Sonification Platform for High-Energy Physics Data

Quanitizer is a software and media project that began in MIT's Media Lab. The project's goal is to create software that can translate real-time high energy physics data, such as the data created by the Large Hadron Collider at CERN[1], into music and sound. The hope is that this can make complex and esoteric physics data into something that is more easily comprehended by humans.

According to the team's project page at MIT: "This project can inspire the development of strategic mappings that facilitate the auditory perception of hidden regularities in high-dimensional datasets, and one day evolve into a useful analysis tool for physicists as well, possibly for the purpose of monitoring slow control data in experiment control rooms."[2] Three real-time compositions were created in 2016, and two more were created in 2018; both are available on the MIT team's project page.

What is "Quantizing"?

In the fields of mathematics and digital signal processing, quanitization is a process for taking large amounts of input data (such as a raw audio recording) and mathematically mapping it to a discrete set of intervals.

graph of quanitization process

In the above image[3], you can see how this process appears visually. The green line represents the original input signal, while the red line represents background noise (or interference). The black dots represent estimates for the correct signal, which are mathematically determined at certain time intervals. The yellow line represents a corrected signal which is drawn between the points, and which closely approximates the original input. More information on this process is available on this site's Issues page.