Tuesday, 24 June 2008

A mashed08 debrief

So over the weekend I attended the hackfest that BBC puts, Mashed08. It was a 2 day marathon sort of hackfest where BBC and other sponsors (Yahoo was pushing their new locator techFire Eagle for instance) walked you through some newish API or otherwise accessible tech then you had 24 hours to make something rad. Each sponsor gave out prizes in the end for the hacks they judged to be the best at using their bits.

Yves, Kurt and I set out to make something rad as well. The basic idea was to recommend BBC radio brands (shows) based on the music in your personal collection. We (mostly, kindof) made this work.

The idea is that you generate rdf describing your audio collection (or a subset) using gnat, which is a piece of the music ontology tools. This rdf file contains the MusicBrainz IDs for your tracks which can then be cross referenced against the available playlists for BBC radio shows in order to find the best matches.

The biggest problem we encountered (which seems obvious now but didn't when we started) is that a collection of non-trivial size generates way too many results to be useful and we didn't implement any sort of ranking scheme to present the results in a way that is useful, though this could easily be done and maybe one of us will add this at some point...

Also, there was a tech crunch write of the weekend that shortlisted our project, which is neat. (The Guardian has a more comprehensive article as well). Finally, for posterity:

more pictures

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Needs something to do tomorrow?

I'm going to be DJing at this event at the Dana Centre in London tomorrow. The playlist for my DJ set has been automatically generated using both social network information (from Myspace) and acoustic similarity measures. If you're intrigued, come to the event. if you can't make the event, the algorithm will be presented in an ISMIR paper this year, so you'll be able to see a bit of it there (if you're the ISMIR attending type. You know who you are...)