Each scientific discipline has its tough problems. Physicists search for the grand unified theory. Mathematicians try to prove Fermat's last theorem or solve the Poincare Conjecture. Neuroscientists struggle to explain consciousness.

Music Information Retrieval researchers have been similarly vexed by a single tough problem. Like Fermat's last theorem, this problem is simply stated, and many have tried to solve it, yet its answer remains elusive. For many MIR researchers, this problem is what brought them to the field of MIR, while for some, the intractable nature of the problem ultimately drives them away.

In 1965 the US Government commissioned several federal agencies with the task of trying to solve this problem. Some promising progress was made, but ultimately these efforts ground to a halt and the programs were abandoned.

For the 40 years or so since then, a series of solutions have been proposed by successive generations of researchers, musicologists and performers. For me, I am hoping to be able to make my mark in the MIR field by contributing to finding the ultimate solution to this problem. I think we are getting close, and soon we all may be able to celebrate a great advance when MIR researchers can finally answer the question "What are the lyrics to 'louie louie'?

Some resources:


Herman ... thanks for the tip ... looks interesting!

Posted by Paul on May 06, 2005 at 01:31 PM EDT #

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