Thursday, 18 September 2008

ISMIR 2008 Demos

One of the best parts about ISMIR was the demo session.

Paul Lamere and Francois Maillet demonstrated Explaura which enables users to directly interact with tag clouds by resizing individual tags for tag-based recommendations. Increasing the size of a tag puts more emphasis on it, shrinking it reduces the impact to the point where it's ignored. Increasing the "negative size" of a tag filters results by the respective tag. They also allow combining artists with tags in the search query. Paul blogged about it. There's also a short ISMIR abstract. I like the idea of interacting with the individual tags in a tag cloud and found it very intuitive to use.

Another demo which was presented (and I already previously blogged about) was the work of Martin Gasser and his colleagues on how they integrated audio-similarity into FM4 Soundpark (a platform for independent Austrian artists). The numbers they presented show that using audio-similarity helped Soundpark users find older and more obscure items in the catalogue. It would be nice to see more real world applications using audio-similarity.

Òscar Celma and Marcelo Nunes presented GeoMuzik which allows drawing a route on a world map. Their system then generates a playlist according to this route. They implemented genre/tag filters. They can also visualize the artists in my profile on top of a map. There's an ISMIR abstract. I liked the demo very much and would like to play a bit more with it. The picture below shows a screenshot of a playlist generated from the interface.

Luke Barrington and his colleagues demonstrated their new tagging game Herd it which they implemented in the Facebook application framework. If I understood them correctly they still want to do some testing before releasing it publicly, so I'll write more when they are ready. Anyway, I've heard from others how difficult it can be to get something to work seamlessly on Facebook. I'm impressed that Luke and his colleagues are doing this. It would be nice to see researchers use Facebook and similar platforms more frequently for their work.

One demo I unfortunately didn't have enough time to see (but at least I got the handout) was the work Anita Lillie presented. There's also a video. In the video Anita shows different ways to visualize the same music collection from different perspectives using a PCA (principal component analysis, a linear projection of a high-dimensional space onto 2-dimensions). Seems like Anita just finished her MSc thesis on MusicBox: Navigating the space of your music. I've been told the demonstration was implemented in processing. Very nice! One thing I didn't see were playcounts. It would be great if playcounts (or ratings per track) could also be visualized (size of the circles?). The picture below shows a screenshot of her MusicBox.

Another demo I really liked was Claudio Baccigalupo's work on Poolcasting. The idea is to have several people tune into the same radio station at the same time, and to have them rate the songs, and use that rating to optimize the overall listening experience. I could easily see Gwen and myself sharing the same radio stream frequently. What I found particularly interesting is how Claudio tries to maximize happiness for everyone in a situation where compromises are unavoidable and where he does not want the majority to completely ruin the experience for an individual.

Btw, if you like demos, you might also be interested in's playground.

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