Two/Four conferences: FMA/AAWM and ICMPC/ESCOM

Short update. Just attended and presented at these conferences in the summer:

The 8th International Workshop on Folk Music Analysis/Fifth International Conference on Analytical Approaches to World Music (AAWM 2018):

Paper: Feature analysis of repeated patterns in Dutch folk songs using Principal Component Analysis (Iris Yuping Ren, Hendrik Vincent Koops, Dimitrios Bountouridis, Anja Volk, Wouter Swierstra and Remco Veltkamp)


15th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition/10th triennial conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music:

Paper: Investigating Musical Pattern Ambiguity in a Human Annotated Dataset (Iris Yuping Ren, Oriol Nieto, Hendrik Vincent Koops, Anja Volk, Wouter Swierstra)


I had a very good experience with all four conferences. This is my third time to FMA, but the rest are all new to me. There were a variety of audience, talks and posters. It’s amazing how people from different fields come together and talk about a diverse range of topics related to music.

What is the most valuable is the intellectual stimulation from seeing new research results, discussing how we have been doing research (on different and similar topics), connecting with a larger community, reflecting and planning on my own research, etc.

A big thank you to all the old friends and new friends, it was very nice seeing you there. Next time is ISMIR in September. See you in Paris 🙂

ISMIR 2017 (ICMC, HAMR, CSMT, DLfM) @ Suzhou and Shanghai

It’s been 1.5 month since the big conference trip of this year.

Second time at ISMIR to present this paper:

In Search Of The Consensus Among Musical Pattern Discovery Algorithms
Ren, Iris Yuping; Koops, Vincent; Volk, Anja; Swierstra, Wouter
(2017) Proceedings of the International Society for Music Information Retrieval

The main idea is that, music pattern discovery algorithms are not perfect yet, how should we try to combine output from algorithms…We tried some simple methods but the implications are interesting. Feel free to ask me anything if you have questions 😀

At the ISMIR conference, glad to see many people working in the similar field again, old faces and new faces. There were lots of stimulating discussions, new ideas, new progresses and possible collaborations, which induce lots of thinking and experimenting.  At least 4 coffee shots per day, there were lots of mind activities.

There were even more fun in the socials and our self-organised jamming sessions. Surrounded by a healthy and energised community, it was definitely a rewarding event to attend. And now I was elected to be the student member on the ISMIR board, time to contribute something back to the community! (In addition to the MIREX task of course!)


Hope the fact that ISMIR was host at a Singaporian institute in China could boost this kind of research in China! Looking forward to the next year in Paris and Delft in 2020!

More about the events:

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Haskell Symposium and FARM workshop

After the excitement and tiredness from ICFP, I didn’t know it could get better!

Lots of people from ICFP stayed for the rest of the days and new people joined in. The colocation with other workshops and symposiums made it different in comparison to ICFP: a lot more intensive with scheduling the sessions and balancing … (not everything’s filmed…)

The programmes:

I heard I was lucky that there were two talks in the Haskell Symposium are about music (Algorithmic Music in Haskell (Invited Talk) and Well-Typed Music Does Not Sound Wrong (Experience Report) more on this paper later! Reading it for the reading club next Friday).

And I definitely enjoyed the Functional Pearls as well. Some of the talks I haven’t got a clue, but the application talks were much better.

I also went to a spontaneous workshop about data science in Haskell, some Functional High-Performance Computing and ML (the language) talks. Such a diversity field and community!

Of course, the last day of the whole at FARM was awesome! It definitely has a different vibe than ISMIR, but it’s always good to have diversity (just went to a diversity workshop on Monday, maybe more on this later). The common goal is to make it musically significant and intellectually stimulating!

Finally, the live coding concert. It was great to talk to many live coders including Alex Mclean, Neil C. Smith and Alexandra Cárdenas. They were using Haskell and other languages in a very different and creative way. More experiments on that later on.

Ok, a few more things on my to-do list now… It never ends..

SysMus 2017 and conferencing

10th International Conference of Students of Systematic Musicology

I must admit that it was bad on my part that I only knew this conference two weeks before it took place. I must have seen the posts on some mailing list about it, but I didn’t look into details probably because I didn’t think I’d have the luxury to go to a student musicology conference. I’m glad that I didn’t book my return flight too early and left myself a day in London. It’s always nice to visit QMUL again!



The conference was very nicely organised by students. The presenters are a good mix of master and PhD students. The are also professors in talk and panel. Some familiar faces from the MIR community as well.

The topics are much more about music content, meaning and education, etc.: full stack music! I enjoyed them a lot.

And it’s definitely a trend that virtual conferences are getting more and more popular. The conference was streamed on facebook (ICFP was on an Oxford livestream service, also virtual presentations in CSMC)! But one have to register to get access of to join the facebook group for viewing and asking questions.

