Friday, January 29, 2010

Winter Storm, in Summary

Around fifty students and faculty participated in the 2010 Winter Storm organized and run by the students of the language science IGERT program at UMd The series of short lectures, group meetings, and social activities - all designed to encourage networking among students - started on January 10 with a statistics class for R and ended on January 22 with the “I-95 Summit on Learning Sound Systems,” which brought together researchers from Maryland, Johns Hopkins, Delaware, and Penn.

The Winter Storm planning committee - composed of students from Psychology, Computer Science, Linguistics, Second Language Acquisition, and Hearing and Speech - aimed to design activities that are accessible to a diverse audience. For example, the daily Lunch Talks introduced themes and people working in various language science areas ranging from computational linguistics to the neuropsychology of language. A very well attended session was Jon Sprouse’s discussion of the challenges in finding a job and succeeding in an interdisciplinary field. Jon is a recent graduate of the Linguistics Department at UMd and he is currently an Assistant Professor in the Cognitive Science Department at UC Irvine. Small teams of students met each afternoon of Winter Storm to plan novel interdisciplinary research projects. For example, “Team Ferret” brought together students from biology, computer science, and linguistics to work on using machine learning techniques to identify signatures of speech sound processing in neural recordings from ferret auditory cortex.

For details of this past Winter Storm see the Winter Wiki at or the photo album at

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