VFF: Geometry Processing and Visualization in Paleontology
Friday, March 11, 2016
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Tingran Gao · Math
At present, evolutionary anthropologists using physical traits to study evolutionary relationships among living and extinct animals analyze morphological data extracted from carefully defined anatomical landmarks. Identifying and recording these landmarks is time consuming and can be done accurately only by trained morphometricians. This necessity renders these studies inaccessible to non-morphologists and causes phenomics to lag behind genomics in elucidating evolutionary patterns. This talk introduces the interdisciplinary collaboration of evolutionary anthropology with geometry processing, a branch of modern computer vision that combines discrete geometry with differential geometry and numerical algorithms. We will discuss the digitization and visualization of morphological data (e.g. fossil bones & teeth), the consistent alignment of shape collections, algorithms that compute landmark-free distances between pairs of two-dimensional surfaces (embedded in three-dimensional space), and a machine learning framework that analyzes morphological data sets using the information in all pairwise structural correspondences.