatory phonological point of view, onset consonants are coarticulation of the following vowels. Moras (CVs) are thus formed automatically and essentially free. In contrast, coda consonants are not coarticulation with the preceding vowels. Forming rhymes (VCs) instead requires a temporal-spatial decision load, which a dyslexic mind is unable to bear. Mora inclination is explained accordingly.

The talk will deepen the above view and come to claim that mora-forming coarticulation is easy because it is a synchronized articulatory behavior, akin to a synchronized human locomotive behavior. This view conforms to a human neurobiological restriction inclined toward synchronized behavior, which is claimed to be acquired in the process of human evolution.

Bio: Prof. Katada's main contribution to formal linguistics includes a notion of operator anaphor, coined by her and extended to a general notion of operator variable in the nominal system of syntax, whereby anaphoric relations are formalized at the level of logical form of language. Her work on the prosodic unit of mora, which has been widely cited since its publication in 1990, has evolved into arguing for the presence of floating mora, a notion that would unify representations of long-vowels and long-consonants (geminates).

For the last decade, she has been looking into areas of research other than linguistics proper, including areas of neurodevelopmental deficits associated in particular with Williams syndrome, dyslexia, and other developmental disorders subsumed under the notion of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders). Her contention is that 'disability' is a continuum notion that embraces everyone. This contention leads to a natural link to notions of IE (inclusive education) and EFA (education for all), of which she has been an advocate. She exploits various atypicalities revealed by affected subjects and explores them as serving a unique window to how the human mind is organized for language and cognition.

As a faculty member in Science and Engineering, she explores basic mathematics in English as a fundamental tool for thinking and scientific research and as most accessible ESP (English for specific purposes) for science and engineering students with certain dispositional tendencies, namely those associated with communication vulnerabilities.

Her secondary but important interest concerns human rights in the autonomy of academia of the modern age of Japan. Her community contributions expanding overseas are the natural consequences of her diverse interests in human beings.

Date: 2017-Sep-15     Time: 14:00:00     Room: 336

Efficient computation of the search region in multi-objective optimization

Kerstin Dächert

University of Wuppertal

Abstract : Multi-objective optimization methods often proceed by iteratively producing new solutions. For this purpose it is important to determine and update the search region efficiently. It corresponds to the part of the objective space where new nondominated points could lie and can be described by a set of so-called local upper bounds whose components are defined by already known nondominated points. In the bi-objective case the update of the search region is easy since a new point can dominate only one local upper bound. Moreover, the local upper bounds as well as the nondominated points can be kept sorted increasingly with respect to one objective and decreasingly with respect to the other. For more than two objectives these properties do no longer hold. In particular, several local upper bounds might have to be updated at once when a new nondominated point is inserted into the search region. In this talk we concentrate on how to design this update efficiently. Therefore we study a specific neighborhood structure among local upper bounds. Thanks to this structure we can quickly identify all local upper bounds that are affected by a new nondominated point, i.e. that have to be updated. We propose a new scheme to update the search region with respect to a new point more efficiently compared to existing approaches. Besides, the neighborhood structure provides new theoretical insight into the search region and the location of nondominated points for more than two objectives (cf. Dächert, K., Klamroth, K., Lacour, R., Vanderpooten, D.: Efficient computation of the search region in multi-objective optimization, European Journal of Operational Research 260(3):841–855, 2017).

Bio: Dr. Kerstin Dächert is a Research Associate (interim lecturer position) at the Department of Mathematics and Informatics, University of Wuppertal, Germany. Her interests include multicriteria optimization, combinatorial optimization and applications of operations research, e.g. in energy economics.

Date: 2017-Sep-14     Time: 11:00:00     Room: 336

Exploring light-weight tangibles

Beryl Plimmer

University of Auckland

Abstract : As we know, tangibles offer an interaction experience that is richer and more helpful for learning than traditional mouse + keyboard interaction. However, much of the early tangibles research required complex hardware setups including cameras, specialized tables or displays and specialized objects that incorporated electronics. This talk will focus on the work we have done with light-weight tangibles. The tangibles can easily be made with everyday objects and be used on any multi-touch device. The basic interaction is supported by a toolkit we have developed to enable easy deployment of context specific apps. The long-term goal of this work is to have tangible applications that can easily be used by non-experts in everyday settings.

