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College Making Search Engine That 'Listens'

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On the back of a new grant from The National Science Foundation, ars technica is reporting the College of Charleston is trying to design a search engine which will "listen" to music and learn to make links between different artists to help users' expand their musical horizons.

Specific details are sparse at this stage, but Charleston boffins say the system will initially be trained to recognise different composers and music styles and from there learn to draw parallels between tracks with similar pitches, tempos, chord structures and so forth.

The end result sounds a little like the services provided by streaming online stations including Last.fm and Pandora – but being a dedicated search engine means it should be instantly accessible and doesn't require you to listen to a host of bands first.

Researchers at the college say initial results have been excellent, though they have just been pitching for their new funding so would you expect anything less? That said, who hasn't wished for a fast and reliable way to discover new music? So fingers' crossed.

Now if only someone could do a version for movies... and beer.

Links:
ars technica article
Early Search Result Samples.

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