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Assistants are needed for the following projects. These projects are at an early stage of discussion, and this is an excellent opportunity to help shape the project itself. Duration and e.g. whether full or part time are negotiable. Offers from non-academic parties to contract work on these projects will also be considered. For further discussion please contact John Lee.
1. Automated assessment of collaborative work in the humanities. [This post is now filled.]
We have observed an increase in quality of work produced by students in a wiki (where they work together) compared to their normal essays. However, we would like to quantify and qualify this rather than going with impressions. One method is comparing the 2 sources by hand using defined indicators of say evidence of using critical thinking, use of primary sources etc. These can be tested by checking for the presence of certain words or word patterns. We now seek to automate aspects of this process. Automated essay marking as such needs to be based on a large annotated corpus, which doesn't exist here, so what is proposed is a more "crude" but still valid approach of assessing quality using linguistic techniques to search for known indicators of quality in the Humanities.
Skills needed or advantageous are:
good programming ability in e.g. python and java;
some experience of text processing techniques;
some knowledge of natural language structure and processing.
2. Faster methods for algorithmic music synthesis, including use of GPUs.
The project is geared towards an implementation of a simulation-based physical modelling sound synthesis framework in a highly parallel form, using the resources at the Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC). The framework itself allows a user (a composer) to create his own, possibly very complex percussion instrument, consisting of a network of connected objects, such as bars and plates, and then to "play" it, by generating a score of hit times, locations, strengths, and then "listen" to it by taking multichannel output from various locations on the instrument. The environment itself has already been prototyped in Matlab, and used by a professional composer in order to generate a short piece of music. Sound quality is excellent, but run times are quite slow---on the order of several minutes to generate a second of sound, for a reasonably complex instrument configuration. It would be extremely useful to have a fast implementation. Another possibility would involve looking at GPUs in order to perform audio synthesis.
Skills needed or advantageous are:
a high level of skill in analysis and programming;
familiarity with MATLAB;
knowledge and experience of programming applications on GPUs.

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