Ascending Sound
August 19, 2010 11:28 AM   Subscribe

What different sorting algorithms sound like. "[...] audibilization is just one of many ways to generate sound from running sorting algorithms. Here on every comparison of two numbers (elements) I play (mixing) sin waves with frequencies modulated by values of these numbers." Two older [previously] attempts (with code).
posted by spiderskull (24 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Whoops, forgot to credit the source. Via reddit.
posted by spiderskull at 11:29 AM on August 19, 2010

I remember QuickBasic had a demo program that would play notes as it sorted a number of bars of predetermined length. This looks a bit more complicated.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:43 AM on August 19, 2010

Ugh. I tried creating a cartesian tree sorting algorithm audibilization, but it kept just coming out as this.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 11:49 AM on August 19, 2010 [3 favorites]

Aw, no love for quicksort.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:52 AM on August 19, 2010

With the inclusion of bubblesort we already know what it sounds like slowed down 800^2%.
posted by Nelson at 11:53 AM on August 19, 2010

Very cool indeed. More fun stuff can be found by Googling "auralization" (audibilization gives only 99 results, the sorting video is #1 of course :) ). The technology isn't hard, but designing a transformation that captures the essence of the algorithm is tricky.

I recall a friend who worked at NeXT telling me about a utility that would auralize network traffic, process load, email traffic, etc. Inspired by this I later wrote a plugin for SynthEdit that would allow you to do the same with Windows performance registers. I should really release it! Although I don't run Windows any more so I can't test it :)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:55 AM on August 19, 2010

"Sin waves" = one of the more poetical common typographical errors.
posted by koeselitz at 11:55 AM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Also if you want your cat to hide under the bed forever, try this: Have You Listened to Your Program Today?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:57 AM on August 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

koeselitz -- Programming has completely changed the way I read certain things, and if it didn't even occur to me that it was "sin" and not "sine" because I certainly pronounced it "sine" in my head.
posted by spiderskull at 12:00 PM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

"Sin waves" = one of the more poetical common typographical errors.

Virtue beckons. Sin waves.
posted by griphus at 12:03 PM on August 19, 2010 [8 favorites]

Neat (but I know only enough to be dangerous easily amused).

On a sort of related note (ha!), a really neat use of data --> music transformation was listening for repeated sequences in genes encoding proteins. Repeat sequences are interesting for many reasons but can be tricky to find because they are often not exact (not only is the triplet code degenerate, but some amino acids can substitute functionally for others in certain positions). So about 15 or 20 years ago, when bioinformatics algorithms were still pretty primitive, I heard a talk by a guy who mapped the amino acids of proteins onto musical notes, then played the sequence. As music, it was total crap but holy cow, did the repeats jump out at you! Even though they were inexact repeats, our music-processing wetware turns out to be awesome at pattern-matching fuzzy repeats.

A quick search doesn't turn up the original work (and I wish I could remember the guy's name, because that talk was one of the most amazing outside-the-box lectures I've ever heard), but apparently people are continuing this approach, although it seems they're more focused on getting proteins to sound nice than on using wetware to analyze protein sequences. Now that bioinformatics research is pretty well established, it's computers FTW again, I guess.
posted by Quietgal at 12:21 PM on August 19, 2010

Quietgal, you may be referring to protein music.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:29 PM on August 19, 2010

So Centipede is an insert sort, and Pac-Man is a bubble sort?
posted by darksasami at 12:38 PM on August 19, 2010

Spaghetti Sort sounds like, "tick tick tick tick tick tick tick WHACK!".
posted by Wolfdog at 12:47 PM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Virtue beckons. Sin waves.

I think it would be the other way around as in: Hellooo sin, goodbye virture , at least for me... But I was imagining something more like: waves of sin passed through my loins as I contemplated the different ways I could "sort" her.
posted by at 12:48 PM on August 19, 2010

"Sin waves" = one of the more poetical common typographical errors.

"Sine" itself is actually a mistranslation of a mistranslation.
posted by empath at 12:48 PM on August 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

Don't forget the original bad-techno-meets-sorting film: Sorting out Sorting. We (ironically, I think) watched this in my high school computer science class in about 1999.
posted by bbuda at 12:52 PM on August 19, 2010

RobotVoodooPower - possibly your friend at NeXT was talking about Peep.
posted by blacksmithtb at 12:53 PM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think there's a big in that bubble sort as it keeps sorting sorted elements.

And I don't get why quicksort isn't there although the merge sort looked like what I would expect QS to look like. Are these sorts correctly named?
posted by GuyZero at 1:27 PM on August 19, 2010

The last time I heard anything like this was when the life clock crystal on my palm was being reprogrammed.
posted by crapmatic at 1:40 PM on August 19, 2010

>> "Sin waves" = one of the more poetical common typographical errors.

It's better on a waterbed.
posted by Bruce H. at 1:42 PM on August 19, 2010

I didn't see quicksort or shellsort, which is kind of surprising. These are lovely, regardless.
posted by chairface at 6:18 PM on August 19, 2010

Sounds like an Autechre song.
posted by ollyollyoxenfree at 7:40 PM on August 19, 2010

The first sort sounded like the opening to "The Show that Never Ends".
posted by Goofyy at 12:24 AM on August 20, 2010

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