Bio: Beryl Plimmer is an Associate Professor at The University of Auckland, New Zealand. After a varied career in industry and time out for family she undertook her PhD in HCI 2000-2004. Her topic was sketch based user interfaces. She has a substantial body of work in digital ink including ink recognition and various applications of ink. These ideas have been extended to include tangible interaction. She has also implemented a writing tool for visually impaired. More information on her work can be found here

Date: 2017-Sep-07     Time: 11:30:00     Room: 336

Body Language Without Body: Social Signals in Technology Mediated Communication

University of Glasgow

Abstract : Nonverbal communication is a natural phenomenon that takes place in face-to-face interactions. However, an increasingly significant fraction of our social exchanges takes place in technology mediated settings where natural nonverbal cues (facial expressions, vocalisations, gestures, posture, etc.) are partially or totally impossible to display and access. For example, phones make it possible to use vocal cues (fillers, laughter, pauses, etc.), but not facial expressions or gestures and, in the case of online textual chats, the use of nonverbal cues is simply not possible. The question at the core of this talk is whether nonverbal communication still plays a role in these settings and, if yes, what are the nonverbal cues and their functions

Bio: Alessandro Vinciarelli is with the University of Glasgow where he is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at the School of Computing Science and Associate Academic at the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology ( ). His main research interest is Social Signal Processing, the domain aimed at modelling analysis and synthesis of nonverbal behaviour in social interactions. In particular, Alessandro has investigated approaches for role recognition in multiparty conversations, automatic personality perception from speech, and conflict analysis and measurement in competitive discussions. Overall, Alessandro has published more than 100 works, including one authored book, five edited volumes, and 28 journal papers. Alessandro has participated in the organization of the IEEE International Conference on Social Computing as a Program Chair in 2011 and as a General Chair in 2012, he has initiated and chaired a large number of international workshops, including the Social Signal Processing Workshop, the International Workshop on Socially Intelligent Surveillance and Monitoring, the International Workshop on Human Behaviour Understanding, the Workshop on Political Speech and the Workshop on Foundations of Social Signals. Furthermore, Alessandro is or has been Principal Investigator of several national and international projects, including a European Network of Excellence (the SSPNet, ), an Indo-Swiss Joint Research Project ( ) and an individual project in the framework of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research IM2 ( . Last, but not least, Alessandro is co-founder of Klewel ( ), a knowledge management company recognized with several awards.

For more information:

  • Tel:351214233508

Date: 2017-Sep-05     Time: 11:00:00     Room: Room 1.38 - IST Taguspark

The Rise of Potentially Unwanted Programs: Measuring its Prevalence, Distribution through Pay-Per-Install Services, and Economics

Juan Caballero

IMDEA Software Institute in Madrid

Abstract : Potentially unwanted programs (PUP) such as adware and rogueware, while not outright malicious, exhibit intrusive behavior that generates user complaints and makes security vendors flag them as undesirable. PUP has been little studied in the research literature despite recent indications that its prevalence may have surpassed that of malware. We have performed a systematic study of Windows PUP over a period of 4 years using a variety of datasets including malware repositories, AV telemetry from 3.9 million real Windows hosts, dynamic executions, and financial statements. This presentation summarizes what we have learned from our measurements on PUP prevalence, its distribution through pay-perinstall (PPI) services, which link advertisers that want to promote their programs with affiliate publishers willing to bundle their programs with offers for other software, and the economics of PPI services that distribute PUP.

Bio: Juan Caballero is an Associate Research Professor at the IMDEA Software Institute in Madrid, Spain. His research focuses on security issues in systems, software, and networks. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, USA. His research regularly appears at top security venues and has won two best paper awards at the USENIX Security Symposium. He is an Associate Editor for ACM Transactions on Privacy and Security (TOPS). He has been in the technical committee of venues such as IEEE S&P, ACM CCS, USENIX Security, NDSS, WWW, RAID, and DIMVA. He is program co-chair for the 2017 Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC). Previously, he has been program chair or co-chair for Conference on Detection of Intrusions and Malware & Vulnerability Assessment (DIMVA, 2016), the Digital Forensics Research Symposium (DFRWS, 2014 & 2013), the European Workshop on Systems Security (EuroSec, 2015 & 2014), and the International Symposium on Engineering Secure Software and Systems (ESSoS, 2015 & 2016).

Date: 2017-Jun-12     Time: 11:00:00     Room: 336