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Research Teaches Machines to Decipher the Dawn Chorus


A robin.

The U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council is supporting research to learn what birds are communicating and which birds dominate the conversations.

Credit: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

The U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council is supporting research on deciphering the timing and sequences of bird calls, led by scientists at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

The work builds on the Warblr smartphone app, which can analyze recorded bird sounds and match them with patterns of bird calls in its dataset and list possible corresponding species.

The latest research will enhance the analysis to learn what birds are communicating and which birds dominate the conversations.

"We use modern machine learning methods where you don't necessarily know how a computer has made a decision about a particular sound, but by training it we can encourage a computer algorithm to generalize from those," says QMUL's Dan Stowell.

The researchers' longer-term goals include achieving better understanding of other animal groups' social structure, and how human language evolved. Stowell also envisions applications involving audio as well as visual analysis.

From Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
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