Monthly Archives: November 2019

Calculating an Erdös-Chomsky-Bacon number – 13

Some days it is hard to focus on work – any day where I have to look at large-scale copy-edits is one of them. So I decided to procrastinate by calculating my Erdös-Chomsky-Bacon number (modified), which is any publication links across co-authors to Paul Erdös and Noam Chomsky, as well as any filmed acting across actors to Kevin Bacon. That last part is a cheat because a Bacon number is supposed to be movie-only connections, but I’m OK with that because I was paid to do the acting.

My Erdös-Chomsky-Bacon number is 13:

Erdös Number = 4

Donald Derrick -> Daniel Archambault
Derrick, Donald and Archambault, Daniel Treeform: Explaining and exploring grammar through syntax trees. Literary and Linguistic Computing, (2010). 25(1):53–66.

Daniel Archambault -> David G. Kirkpatrick
Archambault, Daniel; Evans, Willam; Kirkpatrick, David Computing the set of all the distant horizons of a terrain. Internat. J. Comput. Geom. Appl. 15 (2005), no. 6, 547–563.

David G. Kirkpatrick -> Pavol Hell
Kirkpatrick, D. G.; Hell, P. On the complexity of general graph factor problems. SIAM J. Comput. 12 (1983), no. 3, 601–609.

Pavol Hell -> Paul Erdős
Erdös, P.; Hell, P.; Winkler, P. Bandwidth versus bandsize. Graph theory in memory of G. A. Dirac (Sandbjerg, 1985), 117–129, Ann. Discrete Math., 41, North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1989.

Chomsky number = 5

Donald Derrick -> Michael I. Proctor
Examining speech production using masked priming.
Chris Davis, Jason A. Shaw, Michael I. Proctor, Donald Derrick, Stacey Sherwood, Jeesun Kim
Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, 2015

Michael I. Proctor -> Louis Goldstein
Analysis of speech production real-time MRI.
Vikram Ramanarayanan, Sam Tilsen, Michael I. Proctor, Johannes Töger, Louis Goldstein, Krishna S. Nayak, Shrikanth Narayanan
Computer Speech & Language, 2018

Lousi Goldstein -> Srikantan S. Nagarajan
A New Model of Speech Motor Control Based on Task Dynamics and State Feedback.
Vikram Ramanarayanan, Benjamin Parrell, Louis Goldstein, Srikantan S. Nagarajan, John F. Houde
Proceedings of the Interspeech 2016, 2016

Srikantan S. Nagarajan -> David Poeppel
Asymptotic SNR of scalar and vector minimum-variance beamformers for neuromagnetic source reconstruction. (DOI)
Kensuke Sekihara, Srikantan S. Nagarajan, David Poeppel, Alec Marantz
IEEE Trans. Biomed. Engineering, 2004

David Poeppel -> Noam Chomsky
Governing Board Symposium The Biology of Language in the 21st Century. (DOI)
Noam Chomsky, David Poeppel, Patricia Churchland, Elissa L. Newport
Proceedings of the 33th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 2011

Bacon number = 4

Donald Derrick -> Earl Quewezance
“Frontrunners” by European News at the “Play the Game” conference (2005)

Earl Quewezance -> Rob Morrow
“The Mommy’s Curse”, episode 6, Northern Exposure (1995)

Rob Morrow -> Embeth Davdtz
Emperor’s Club (2002)

Embeth Davidtz -> Kevin Bacon
Murder in the First (1995)

Native language influence on brass instrument performance

Matthias Heyne, myself, and Jalal Al-Tamimi recently published the results of the most important paper from Matthias’ PhD Dissertation. The study is huge, with ultrasound tongue recordings of 10 New Zealand English (NZE) and 10 Tongan trombone players. There are 12,256 individual tongue contours of vowel tokens (7,834 for NZE, 4,422 for Tongan) and 7,428
515 tongue contours of sustained note production (3,715 for NZE, 3,713 for Tongan).

The results show that native language influences tongue position during Trombone note production. This includes tongue position and note variability. The results also support Dispersion Theory (Liljencrants and Lindblom 1972; Lindblom, 1986; Al-Tamimi and Ferragne,
832 2005) in that vowel production is more variable in Tongan, which has few vowels, then in NZE, which has many.

The results also show that note production at the back of the tongue maps to low-back vowel production (schwa and ‘lot’ for NZE, /o/ and /u/ for schwa). These two result sets support an analysis of local optimization with semi-independent tongue regions (Ganesh et al., 2010, Loeb, 2012).

The results do not, however, support the traditional brass pedagogy hypothesis that higher notes are played with a closer (higher) tongue position. However, Matthias is currently working with MRI data that *does* support the brass pedagogy hypothesis, and that we might not have seen this because of the ultrasound transducer stabilization system needed to keep the ultrasound probe aligned to the participant’s head.

The abstract is currently online, and the full article will be up soon.

Liljencrants, Johan, and Björn Lindblom. 1972. “Numerical Simulation of Vowel Quality Systems:
The Role of Perceptual Contrast.” Language, 839–62.

Lindblom, Björn. 1963. Spectrographic study of vowel reduction. The Journal of the Acoustical
Society of America 35(11): 1773–1781.

Ferragne, Emmanuel, and François Pellegrino. 2010. “Formant Frequencies of Vowels in 13 Accents of the British Isles.” Journal of the International Phonetic Association 40 (1): 1–34.

Ganesh, Gowrishankar, Masahiko Haruno, Mitsuo Kawato, and Etienne Burdet. 2010. “Motor
Memory and Local Minimization of Error and Effort, Not Global Optimization, Determine
Motor Behavior.” Journal of Neurophysiology 104 (1): 382–90.

Loeb, Gerald E. 2012. “Optimal Isn’t Good Enough.” Biological Cybernetics 106 (11–12): 757–65.