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14 - Data sonification from tweets

Domenico Vicinanza (DANTE)

Data sonification is the representation of data by means of sound signals. Sonification is used in many fields, from data analysis to monitoring, from training to the arts.
At the SC11 supercomputing conference in Seattle, music has been used to demonstrate how grid computing and research and education networking can cooperatively enable an artistic demonstration based on data audification. By collecting tweets from the #SC11 twitter feeds, grid computing and high-speed research networks was used to run a grid-enabled sonification algorithm to turn tweets into music in real time.
Tweets being sent by users across the globe in an advertised time window have been downloaded at the SC11 booth in Seattle, converted in pure text, sent across the network (SCinet --> Internet2 --> GEANT Transatlantic Links --> GEANT --> European NRENs) to the EGI infrastructure in Europe.
A text sonification algorithm was running on EGI, allowing the text to be converted into melodies which travelled back to Seattle where they were arranged in a concert piece and played live.
The whole setup was the result of a great collaboration between all the involved R&E networks and EGI, which collaboratively supported this event, demonstrating that data sonification, grid computing and research networking could offer great possibilities and new frontiers to the modern artists

The demo described relied on several elements that underpin research every day: high-speed research networks including GÉANT in Europe and Internet2 in the US, EGI grid computing as well as the Scinet network built for SC11.
GÉANT and the European NRENs are a vital part of the EGI grid infrastructure as they provides the real time, high bandwidth transport layer to link distributed processing power, removing latency and avoiding data bottlenecks.

The audio file of the sonification could be downloaded here: http://www.bubblechambermusic.org/audio/supercomputing2011.mp3

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