Monday, 10 March 2008

Who is my peer community?

Looking at the last part of my last entry, I think now is a good point for me to record exactly who the peer community is that I am aiming to become part of.

I think that there are many different layers to this peer community, and the separating criteria between these layers are the different levels to which I want to interact with other academics in this area. Let me explain....

So my work is highly interdisciplinary; I am influenced by (in no particular order):
  • Informatics including Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science
  • Cognitive Science
  • Music analysis, Musicology, Composition and Performance
  • Psychology
  • Philosophy (to a very small extent - because of my lack of knowledge and ability rather than lack of interest!)
  • Maths
  • Linguistics and Natural Language Processing
  • Neuroscience and biologically-inspired/evolutionary methods
I think I could even add to this list, but its long enough already!

So to what extent do I want to become involved with, say, the Maths or Linguistics-based academic community in comparison to the Informatics based academic community? This would be far less than for Informatics, because of demands on time and the amount of information my poor little brain can actually process. However I really don't want to exclude what something like Maths has to offer, not completely. I want to stay aware of relevant strands of information.

So, in all these areas, I am keeping aware of things like departmental seminars and local talks, and occasionally looking at courses within these departments that might be worth sitting in on. However my peer community is, I suppose, concentrated around Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science, and particularly both those subjects with a Music bias. (My Dphil study addresses Computational Modelling of Musical Creativity)

Here is a not so little collection of people that I am particularly keen to keep knowledgeable about and maybe get to meet. These lists are the product of a couple of term's work...

People, where they are based and their interests that concern me
Ani Patel (Neurosciences institute: Music and the Brain)
Bryan Pardo (Northwestern university: AI and music)
Chris Darwin (Sussex: Perception inc. sound perception)
Chris Raphael (Indiana: Automatic accompaniment and statistical methods in music)
Diana Deutsch (UCSD: Psychology of music)
Emilios Cambouropoulos (Thessaloniki, Music Informatics) - the co-organiser of the course in Greece that I am going to and a former PhD student of my old supervisor - so hopefully i'll be able to talk to him sometime at the conference)
Geraint Wiggins (Goldsmiths: Computational creativity)
People at IRCAM (Music informatics research institute in France)
Isabelle Peretz (Montreal: Music Neuroscience)
JJ Bharucha (Tufts: Music Neuroscience)
People at Jyvaskyla university in Finland: Music cognition labs
Michael Mozer (Colorado: Neuroscience inc Music)
Maggie Boden (Sussex: Computational Creativity)
Nick Collins (Sussex - my supervisor! - computer music)
Chris Thornton (Sussex - my second supervisor - creativity and machine learning)
Philip Johnson-Laird (Princeton: creativity psychology)
Eduardo Miranda (Plymouth: Evolutionary Music)
Roger Dannenberg (Carnegie Mellon: AI in music)
W. Jay Dowling (Texas: Music Psychology)
David Meredith ( and formally Goldsmiths: Music information Retrieval)
David Huron (Ohio: Music Cognition and computational methods in music)
Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi (not sure where he's based: Creativity theory)

Phew- and that was an edited version of the lists I keep!
So many people whose work I find fascinating... such little time to find their work and get in touch with them. Generally I am hoping to meet people at conferences and also to approach them when I am working on projects similar to them, for example I've been intouch briefly with Chris Raphael about a former project I did in AI accompaniment.

The major conferences of interest to me are:
ICMC - International Computer Music Conference
ISMIR - music information retrieval
MIREX - music information retrieval
ICMPC - Music Perception and Cognition
NIME - New Interfaces for Musical Expression
AISB - simulation of behaviour

How can I get involved in these conferences? Obviously I can't go to all of them! or very many of them in fact. So I need to combine attending conferences with reading the proceedings for others.

So far I have submitted a paper to ICMC - lets see how that goes! and extensively used papers from ICMC, ISMIR and MIREX in various projects up till now. I'd like to find out a little bitmore about the AISB and ICMPC conferences though, especially the recent AISB workshops on computational creativity which are next on my list of things to read about.
There are a few smaller conferences that also interest me, such as CIM (interdisciplinary musicology) and LCC (language communication and cognition) which I will be going to as a presenter of a paper and poster respectively, and also CMMR - Computer Music Modelling and retrieval, which I'd like to look at the papers for when I get some time.

Generally these conferences accept both papers and posters, the academic standards, although many music-oriented conferences take demos of systems in operation or musical performance recordings as well, and have gigs alongside the academic presentations - such as ICMC which should be a very interesting week in Belfast this year! Requirements for submitting vary widely - the three conferences I have submitted to so far have all wanted different things - a full paper, an extended abstract and a short abstract. Criteria for acceptance is standard for academia in Informatics, (I have this impression anyway!), with conferences such as ICMC being of a higher global reputation and correspondingly harder to get into, but conferences such as CIM being smaller (and more focussed on particular themes rather than a general coverage).

Another way I want to keep up to date with current research is by scanning the latest articles published in various journals. CurrentlyI have bookmarks, RSS feeds and emails telling me titles of the latest articles published in: Computer Music Journal, Journal of New Music Research, Leonardo and Leonardo Music Journal, Psychology of Music, Music Perception, and various other Cognitive Science/Neuroscience journals. I try and have a look at these titles fairly regularly but will only click through to a title if it really interests me (because of time restraints). However I quite like the fact that this gives me a wee idea of whats going on, even at the most brief of levels.

A look ahead at a future entry: Current Themes of interest in my community
Current themes of interest particularly in my area: Well the massive one is computational creativity which is a real buzz-word at the moment. Also evolutionary methods are getting very popular (with a very strong bias in this direction at Sussex, although this isn't yet replicated everywhere and I doubt some institutions will consider this approach worthwhile for many years to come - although in such a public arena as a blog I won't go into detail here!)
I'm very interested in the latest advances in neurologically and biologically inspired cognition, especially computational modelling of various levels of cognition. This is getting to be a very exciting area.

In the next post, I'll take a look at one of these themes in particular: a recent discussion on computational creativity. I have had a book of proceedings sitting on my desk for this conference for weeks now, without having looked at it properly. So here's my chance!

OK I've written so much here, but this is an area I've been really looking into over the last two terms, and with so many different academic influences... I know I will have to focus my thesis into smaller areas, but I really like the multidisciplinary ethos at Sussex and how I can incorporate it. This was a major attractor of Sussex for me when choosing where to go for a PhD. So what if there is a greater amount of reading to do, or more areas where I feel like a dunce until I've done some work - I'm really enjoying this research approach! I will focus as time goes on, but not just yet...

No comments:

Post a Comment