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Durham University

Research & business

Research lectures, seminars and events

The events listed in this area are research seminars, workshops and lectures hosted by Durham University departments and research institutes. If you are not a member of the University, but  wish to enquire about attending one of the events please contact the organiser or host department.


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Events for 23 January 2019

Madeleine Ward: Quakers, Christ and the Enlightenment: The Contested Nature of "the Light Within" in Seventeenth-Century England

11:00am, Seminar Room C (D/TH107), Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham‎

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Mahnaz Mohammadi: TMIXT: A process flow for Transcribing MIXed handwritten and machine-printed Text

1:00pm, E102

Handling large corpuses of documents is of significant importance in many fields, no more so than in the areas of crime investigation and defence, where an organisation may be presented with a large volume of scanned documents which need to be processed in a finite time. However, this problem is exacerbated both by the volume, in terms of scanned documents and the complexity of the pages, which need to be processed. Often containing many different elements, which each need to be processed and understood. Text recognition,
which is a primary task of this process, is usually dependent upon the type of text, being either handwritten or machine-printed. Accordingly, the recognition involves prior classification of the text category, before deciding on the recognition method to be applied. This poses a more challenging task if a document contains both handwritten and machine-printed text. In this work, we present a generic process flow for text recognition in scanned documents containing mixed handwritten and machine-printed text without the need to classify text in advance. We realize the proposed process flow using several open-source image processing and text recognition packages. The evaluation is performed using a specially developed variant, presented in this work, of the IAM handwriting database, where we achieve an average transcription accuracy of nearly 80% for pages containing both printed and handwritten text.

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Mauricio Gonzalez-Forero : Finding evolutionary causes of unique brains

3:00pm, D104, Dawson Building

Brain size massively increased in certain hominin branches over the last three million years, and all species arising through this process are extinct except Homo sapiens. Consequently, the resulting human brain may be qualitatively or quantitatively unique (i.e., autapomorphic) and may thus have unique causes among extant species. A longstanding fascination has been to identify the evolutionary causes of the human brain, and a dominant research tool has been the comparative approach. While the comparative approach is tremendously useful to contextualise human evolution, the comparative approach may have a limited ability to identify unique causes. Alternative tools to infer unique causes involve manipulative experiments, but ethical and practical reasons render these approaches inapplicable to humans. Luckily, there remain research tools that enable one to infer evolutionary causality from observational data of a single species. I illustrate how these tools can be developed and deployed to identify evolutionary causes of potentially unique brains. Application of these tools so far supports ecology over sociality as a key driver of human brain expansion, in contrast to commonly held views.

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Dr. Oliver Harris: Assembling Ardnamurchan: multiscalar pasts in Western Scotland

3:15pm, Birley Room, D210

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