Delaware Chapter, ASA

Dinner Meeting: February 2009

Notice: Our meetings are located at the Blue and Gold Club Tavern on the University of Delaware campus.

Speaker: Li Liao
Associate Professor
Computer and Information Science
University of Delaware
Title: Incorporating Domain Knowledge For Better Learning in Bioinformatics -- A few success stories


The challenges posed by the large-scale heterogeneous data sets in biology are not merely a matter of computation, but more a matter of formulating hypotheses to interpret the data. Probabilistic and statistical approaches are particularly useful in formulating and testing hypotheses when either there is a lack of understanding of the system at the level of first principles or the underlying processes of the system are stochastic by nature. Living cells as a system exemplify both of these problems.

Already, statistical modeling and learning, such as Markov models and support vector machines (SVMs), have been applied to studying DNA and protein sequences with remarkable success. Yet, the current approaches still remain, by and large, phenomenological - they fall short of exploring domain knowledge. Our research is focused on incorporating the increasing amounts of domain knowledge, as well as improving the effectiveness, expressiveness and interpretability of statistical learning methods.

In this talk, a few success stories will be shared, which include: incorporating evolutionary history into protein functional classification; adaptively learning the weights for various features; and transfering structural information at binding sites to predicting protein-protein interaction.


Dr. Liao is an associate professor of computer and information sciences at the University of Delaware. His current research interests are primarily in bioinformatics and computational biology.

Before joining the Univ of Delaware, Dr. Liao was a senior research physicist at the Central Research and Development of DuPont Company in Wilmington, Delaware, from 1998 to 2002.

Dr. Liao has a multidisciplinary background. He was an assistant professor of physics at Peking University (Beijing University), where he received his Ph.D. degree in theoretical physics. His work in theoretical physics was on quantum groups and algebra and their applications to field theory and statistical physics. He also holds a Masters degree in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters degree in Computer Science from Columbia University.

Date: Thursday, February 19, 2009

Social hour -- 6:00 pm
Dinner -- 6:30 pm
Speaker -- 7:15 pm

Blue and Gold Club Tavern
University of Delaware   Directions/Map

Entree: Order from the Blue and Gold Club Tavern menu
Cost: $10 + cost of your meal


Reservations to: 

Irina Baldytcheva by Wednesday, February 18, 2009.
Phone: 302-885-9136
Email: Irina Baldytcheva.

Please note: Be sure to RSVP by this date.

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