Software “auralization”

Computers & Mobile Craft & Design Music
Software “auralization”

Finnish computer science doctoral candidate Cessu created a hack to make music from (dramatically slowed) bit-level operations in his CPU. A similar technique called “software visualization” is more commonly used to clarify the operation of complex algorithms for educational and analytical purposes, but Cessu seems to be the first person to try it with sound. [via Hack a Day]

6 thoughts on “Software “auralization”

  1. Peter says:

    This guy did it with an Altair 8080 in 1977:

    I think there’s a 60’s demo from DEC or IBM using a radio as well. And then, of course, there’s the IBM 7090 album, featuring “Bicycle Built for Two”, or, as it’s more commonly known, “Daisy”:

  2. Rob Philp says:

    I also used the radio trick in the late 70’s to debug programs running on a TRS-80. Each subroutine had a unique sound, and a coding bug producing an endless loop was easily distinuishable from a program that simply took a long time to run.

  3. Dave Bell says:

    Peter’s link refers to Steve Dompier’s music program for the 8080. We ported it with some effort to a Z80 a few years later.

    Around that same time, the video game “Target” came out for the 8080 and 16×64 screen. It used text graphics to represent several sizes of aircraft, parachutes, explosions and falling debris. The sounds from a nearby AM radio were very appropriate to the on-screen activity. I have always wondered how deliberate that was!

    Loved the TRS-80 debug comment!

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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