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Does Your Smartphone Understand You?

Smartphone developers and users always want more out of their devices. Electrical engineering professor Gert Lanckriet thinks they ought to be able to assess your mood and play music accordingly. Going running? How about something upbeat. Relaxing and reading a book at home? Then maybe it's time for more chill music. Lanckriet's work combines convex optimization and machine learning to automatically analyze and index very large music collections. MIT's Technology Review recently named him to its TR35 list of the world's top innovators under 35. He is investigating intelligent algorithms that will enable mobile phones and music players to automatically figure out what kind of music you listen to based on your location and activity.

His work promises to significantly improve how people search, discover and recommend music. A revolution in music production and distribution has made millions of songs instantly available to virtually anyone on the planet through online programs and services like iTunes. Simultaneously, the demand for music has driven the latest revolution in consumer electronics such as MP3 players and the integration of music player capability in smartphones. As a result, novel music search and recommendation technologies are poised to have a broad societal impact by helping millions of users find and organize their content.

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Lanckriet's work was recently featured in the San Diego Union-Tribune: »