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Limitations of computers as musical tools

Venue: CSG01, Computer Science Building, University of Limerick
Date: Monday 03 April 2017
​Time: 3 pm
Price: Free and open to the public

Theoretically, a computer can generate any sound that a loudspeaker can emit. But anyone who has tried to use a computer to realize a piece of music has learned that there is always a gulf between the desired outcome and what we can actually get.  The problem is in part the still-primitive state of the software we use to get music out of computers.  Existing software paradigms such as DAWs, notation editors, and real-time performance systems are based on particular sets of assumptions about how music is or should be made.  A careful look at these assumptions, and the limitations they impose on our efforts to make better computer music software, offers some clues as to what we might want to try next.

About Miller Puckette 

Miller Puckette obtained a B.S. in Mathematics from MIT (1980) and Ph. D. in Mathematics from Harvard (1986) where he was a Putnam Fellow. He was a member of MIT's Media Lab from its inception until 1987, and then a researcher at IRCAM (l'Institut de Recherche et de Coordination Musique/Acoustique), founded by composer and conductor Pierre Boulez. At IRCAM he wrote Max, a widely used computer music software environment, released commercially by Opcode Systems in 1990 and now available from Cycling74.com .

Puckette joined the music department of the University of California, San Diego in 1994, where he is now professor. From 2000 to 2011 he was Associate Director of UCSD's Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA).

He is currently developing Pure Data ("Pd"), an open-source real-time multimedia arts programming environment. Puckette has collaborated with many artists and musicians, including Philippe Manoury (whose Sonus ex Machina cycle was the first major work to use Max), and Rand Steiger, Vibeke Sorensen, and Juliana Snapper. Since 2004 he has performed with the Convolution Brothers. In 2008 Puckette received the SEAMUS Lifetime Achievement Award.