Simone Pompei, Vittorio Loreto, Francesca Tria. On the accuracy of language trees
Submitted on: Sep 17, 2012, 19:12:50
Natural Sciences / Physics / General Physics
Description: Historical linguistics aims at inferring the most likely language phylogenetic tree starting from information concerning the evolutionary relatedness of languages. The available information are typically lists of homologous (lexical, phonological, syntactic) features or characters for many different languages. From this perspective the reconstruction of language trees is an example of inverse problems: starting from present, incomplete and often noisy, information, one aims at inferring the most likely past evolutionary history. A fundamental issue in inverse problems is the evaluation of the inference made. A standard way of dealing with this question is to generate data with artificial models in order to have full access to the evolutionary process one is going to infer. This procedure presents an intrinsic limitation: when dealing with real data sets, one typically does not know which model of evolution is the most suitable for them. A possible way out is to compare algorithmic inference with expert classifications.
The abstract of this article will be published in the September 2012 issue of "Intellectual Archive Bulletin", ISSN 1929-1329.
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