This is a useful initiative, despite its narrow focus on engineering and science. It would be great to see the companion film which profiles creative arts and design professionals who regularly use programming as part of their practice/work.
HOLLYWOOD'S golden age may have ended in the 1950s, but it is only recently that Tinseltown appears to have hit upon a mathematical way to capitalise on our fickle attention spans.
"Film-makers have got better and better at constructing shots so that their lengths grab our attention," says James Cutting, a psychologist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He analysed 150 Hollywood movies and found that the more recent they were, the more closely their shot lengths tended to follow a mathematical pattern that also describes human attention spans.
In the 1990s, a team at the University of Texas, Austin, measured the attention spans of volunteers as they performed hundreds of consecutive trials. When they turned these measurements into a series of waves using a mathematical trick called a Fourier transform, the waves increased in magnitude as their frequency decreased.
(Ewen Callaway, 18 February 2010, New Scientist)
"Exquisite Clock is a clock made of numbers taken from everday life – seen, captured and uploaded by people from all over the world. The project connects time, play and visual aesthetics. It's about creativity, collaboration and exchange.
Exquisite Clock is based on the idea that time is everywhere and that people can share their vision of time. Through the website www.exquisiteclock.org, users are invited to collect and upload images of numbers that can be found in different contexts around them – objects, surfaces, landscapes, cables... anything that has a resemblance to a number.
The exquisite clock has an online database of numbers – an exquisite database – at its core. This supplies the website and interconnected physical platforms. The online database works like a feeder that provides data to different instances of clocks in the form of the website, and installations, mobile applications, designed products and urban screens.
All uploaded numbers are tagged according to a category selected by their creator, and are added to the growing database. People viewing the clock can then choose to view all types of numbers, or can make a selection to view only numbers from a specific category – a clock made of vegetables, or clouds, or garments etc."
Fig.1 Exquisite Clock was created and developed Joao Henrique Wilbert at Fabrica in 2009, creative direction by Andy Cameron.
"People exert large amounts of problem-solving effort playing computer games. Simple image- and text-recognition tasks have been successfully ‘crowd-sourced’ through games, but it is not clear if more complex scientific problems can be solved with human-directed computing. Protein structure prediction is one such problem: locating the biologically relevant native conformation of a protein is a formidable computational challenge given the very large size of the search space. Here we describe Foldit, a multiplayer online game that engages non-scientists in solving hard prediction problems. Foldit players interact with protein structures using direct manipulation tools and user-friendly versions of algorithms from the Rosetta structure prediction methodology, while they compete and collaborate to optimize the computed energy. We show that top-ranked Foldit players excel at solving challenging structure refinement problems in which substantial backbone rearrangements are necessary to achieve the burial of hydrophobic residues. Players working collaboratively develop a rich assortment of new strategies and algorithms; unlike computational approaches, they explore not only the conformational space but also the space of possible search strategies. The integration of human visual problem-solving and strategy development capabilities with traditional computational algorithms through interactive multiplayer games is a powerful new approach to solving computationally-limited scientific problems."
(Seth Cooper, Firas Khatib, Adrien Treuille, Janos Barbero, Jeehyung Lee, Michael Beenen, Andrew Leaver-Fay, David Baker, Zoran Popović & Foldit players)
Nature 466, 756–760 (05 August 2010) doi:10.1038/nature09304 Received 22 January 2010 Accepted 30 June 2010
"Dataisnature is a weblog of personal and recreational research containing information and links covering the following topics - Robot Art, Algorithmic and Procedural Art, Computational Aesthetics, Glitch Aesthetics, Vj'ing, Video Art, Computational Archaeology and similar subjects. My impetus behind this weblog is to share and collate my findings in a central repository and publish for the benefit of interested communities."
Fig.1,2 "A test/sketch video sent to Francisco Lopez while working on a collaborative ambisonic audio-visual performance."