Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ant fugue

While in Durham for our NASA DEW workshop, Steve and I took the opportunity to go visit my old friends Wendy and Marty Quinn in nearby Lee NH.  Marty is a musician/scientist who has been sonifying NASA data for years and has created a special composition of our Venice anniversary based on Venice tide data.  Like James in Santa Fe, Marty plans to do more composing for the anniversary, so I thought it would be fruitful for Steve and Marty to meet and share ideas, in the hopes that some of the fallout will benefit our 20th birthday celebrations...
Here is a sample of what happens when you put a visualization guru together with a sonification master.  Visaudiation!  
The autonomous-agent based program simulating pherormone "breadcrumming" by foraging ants that Steve wrote in Netlogo is "blobbed" by Marty's sonification software (in C++) so that distinct sounds emerge from the ants' movements, as long as they have not settled into a statically repeating  pattern.  This is just a taste of what these two crazy guys can do...  I can't wait to see how these techniques can be applied to Venice!

Those of you who tried (unsuccessfully I am sure) to read Douglas Hofstadter's, Gödel, Escher and Bach may get where the title of this entry comes from...  If not, try to read the book. Good luck!

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