After two weeks of conferencing, I definitely gained an enormous amount: knowledge, movitation, connection, etc. At the same time, the comfortable routines would break during conferences.  Can’t say it’s a good or bad thing, but I’m understanding it better and better what is the most efficient way of doing things given a context. Might not be bad to join some conferences virtually next time!


Neural symbolic workshop

(This is one of the belated summer posts)

I went to this workshop just for one day after my summer “holidays” in the UK. Although I didn’t have much time and the background in this area of research, there were defintely some interesting materials for music. It’s a different way of thinking machine learning. And it was a nice experience to talk to people of different mindsets about my research.

The website is here and the proceeding is finally available, too:


Have to say that there were some talks with formulations but not yet implementations. But talks are just stimuli to make people think in various directions, right? Need to go further and further into details with the talks I like…

CSMC 2017: 2nd Conference on Computer Simulation of Musical Creativity

After being involved in last year, it’s nice to be back and contribute to the conference again.

We had the following 3-days programme:

It’s a small and cosy conference with lots of discussions (4 panels!). Audience consist of a good mix of people from the industry (Jukedeck, Melodrive, Sibelius!), from music/musicology and from computer science. People gave constructive and insightful suggestions to each other’s research/system. Lots of presentations/demonstrations are much easier to understand onsite than from the paper. It worths the travel (specially when combined with another conference nearby) to also get to talk to conference friends/colleagues. I enjoyed it very much!



I was chairing a paper session on the first day and moderating a panel on the last day. Initially I was organising two panel sessions: one about live coding and another one on music pattern. Unfortunately the first one didn’t work out. But I was lucky to be able to meet the live coders anyway at FARM (, a post coming soon) the week before CSMC.

The second panels was the one I was very looking forward to since music patterns is precisely in my PhD topic. And I was excited because we had lots of prestigious panellists: with Srikanth Cherla, Elaine Chew, Roger Dean, Steven Jan, David Meredith, Tillman Weyde, and Darrell Conklin. It was clear that each panelist got their own view on music patterns: what is a music pattern, where does music pattern come from, music pattern and music structure, why is it important , etc. It’s such a diverse problem! There were lots of new ideas and thoughts got accross the room.

We made some slides and documents during the discussion. Please shoot me an email if you’re interested in getting them!

It’s a pity that we had some Skype issues, especially with the connection to India…

Attending ICFP 2017

Today is the last day of ICFP 2017. It was a fascinating three days conference (+1 day PLMW who partially funded me to conference, a big thank you! And the content was great, too: I’m checking out all the previous PLMW videos now!).

I’m in general very positive about the conference, but I have to say, it’s not in my comfort zone (yet). As you can probably deduce, this is my first ICFP and my knowledge about functional programming is way below the sealevel of other conference attendees. The up side of this is, when I talk to people, there’s lots of gain for me; the down side is, it makes it hard to approach to people, especially not to take their valuable time when they could have more productive conversations. Towards the end, I think I’m getting used to have more casual and short conversations, which hopefully could be small gains for both sides. On my side, I definitely gained a lot by talking to people from very different backgrounds. Although this happened, the people are in general very nice and open!

The technical side of the talks are very interesting but challenging. In general, I think I was able to enjoy the first 5 mins of each talk at least. And I was able to have a sense of the main topics in this area of research, get to know the concept of pearl and experience report, the kind of equations and terms that appear again and again, the interaction between the audience and the speakres, etc. The real-time questions and answers on the slack channels pointed me more directions. Some authors put their slides there also and it was great to be able to look at the slides as reference when the talk was happening. These blog posts also helped me understanding the materials.

Putting aside the technical part, some of the talks are really very well-made (background intro, anologies, code and interaction embeddings, high-lighting, colour schemes and comics as well of course!). I think I can definitely use some of those presentation techniques to future research.

In the end, it was three + 1 days with lots of content. I think I’ll check out the papers in more details at some point and try to understand more what was going on (maybe with more guidance..). The Oxford podcast did live stream this year, but they will probably put the videos online soon, and that would help too. In the mean time, I will go back and learn more foundations…(I just realised in these days the tolls of never did a CS degree..)

It is a mix of being fortunate and unfortunate that there are lots of deadlines coming up and I need to work when there’s no talks and no mingles. Always a balance of input and output!

Learnt a lot and gained lots of motivations! The week is not over yet though. Looking forward to the few workshops happening Thursday and Friday, and FARM on Saturday!



Workshop Computational Ethnomusicology: Methodologies for a New Field



This is the first Lorentz workshop I went about a month ago. There were many useful lectures and discussions. It was nice to see many familiar faces again, too.

The time allocation was particularly good: lectures in the morning with plenty coffee time + working group and general discussion in the afternoon (with plenty coffee time of course). Everyone normally got their own office as well. Very nice working environment.

Lectures: There were a mixture of musicologists and computer science lectures. The speakers seemed had made adjustment to the audience – also a mixture of musicologists and computer scientists. There were some wisdom passing around, like: stay healthy from staying away a little from self abstraction, the falling Icarus painting, etc.

