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February 22, 1999

Faculty Research Lecture focuses on computer creativity

By Barbara McKenna

David Cope

When he created a computer program that composed music, David Cope didn't intend to cause an uproar; he was only looking for a new way to approach his own composing. But Cope's invention, Experiments in Musical Intelligence (EMI), sparked both amazement and outrage (one distressed musicologist went so far as to accuse Cope of having killed music as we know it).

Cope, a UCSC professor of music, will demonstrate several computer programs designed by him and others that autonomously create visual and language arts artifacts. His talk and demonstration is presented as UCSC's 33rd annual Faculty Research Lecture and takes place at 8 p.m. on Monday, March 1, in the UCSC Music Center Recital Hall. The talk is free and open to the public. For more information, call (831) 459-2086.

Selection for the research lectures is made through the Santa Cruz Division of the Academic Senate, and is considered a high honor.

Cope's lecture will focus on computer programs that actually generate creative works on their own. His program creates its own music in the style of other composers. Along with demonstrating works by EMI, Cope will demonstrate works by others in visual and language arts. Among those is a program created by MIT professor Karl Sims. Sims's program generates, among other things, three-dimensional creatures that make their way spontaneously through a virtual world, complete with the sometimes comical influence of gravity. Cope will also demonstrate a program that can be taught to learn languages.

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