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Analysis and classification of mental states of vigilance with evolutionary computation

Periodic Report Summary 2 - ACOBSEC (Analysis and classification of mental states of vigilance with evolutionary computation)

Over the last decade, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) has grown and matured as a field. Gone are the days when only a mouse and keyboard could be used to interact with a computer. The most ambitious of such interfaces are Brain-Computer Interaction (BCI) systems. BCI’s goal is to allow a person to interact with an artificial system using brain activity. A common approach towards BCI is to analyze, categorize and interpret Electroencephalography (EEG) signals in such a way that they alter the state of a computer. ACoBSEC’s objective is to study the development of computer systems for the automatic analysis and classification of mental states of vigilance; i.e. a person’s state of alertness.
Such a task is relevant to diverse domains, where a person is required to be in a particular state. This problem is not a trivial one. In fact, EEG signals are known to be noisy, irregular and tend to vary from person to person, making the development of general techniques a very difficult scientific endeavor. Our aim is to develop new search and optimization strategies, based on evolutionary computation (EC) and genetic programming (GP) for the automatic induction of efficient and accurate classifiers. EC and GP are search techniques that can reach good solutions in multi-modal, non-differentiable and discontinuous spaces; and such is the case for the problem addressed here.

This project combines the expertise of research partners from five converging fields:
Classification, Neurosciences (University of Bordeaux), Signal Processing, Evolutionary Computation and Parallel Computing in Europe (France Inria, Portugal FCUL, Spain UNEX) and South America (Mexico ITT, CICESE). The exchange program goals and milestones give a comprehensive strategy for the strengthening of current scientific relations amongst partners, as well as for the construction of long-lasting scientific relationships that produce high quality theoretical and applied research.