For the week of August 23, 2004
Gary Lee Nelson, professor of electronic and computer music in the TIMARA Department, has received a commission from the Boston Museum of Science (BOS) to create an interactive exhibit that illustrates basic concepts of genetic algorithms (GA) by means of music. BOS contacted Nelson after reading papers on Sonomorphs that are available on his web site.
Sonomorphs are musical creatures that breed and mutate according to rules derived from the GA literature. In each generation, museum visitors choose parents by listening to the music they make and by looking at a graphic made from the same numeric data as the music. Parents are then asked to breed and a new generation ensues. The visitor can guide and refine the population toward characteristics of their choice. The program contains the possibilities that the population can become extinct or overpopulated as a result of disadvantageous visitor selections.
Sonomorphs will be part of a major BOS exhibit on genetics that opens later this year.
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