USC Upstate Faulty Focus

Bernard Omolo authors paper for journal Cell Cycle

February 26, 2013 at 7:30 am

Bernard Omolo has co-authored a paper entitled “A prognostic signature of G2 checkpoint function in melanoma cell-lines,” to appear soon in the journal Cell Cycle.  DNA damage checkpoints are barriers to carcinogenesis. The paper discusses how gene expression profiling of primary melanomas, through the quantitative trait analysis of the G2 checkpoint function, could be clinically useful in melanoma prognosis. Omolo is an associate professor of mathematics.

Searching Beyond the Sound: Measuring the Emotional Impact of Music

February 21, 2013 at 2:12 pm

If, as the philosophers believe, there is a rhythm to life, then there must be an algorithm to detect the emotions of the music in life.

So outlines the theory behind the latest research project of informatics expert and University of South Carolina Upstate professor Dr. Angelina Tzacheva and her colleagues Dr. Dirk Schlingmann and Keith Bell.

“Music is not only a great number of sounds arranged by a composer,” said Tzacheva. “It is also the emotion associated with these sounds.”

The theory’s basic premise is that while certain pieces of music have a relaxing effect, or can cause a change in mood while others stimulate people to act, the quantity of sounds is also rapidly increasing and the access to the music files available on the Internet now is constantly growing.

That being acknowledged, the team notes, too, that music is now so readily accessible in digital form that personal collections can easily exceed the practical limits of time people have to listen to them, which may create a problem in building music recommendation systems.

Though these music recommendation systems, such as Pandora, Spotify, even the earlier Napster or mp3s, have been around for some time, the common denominator of all of them is their inability to recognize or truly grasp the emotion of the songs.

“In this work, we present a new strategy for automatic detection of emotions with musical instrument recordings,” said Tzacheva.

The team’s approach, called music emotion classification (MEC), divides the emotions into classes and applies machine learning on audio features to recognize the “emotion embedded in the music signal.”

What they are beginning to discover is that certain information is present within the signal which can be linked to the emotion that is invoked within a human while listening to the music recording at hand.

Such a link could then help users create playlists in music recommendation systems that reflect the emotions stimulated by different music instead of just identifying them by general genres.

The team sees this as a useful tool not only for individuals, but commercially, as well, in radio and television programming, or even in the area of music therapy.

For further information about this research project, contact Dr. Tzacheva at

Bernard Omolo to publish article in International Journal of Statistics in Medical Research

February 12, 2013 at 10:50 am

Bernard Omolo has authored a paper entitled “Cautions of using Allele-based Tests under Heterosis,” which is to appear in the forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Statistics in Medical Research. The paper discusses the influence of heterosis on the power of allelic tests, which has largely been ignored in genetic association studies, and recommends  an assessment of the existence of heterosis during model selection in order to minimize false negative genetic associations. Omolo is an associate professor of mathematics.

Bernard Omolo co-authors paper in journal Cancer

February 7, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Bernard Omolo, Ph.D, associate professor of math and statistics, has co-authored a paper entitled “Pathologic and Gene Expression Features of Metastatic Melanomas to the Brain (MBM),” which is to appear in the journal Cancer (impact factor, 4.771). The paper discusses the histopathologic analysis and whole genome expression profiling of tumor blocks from melanoma patients’ craniotomy samples in order to understand the biology of metastatic melanomas to the brain and their association with overall survival.

Alex Timonov to be published in Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics Journal

January 25, 2013 at 10:36 am

Alex Timonov, associate professor of mathematics, submitted a scientific article, “A globally convergent algorithm for the frequency sounding and Slichter-Langer-Tikhonov problem of electrical prospecting,” for publication in the top national SIAM (Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics) Journal on Scientific Computing.

The article opens the series of publications of the results obtained within the U.S. Army Research Lab/Army Research Office research grant in collaboration with Professor Klibanov (UNC Charlotte), an international leading expert in the area of inverse coefficient problems.

The article describes a new globally convergent algorithm for quantitative imaging landmines and near-surface conductivity distributions, which are of particular interest to detection and classification of landmines and exploration geophysics.

Lisa Johnson named to editorial review board

January 14, 2013 at 8:49 am

Dr. Merri Lisa Johnson, director of the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, has been named to the editorial review board of the journal, Disability Studies Quarterly. Her areas of specialization for the board are feminist disability studies, psychiatric impairments, and other invisible disabilities.

Tzacheva and Schlingmann work featured in

January 14, 2013 at 8:47 am

Music recommendation systems have been around for a while —, Pandora, Spotify, Peter Gabriel’s “The Filter.” More recently they have been extended into the social domain, just like it was in the days before mp3s and Napster, when we used to make mix tapes for each other and recommend bands. But, one thing that all of the various systems have in common is that the software doesn’t understand the emotion inherent in the songs (other than in general genre terms).

Now, informatics expert Angelina Tzacheva and her colleagues at the University of South Carolina Upstate, Spartanburg, hope to remedy the situation by developing an algorithm that can extract the emotional qualities of a song from an audio file. Writing in the International Journal of Social Network Mining this month, they explain how they have trained their algorithm to recognize different timbres, types of instrumental sounds, commonly associated with specific emotions in a piece of music. In so doing they hope to bridge the gap between earlier attempts to detect emotions in music and the actual human perception of the feelings evoked in a specific musical work.

The team explains that, “We believe emotions are not something that is embedded within a digital signal, but is a feeling experienced by a human being.” They then ask, “Is it possible for an emotion to be searched for and detected within a signal?” They find the answer that indeed it is. “Certain information is present within the signal, which can be linked to the emotion that is invoked within a human while listening to the music.” The team focuses on timbre as the bridge between the information and the emotion. Timbre is defined as being the characteristics other than the pitch or loudness of a musical sound.

The team suggests that their approach could be successfully applied in music recommendation systems allowing users to retrieve music and create playlists based on the types of emotion different music might invoke. Additionally, it might also be used commercially in radio and TV programming as well as in music therapy.

Tzacheva A.A., Schlingmann D. & Bell K.J. (2012). Automatic detection of emotions with music files, International Journal of Social Network Mining, 1 (2) 129. DOI: 10.1504/IJSNM.2012.051054


Dr. Ben Myers Receives Award

January 4, 2013 at 3:16 pm

At the National Communication Association meeting held in Orlando in November 2012, W. Benjamin Myers  received the “Best Special Journal Issue” award from the Ethnography Division of the National Communication Association. The award was presented for his work as a guest editor on a special issue of the Qualitative Communication Research Journal. The special issue was titled “Writing Autoethnographic Joy.”

Timonov To Collaborate With University of Toronto

December 11, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Alex Timonov, associate professor of mathematics, visited the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) in Stockholm, Sweden and University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada during his sabbatical in November-December, 2012. As a result, Alex Timonov received the funds from the FOI to conduct research on “Quantitative Imaging of Shallow Water Environments in the Baltic Sea.” Also, a new research project has been established in collaboration with the Department of Mathematics and Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto, and Alex Timonov was selected as a member of the PhD thesis committee.

Timonov Receives Research Funding From Swedish Defence Research Agency

December 11, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Alex Timonov, associate professor of mathematics, visited the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) in Stockholm, Sweden during his sabbatical in November 2012. The collaborative research has resulted in a new applied research project “Quantitative imaging of shallow water environments in the Baltic sea,” and Alex Timonov received the funds from the FOI to conduct research on this subject.