Open source project aims to overhaul music search

Machine learning fuels Sun music recommendation technology

Querying Sun's prototype search engine for Led Zeppelin brings up a list of recommended artists - or "tagomendations" - such as Pink Floyd, Queen, the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix. The user can then click a "why?" button to find out which tags overlap with the recommended artist and the one searched for. Hendrix is recommended for Led Zeppelin fans based on tags like "guitar gods," "classic rock," "guitar virtuoso" and "psychedelic."

In addition to recommendations for other music, the search engine provides links to videos, pictures and upcoming concerts, if the artist searched for is alive and touring.

The tag system is better at analyzing music today than Sun's machine learning algorithms.

"There's so much you can't get out of the audio," Lamere said. "The fact that two songs played during your senior prom means a lot to you, yet it doesn't" factor into sound recognition.

Still, computerized analysis of audio can fill in the gaps when artists are so new they simply aren't being discussed on the Web, he said. In the demonstration, Lamere had Sun's software "listen" to a Mozart piano sonata, and watched it spit out a list of recommended songs, mainly other classical music.

Future advancements to the computerized analysis will enable recognition of major and minor chords, bridges and choruses, and the rhythm patterns of reggae, pop and ska, Lamere said.

While Sun hasn't perfected this type of high-level analysis yet, Lamere isn't getting impatient. "I think I have the most fun job in the world," he said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon Brodkin

Network World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?