Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Time plan for work for the next 18 months...

This timeplan looks super organised but was actually the result of a long train journey, the back of an envelope, a desire to stop reading papers and a slight panic about whether it was even possible to finish my PhD in three years. Time will tell - but now I have some real motivation to stick to this plan - it shows it may even be possible! Here's hoping I stick to it...

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Abstract of my research to date - submitted to the London Hopper Colloquium in May 2009

Evaluating Computational Creativity: Excuse me, Computer, How Creative Are You?

Anna Jordanous

DPhil researcher
Music Informatics Research Centre / Creative Systems Lab
Department of Informatics
University of Sussex


Creativity is a highly subjective concept; people have an intuitive understanding of what creativity is, but may struggle to capture what the word ‘creative’ means in a formal definition. This poses problems should one want to describe how creative something is, or compare it against another item in terms of the creativity being demonstrated. Such descriptions and comparisons are vitally useful both for reflections on previous creative work, and comparison of progress in creative-led practice. In particular, when looking at examples of computational creative systems, how can one machine-produced artefact be compared against others? Or against human-produced artefacts? To measure creativity I use several related aspects of creativity, such as novelty, usefulness, fluency of ideas etc., which are more tightly defined and therefore easier to evaluate (either by assessing people’s opinions or by using quantifiable tests). My research offers a set of tools to measure creativity from a variety of viewpoints: from statistical tests of how unique a creative piece of work is in a given domain, to social opinions on the significance and usefulness of that piece of work. These tools form a methodology for a standardised evaluation of creativity across many domains, for comparison and reflection.

Research hypothesis

A first attempt at defining the exact hypothesis/hypotheses I will be testing in my work. Any comments welcome!

  • Creativity is something which can be measured and evaluated along a continuous and open-ended scale.
  • Two or more items can be compared against each other on how creative they are,
  • Crucially, creativity is multi-dimensional, involving several constituent factors or parts, considered in combination.
  • Creativity can definitionally be broken down into a comprehensive set of factors that are more tightly defined and less subjective than creativity itself.
  • We can use this set of factors to measure creativity, by assessing to what extent each factor is present. Combining these results is a sufficient way of measuring how creative an item is and gives an equivalent assessment to that obtained by having humans carry out evaluation of creativity in the same items.
  • Hence... One can assess the level of creativity present in an item or system, by measuring the system using a set of criteria which together contribute to a definition of creativity.
This set of factors I keep referring to is a work in progress... in its current raw form it includes (in no particular order):
  1. Novelty
  2. Generation of things
  3. Process/Methodology
  4. Generating something greater than the sum of its parts
  5. Going from known to unknown
  6. Unexpected
  7. Usefulness
  8. Experimentation/divergence
  9. Evolution of ideas
  10. aesthetics
  11. non-linear progress
  12. Multi-dimensional
  13. grounded in knowledge
  14. abstract thinking
  15. intuition
  16. vision
  17. flexibility/adaptability
  18. intelligence
  19. intention
  20. environmental/social constraints
  21. self-belief/tenacity
  22. promotion (personal and by others)
  23. fluency of ideas
  24. judgement
  25. imagination