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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?