Discussions: The coffee time was long enough to meet old friends and new people, discuss about our recent progresses, make new plans about the future, and sometimes just chat away. Gotta love the coffee and juice machine.

Working group: It was a pain to decide which working group we should make and go to. But the ones I went to — language and music, visualisation, open discussion, etc. —  I learnt a lot from them. I hope I contributed to the discussion as well…

Social and Leiden (and Den haag): We stayed in a hotel organised by the Lorentz centre. It’s one of the best hotels I stayed in! Of course we also went explore the city of Leiden (went to a steak place where you can choose your own knife!) and spent a few hours in Den Haag meeting friends.


It’s been so long that I feel like I have forgot a lot about this workshop. We also planned to interview people and update the website… But the trips and the deadline last month successfully kept me away from writing anything about them on the blog. I’ll gradually write them back…

ASA, 5th Joint Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and Acoustical Society of Japan

The second post on my Hawaii trip (Please see the first one here)

This conference is great!

I went to mainly the music and speech talks and poster sessions. Also looking forward to the data science talks on Friday. Some hot topics so far include: end-to-end ML, western and eastern music instruments, speech communication, etc.

There were a range different backgrounds of speakers: performers, teachers, people who works in industry, people from universities, etc., which creates a good diverse atmosphere.

And I’ve always been interested in the production and perception of music and speech. The speech communication sessions this time provided a good amount of information in this field of research. It was just exciting to see how many people is working on topics such as sound production in bilingualism, nuances in minority languages (Javanese, Hawaiian, etc) and popular languages (French, Spanish, Japanese, English, etc.).

The talks were very specialised though. Lots of terms I had to google. There were also patterns in conducting hearing experiments, using ultrasound for tongue movements, eye tracking, lips tracking, etc. This is probably also why there wasn’t anything with music and speech together: as the research question goes deeper and deeper, it’s harder and harder for the interaction between the two fields. But I believe there can be more progress and improvements for both fields if we look at them together. Someone just needs to be the fool.

Another fabulous thing  of this conference is the socials. One free Hawaiian show, two free dinners and a jam sessions. Spot on!

Accidentally, I had very pleasant conversation with Tony F. W. Embleton. We started with the wine holder he had, went to what we’re working on, and living in Canada and England, and history of this conference, and more great experiences.

Also, thanks to my Rochester friend who introduced me to her friend, and further this friend introduced me to her group of friends who’s attending this conference, I met lots of new people. And it’s always open my eyes to see what people are doing in their life and in research.

Another bonus of the conference: lots of languages listening practice. It just feels good to be able to understand fairly well when people talking in English and Japanese (and Chinese of course) and understand somewhat when people are talking in French and Korean.

(off-topic warning for the following content :P)

It also poses a problem though. Without consideration on my speaking skill level in these languages, it’s just hard to speak anything than English in conferences. People are looking for the most efficient way of communication. So when people are good at English, people speak in English naturally. Even when people are not that fluent in English, since they make efforts in speaking in English, some might be offended if we don’t speak back in English.

I heard some music theory conferences still have sessions in different languages. Really looking forward to attend one like that!

I don’t like making comparison when I’m not sure, but I’m definitely sure about this one: I enjoyed this conference much more than the AES I went a few months ago (see the post about it here). It doesn’t imply anything on the quality of the conferences, just a feeling, maybe influenced by the location, the focus, etc. The funny thing is that, both times, when I’m getting off the plane, there was a PhD offer for me. Completely irrelevant to the conference, but probably gonna make me love traveling even more.




141 AES convention in LA

I can’t believe I dragged a month to write this…

It was hard to write, to be fair.

This is my “third” AES convention, first fully registered one. Somehow I was in the city when 139 (NYC) and 140 (Paris) took place, so I went to the free parts. But this time, thanks again to the NSF-ICorps funding, I made it to LA and fully registered!

It is a little far fetch from my research. I’m learning a lot about acoustics though. And acoustics sometimes can be very relevant when we are using audio data or considering the cognitive side of music.

I made it easier for myself this time because something else was going on in my life (there will be a post about this). So I mainly went to the tutorials and workshops. There were an interesting tutorial about podcast making and another one about user testing. A thinktank-like session was there, too, but I didn’t go and thought it’s better to give others the opportunity (and being pretty tired). Heard they had a great student party after the day. I also went to the opening ceremony, learnt how the convention came to grow to this size, and how someone published 1000+ papers in these conferences. Finally, as a routine, I also casually wondered through the exhibition.

I also took the opportunity to visit the city a little, by myself and with a lab mate/friend and a childhood friend. Went to a $10, 4 hours concert in the Disney music hall, and lots of fun activities thanks to the convention coupons.

It’s late so I’ll stop here. But it was fun. Maybe someday I’ll show up again. Who knows 😀