RichardCyert_Kannan1Questions such as, ‘How can a firm measure the effectiveness of celebrity endorsements?’ and ‘How does the human brain use neural activity to represent meanings of words and pictures?’, are to be discussed on Monday and Tuesday as part of the Distinguished Lecture Series held by Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar.

Renowned researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh will be presenting to faculty, staff, students and members of the wider community. The speakers include Professors Kannan Srinivasan, the Rohet Tolani Distinguished Professor of International Business and HJ Heinz II Professor of Management, Marketing and Business Technologies at the Tepper School of Business, and Tom M. Mitchell, the E. Fredkin University Professor and Department Head, Machine Learning Department. The lectures will be held in the Moot Board Room at Carnegie Mellon Qatar.

Srinivasan’s lecture, part of the Richard M Cyert Distinguished Lecture Series in Business Management, is titled, ‘Business Insights from Big-Data’. It will address the rapid growth in data that helps answer business questions in new ways. Srinivasan will present his recent research that demonstrates improved forecasting power based on data collected from Google and Twitter. Srinivasan said:

Data available to us now enables us to analyse and answer questions relating to business that would be difficult to imagine a decade ago…For example, can we measure the positive effective of celebrity endorsements for business?’

The second part of the lecture will look at forecasting methods for television viewership ratings for prime-time shows and sports events. This examines data, including Google keyword search data and unstructured data of a staggering 1.7 billion tweets.

NicoHaberman_TomMitchellProfessor Mitchell’s lecture, ‘How the Brain Represents Word Meanings’, is part of the A Nico Habermann Distinguished Lecture Series in Computer Science. It will examine how the human brain uses neural activity to represent meanings of words and pictures. Mitchell said:

One way to study this question is to show people words and pictures while scanning their brain…We have been doing experiments with brain imaging and, as a result, we have learned answers to questions such as, ‘are the neural encodings of word meaning the same in your brain and mine?’ and ‘what sequence of neurally encoded information flows through the brain during the half-second in which the brain comprehends a word?’

Mitchell’s talk will summarise some of what has been learned and ask, ‘are neural encodings of word meaning built out of recognizable subcomponents, or are they randomly different for each word?’

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The public are invited to both lectures:

Business Insights from Big-Data
Kannan Srinivasan

Date: Monday 3 February 2014

Time: 4 pm – 5 pm

Location: Moot Board Room (Room 1131), Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar

How the Brain Represents Word Meanings
Tom M Mitchell

Date: Tuesday 4 February 2014

Time: 4 pm – 5 pm

Location: Moot Board Room (Room 1131), Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar


There will be a drinks reception before each lecture at 3:30 pm, followed by a light dinner.

For more information and biographies, visit Carnegie Mellon Qatar’s website.