The sound of GÉANT ft. The Grid

GÉANT turned ten years and Domenico Vicinanza celebrated the event by using the grid infrastructure to create a birthday song (and ringtone) made of all the names of the NREN partners involved in the project.

Vicinanza, who works at DANTE, used a technique called sonification to turn the partners’ names into a musical tune that feels like the soundtrack of a futuristic fairy-tale. “Sonification, in general terms, is the acoustic counterpart of the graphical data representation,” he explains. “In other words, it is the representation of data or by means of audible information.”

Here is how sonification works: Vicinanza attributed a specific musical note to each letter of the alphabet using the white keys of a piano as a scale. He also assigned duration to the notes – vowels lasted a quaver (1/8) and consonants a semiquaver (1/16). Then, Vicinanza used the data sonification architecture already available on the GILDA infrastructure to run the algorithm. The final result of sonification depends on multiple parameters, such as the duration of the notes, the sounds and timbres, the musical scale or the set of notes. “Using the grid, I had the possibility to easily experiment with several sonifications, changing all the parameters I wanted and having multiple algorithms running at the same time on the grid,” says Vicinanza. “With the help of the grid I could satisfy my artistic need of experimenting with sonification procedures, choosing the one more suitable, processing all of the at the same time and then selecting,” he adds. “Without the grid I would have spent much more time in creating the sonification melodies.”

The birthday song was officially presented to the public on 24 November, at the beginning of the plenary session of GÉANT’s symposium in Vienna. “I really like the result of the sonification,” says Vicinanza. “The melody has some nice regularity, because some of the text own regularities - sonification has the beauty of inheriting them and making them audible.” The GÉANT birthday song was only the beginning and Vicinanza’s plans are ambitious: “I’ll keep writing more songs, continuing experimenting with sonification and artistic application of grid computing,” he says.

GÉANT's birthday song is available as an mp3 file and as a ringtone.