in the Department of Philosophy and Religion

Mathematics Student’s London Conference Presentation


Eleanor Anthony

by Caty Cambron, courtesy of the Daily Mississippian
September 20, 2013

In March, junior mathematics and philosophy major Eleanor Anthony traveled to Vercelli, Italy, and discovered what has become one of her life’s passions.

As part of the Lazarus Project, a group of people specializing in the multispectral imaging of cultural heritage pieces sponsored by the University of Mississippi, Anthony visited the Museo del Tesoro del Duomo.

It was here that Anthony first laid eyes on the Vercelli Book.

While studying the Vercelli Book and conducting spectral imaging on the book’s text, Anthony learned the importance of finding ways to successfully transcribe old data and manuscripts.

“For me, data and narrative has always been fascinating,” Anthony said. “As humans, we think in terms of narrative, and so much of what we do, as humans, is contributing a piece to a larger conversation.”

According to Anthony, going to Italy allowed her to see “a physical instantiation of that conversation that has existed since the 10th century.”

In July, Anthony submitted an abstract, a written summary of her own proposal for how transcription methods can be improved, to the DigiPal Symposium, hosted by the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London.

Her abstract was accepted, and she spent more than a month preparing before traveling to London to give her presentation.

“It serves as a testament that we’ve still got part of the conversation playing into what we’re talking about today,” Anthony said.

On Sept. 16 Anthony spoke for 20 minutes about a correlation and probabilistic-based approach to transcription methods of damaged manuscripts. Her presentation touched on the history of the Vercelli Book and the Archimedes Palimpsest, as well as the basic mathematics behind the system she hopes to extend and implement while addressing the current problems within the data being researched now by the Lazarus Project.

Anthony was the only undergraduate student speaker at the DigiPal Symposium while being among notable paleographers and scholars.

The Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, the College of Liberal Arts, the English department and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs sponsored Anthony to travel to London to present her abstract.

According to Anthony, her recent presentation serves as the primary research that will lead to the design and implementation for her capstone project and honors college thesis to be called “Archimedes’ Palimpsest to the Vercelli Book: Dual Correlation and Probabilistic Network Approaches to Paleography in Damaged Manuscripts.”

“If anything, I was given great advice about the improvements of my initial start that will be part of my final thesis,” Anthony said. “I’m really thankful for all the support I received.”

Anthony’s ultimate goal is to create a computer program that improves transcription methods through looking at the correlation of the word level and by looking at the cause and relationship of words at the sentence level.