Blog - page 2

This is my blog. Sometimes in these posts I’ll talk about research or art projects I’m involved with, sometimes I’ll just ramble about other stuff which is keeping me up at night. If you’re interested in a certain topic, click on a tag to see just the posts with that tag:

If anything here sparks your interest (or your ire!) then get in touch (twitter, email) or discuss on HN.

A call-up to fight covid19

As with many folks at the moment (both in Canberra and around the world) I’ve been called up into a covid19 taskforce (an initiative of the ANU’s Software Innovation Institute, in partnership with the RSCS & other parts of the ANU). I’m the technical lead on the part of the project which is trying to wrap up epidemiological simulation models into usable & robust tools for seeing & understanding what the results of said models mean for the Canberra health system. How can we predict what will happen, and how can we manage our finite resources to deliver the best care possible—these are the questions we need to answer as the world settles in for (perhaps) a long period of on-and-off distancing & isolation. I’ll be able to share more details in the future, so if you’re interested in that sort of thing then come back to check for updates on this blog (I’ll use the covid19 tag).

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LENS Online - the Laptop Ensemble in a time of covid19

Well, as with all ANU courses, we’re taking the Laptop Ensemble (COMP2710/MUSI2205) course online.

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Reimagine Fellowship UK trip report

I was lucky enough to be able to spend most of February in the UK on a research visit as part of my Reimagine Fellowship—designing & delivering a “creative” coding extension course for ACT students in year 11 & 12.

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Command/Control: giving OS aware keybinding hints

As someone who writes a lot of web-based documentation for using computers, it’s often useful to give people hints about keybindings which could make their lives easier. However, this is tricky when it comes to the control key/command key keybinding convention on macOS vs Windows/Linux.

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ACMC '20 submissions now open

Good news everyone; we’re hosting the annual Australasian Computer Music Conference (ACMC) at the ANU this year from July 8–11. ACMC is a festival of gigs, talks, installations and hands-on tutorials designed to inspire, challenge, and showcase the computer music community. There’s lots more information on the conference website.

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Upcoming gig: smoke, Jan 30

ad for Smoke gig - see FB event for details

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Extempore workshop @ ICLC '20, Feb 6, Limerick IE

If you’re coming to the upcoming International Conference on Live Coding (ICLC ‘20) in Limerick, Ireland, then it’s not too late to sign up for my workshop Introduction to music-making in Extempore. Even if you’re not coming to the rest of the conference, you can still sign up for the workshop.

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Euclidean rhythms in Extempore

As part of the new Extempore pattern language stuff I added a helper for generating euclidean rhythms. I wrote it (in a recursive style) in Scheme using the algorithm described in Godfried Toussaint’s paper (although it’s credited to Bjorklund).

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ANU Laptop Ensemble in S1 2020

The Laptop Ensemble (LENS) is happening again in Semester 1 2020 as a for-credit ANU course in computer music making and laptop performance. It is open to students in music, art, computer science, and elsewhere around the ANU.

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benswift.me dev roadmap for 2020

As a developer of web tech curricula (specifically 2D graphics & interaction design in COMP1720) there’s always a tension in trying to just teach the fundamentals and keeping the coursework up-to-date. For the latter, that doesn’t necessarily mean re-writing the course each year with the js framework-du-jour, but it’s useful to at least know what the best practices are and how to point students in a good direction if they want to go deeper.

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COMP1720 2019 major project exhibtion

If you’re around the ANU campus tomorrow (Saturday Nov 9) then come along to experience the COMP1720 Art & Interaction in New Media major project exhibition. This year’s theme is listening in/listening out.

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code/creativity/culture curriculum design workshop

a half-day workshop at the 2019 CECS Reimagine CoDesign Culture Lab

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LENS showcase S2 2019

Last weekend the S2 2019 LENS cohort (the ANU Laptop Ensemble) gave their final performances as part of the ANU School of Music’s composition showcase. Thanks to everyone who attended, and congrats again to the students who learned a bunch of computer music stuff & build/composed and performed a working piece in one crazy semester. And an especially big thanks to my LENS co-directors Charles and Alec.

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Ben and COMP2300 next year

Students1 are starting to turn their gaze towards 2020, and so I’ve been getting a bunch of emails asking me if I’m teaching COMP2300/6300 Computer Organisation & Program Execution again in Semester 1 2020.

  1. well, the organised ones, anyway 

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Making Altair/Vega-Lite charts readable without squinting

My love for the Grammar of Graphics runs deep, and in particular for Hadley Wickham’s famous ggplot2 which showed me the light back when I was a young PhD student. Seriously, once you have your head around how it works it gives you datavis superpowers. These days I often work in Python, and for datavis I’m enjoying Altair which is based around the same philosophy (and outputs to Vega-Lite for rendering in the browser).

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Package managers: update or upgrade?

Quick quiz: for the following language/system package managers, what’s the name of the subcommand to update1 your project/system to the latest version of one (or more) of your project’s dependencies?

  1. or, y’know, upgrade 

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Sound file I/O in Extempore with libsndfile

libsndfile is “a C library for reading and writing files containing sampled audio data”, and it’s pretty great. Here’s a quick crash-course on using Extempore’s libsndfile bindings to read, process and write audio data files.

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IoT China Study Tour not happening in 2019

In the (Australian) Summer of ‘16/17, ‘17/18 and ‘18/19 I ran an Internet of Things China Study Tour at the Beijing Institute of Technology. They were good times.

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Laptop Ensemble in the Canberra Times

The ANU Laptop Ensemble (LENS) is in the Canberra Times this morning: ANU School of Music’s new orchestra is far from conventional.

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Xinyu's Extempore tutorials

These tutorials are part of Xinyu Hou’s research project to create a set of PRIMM-style tutorials for learning to make sound/music in Extempore.

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