Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Wolfram Summer School


Damon Baker

Summer School

Class of 2005


Damon Baker is a programmer, performer, composer, natural philosopher, and a graduate student at Brown University. His main interests are immersive environments, computational art, HCI, VR, AI, NKS, etc. He grew up on a small farm in Illinois, which led as naturally to his undergraduate studies in anthropology and philosophy as that did to his graduate studies in computer music and multimedia.

Project: Generating Soundforms with Simple Programs

A keenly developed visual intuition combined with elegant visualization techniques can transform a stream of bits into a meaningful glimpse into the inner workings of complex systems that can be as beautiful as they are bewildering. My goal is to use sonic representations of complex systems to explore the computational universe as a means of understanding it, as well as to appreciate it as a source of musical inspiration. I will begin by applying granular and spectral synthesis techniques to data from one-dimensional cellular automata to sonify their behavior and give voice to the processes at work in each automaton rule. I believe that this microsonic approach is closely connected to the functioning of simple programs and will provide new insights into their behavior. From Pythagoras on, music has followed (and sometimes led) scientific progress–so in order to keep with tradition, a new kind of science necessitates a new kind of music.

Favorite Four-Color, Nearest-Neighbor, Totalistic Rule

Rule chosen: 0

My favorite rule is rule 0. 1D, 2D, any number of states, it doesn’t matter, rule 0 is always there for you, and reliability like that earns my respect.