School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

Quantum Methods for Analyzing Music and Language as Communicative Systems

Supervisor: Dr Marcus Pearce

Research group(s): Cognitive Science, Centre for Digital Music

Supervised by Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh and Marcus Pearce.

Quantum probabilities have been used in language n-gram models to reason about meaning representations of word compounds and their performance has been tested versus the bag of words model; they have also been used to model cognitive concepts and how they are represented in the human brain. Notably, quantum methods have been successfully applied to understanding representation of meaning and, in particular, ambiguous concepts. The purpose of the project is to apply these methods to music. Music is also a communicative system that consists of sequences of auditory symbols conveying meaning, which may be ambiguous. Both language and music have been successfully modelled using probabilistic methods. Ambiguity in music arises with respect to structural interpretations of key, metrical interpretation, grouping structure and emotional interpretation. The project will use quantum methods to create computational models that are capable of representing and potentially resolving ambiguity in these aspects of music. The models will be evaluated in terms of how well they simulate human music perception making a contribution to the new field of quantum cognition.