Grid Computing (Music)

In the area of computer science, perhaps one of the most interesting developments of recent years, and one that is bound to have an impact on music and musicology, is the recent focus on the uses of Grid computing to arts and humanities researchers. The stated aim of this type of computing methodology is to enable greater storage and processing capacity to be brought to bear on data that is currently problematic due to its size and complexity, and this perfectly describes the scenario that Casey outlines when introducing the MP7AR tool.
[quote]Finding similar passages in a large collection requires an enormous amount of computation. For collections greater than a few works, this computation becomes intractable because of the combinatorial bottleneck that grows rapidly as the database becomes large.

Casey, M., Audio Tools for Music Discovery, Methods Network Expert Seminar: Modern Methods for Musicology, Royal Holloway, University of London, 3 March 2006. (http://www.methodsnetwork.ac.uk/redist/pdf/casey.pdf)[/quote]
In a poster for the Euroweb 2002 conference, Matthew Dovey outlined the benefits of setting up Grid retrieval capabilities across virtual organisations building on projects such as OMRAS (Online Music Recognition and Searching http://www.omras.org/Full_desc.html) which set out to provide modular frameworks for MIR activities. The availability of distributed tools and resources is described as a Web Services model and this approach is now beginning to be discussed more widely in arts and humanities research. The distributed, highly resourced and secure model that Grid computing supplies potentially provides a way forward for various problems faced by musicology researchers, not only in areas of data storage and processing, but also in the aggregation of small datasets of distributed material (of which there are many), and the problems associated with accessibility and rights management. If this model gains widespread acceptance and new areas of analysis and research become available to large numbers of researchers, the use of ICT methods in musicology may begin to routinely represent genuinely new research rather than simply being a transposition of old research questions in the guise of technological presentation.

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