Posted in Articles: Wednesday, December 20, 2017
by Gregory Nahlik
Praveen Venkatesh, a PhD candidate in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, has been working with Dr. Pulkit Grover to change the way neuroscientists look at EEG (Electroencephalography). If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking: what is electroencephalography? I consulted with an expert, Praveen, in a recent interview to help get a better understanding of what EEG is and how his research is helping improve it.
So let’s start of simple: an EEG is a test that records electrical activity within the brain. An EEG is typically used to diagnose diseases such as epilepsy. However, one of the problems that Praveen mentioned in our conversation is that EEG has very poor imaging resolution. He described the problem as looking at a video of how brain activity evolves over time, but then discovering it was blurry or pixelated. This becomes a problem when neuroscientists are trying to understand the root of some neurological diseases such as epilepsy.
When asked about his research, Praveen explained that he and Dr. Grover have been working on making EEG resolution better through theory. One of Praveen and Dr. Grover’s theories is that “increasing the number of electrodes and then applying the right algorithms can increase its imaging resolution.”
Not only will their research improve EEG resolution, but they’re also exploring ways to understand the information flow within the brain. According to Praveen “we need better statistical and information-theoretic tools to understand how information flows while the brain processes tasks.” Praveen and Dr. Pulkit Grover hope to develop new, mathematical tools and “inform experimental design” as they move forward with their research.
Being on the cutting edge of neuroscience, Praveen has worked hard in his years as a researcher for the Center for Science of Information and as a student at Carnegie Mellon. He said he has learned quite a bit, such as discovering problems in information theory that he might not have seen otherwise through the Center-sponsored Information Theory summer school. Praveen also mentoned that the Center has given him a platorm to display his work to several diferent faculty members who gave him feedback on his research.
For students who wish to be a part of the science of information, Praveen recommended finding universities that are involved in fun and exciting interdisciplinary research. He also mentioned that it’s important to come into the program with an open mind because there are still many solvable problems that have not been identified yet.
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