Spring 2008»CSCI 180

CSCI 180

Computers, Music and Art


MWF 01:00-01:50PM / ECTR 109


A course introducing the creative side of computing in the context of music, sounds, images, and other digital artifacts. Students will be exposed to media modeling and computational thinking in the liberal arts and sciences. Students will develop several digital artifacts.

Course is open to all majors. No previous programming experience required.

Test Dates

  • Test 1: Friday, Feb. 15, 2008
  • Test 2: Wednesday, April 9, 2008
  • Final: 12-3pm, Friday, Apr. 25, 2008


Readings and References

  • Chazelle, B. (2006), "Could you iPod be Holding the Greatest Mystery in Modern Science?", Math Horizons, vol 13, April 2006. Algorithmic thinking is likely to cause the most disruptive paradigm shift in the sciences since quantum mechanics. The big ideas revolve around universality, duality, and self-reference.
  • Intro to Python
  • Phonautogram Researchers play song recorded before Edison. The 10-second recording of a singer crooning the folk song “Au Clair de la Lune” was discovered earlier this month in an archive in Paris by a group of American audio historians. It was made, the researchers say, on April 9, 1860, on a phonautograph, a machine designed to record sounds visually, not to play them back. But the phonautograph recording, or phonautogram, was made playable — converted from squiggles on paper to sound — by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif.
  • celemony Direct Note Access For the first time in audio recording history you can identify and edit individual notes within polyphonic audio material.
  • YouTube - Image Resizing by Seam Carving Seam carving for content-aware image resizing - YouTube video. Also see "Seam_carving" - Wikipedia article, and "Seam carving" - a detailed tutorial.
  • TED | Speakers | John Maeda Simply, John Maeda The MIT Media Lab's John Maeda lives at the intersection of technology and art -- a place that can get very complicated. Here, he talks about paring down to basics, and how he creates clean, elegant art, websites and web tools. In his book Laws of Simplicity, he offers 10 rules and 3 keys for simple living and working -- but in this talk, he boils it down to one simply delightful way to be. (Recorded March 2007 in Monterey, California. Duration: 16:10.)
  • Microsoft Live Labs: Photosynth - What is Photosynth? Blaise Aguera y Arcas: Photosynth demo Using photos of oft-snapped subjects (like Notre Dame) scraped from around the Web, Photosynth (based on Seadragon technology) creates breathtaking multidimensional spaces with zoom and navigation features that outstrip all expectation. Its architect, Blaise Aguera y Arcas, shows it off in this standing-ovation demo. (Recorded March 2007 in Monterey, California. Duration: 7:42.)
  • fracta Intro to Fractals from Wikipedia.
  • Papert, Seymour (1980), "Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas", New York: Basic Books. Review by Raimond Reichert, Aug. 10, 2004. In particular, the goal was to enable children to discover geometric knowledge on their own. The computer was to serve as a powerful tool with which the children could formulate algorithms to create certain patterns and test these algorithms. The point here is that children program the computer, that the children are in control of what they do. In most educational situations where children come into contact with computers – i. e. programmed instruction, computer aided instruction – the relationship is reversed: The computer programs the child.
  • Richards R. (2001), "A New Aesthetic for Environmental Awareness: Chaos Theory, the Beauty of Nature, and our Broader Humanistic Identity". Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Vol. 41, No. 2, pp. 59-95.
  • Spehar, B., C.W.G. Clifford, B.R. Newell, and R.P. Taylor. (2003). "Universal Aesthetic of Fractals." Computers & Graphics, vol. 27, pp. 813-820.
  • P. Prusinkiewicz and A. Lindenmayer (1990), "The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants", Springer-Verlag.
  • ArtEscapes: Variations of Life in the Media Arts is an exhibition of art objects which are somehow dynamic and unpredictable, out of control, which can mutate and evolve, which can surprise us by an autonomy of their own and "try to escape" from their creators, giving us a flavor of aliveness.

More References