The weekly SILO Seminar Series is made possible through the generous support of the 3M Company and its Advanced Technology Group


with additional support from the Analytics Group of the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company

Northwestern Mutual

How much is lost in pairwise correlations: the case of phylogenetics

Sebastien Roch, Assistant Professor, Math, UW-Madison

Date and Time: Jan 29, 2013 (12:30 PM)
Location: Orchard room (3280) at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery Building


Among the many popular techniques for reconstructing evolutionary trees from molecular sequences, so-called distance-matrix methods are typically the fastest. This speed stems from a straightforward, intuitive approach: repeated merging of the closest clusters of sequences. However, unlike more elaborate techniques such as maximum likelihood, distance-matrix methods only exploit empirical correlations between pairs of sequences. This limited use of the data is often cited as a serious weakness. In this talk, I will discuss surprising theoretical results shedding some light on this question.