Campus News in Brief

Computer software helps to create song titles and lyrics

A new songwriting tool called Titular has been developed by Carnegie Mellon post-doctoral fellow Burr Settles of the Machine Learning Department.

Titular, paired with another program created by Burr called LyriCloud, helps to reduce writer’s block for those attempting to write titles or lyrics for the next hit songs. These novel tools offer an automated analysis of 137,000 songs, concluding with both title and lyric suggestions for the user.

When a word is entered by a user, LyriCloud evaluates other words in its collection based on a similarity score it generates for each potential option. This similarity score is calculated based partially on how many times the word appears in the same line of a lyric that also contains the user-inputted word.
Titular tags words based on their part of speech, then creates templates that can be used to create new titles.

For example, in a university press release, Settles explained that a template such as “(adjective) (common noun),” might yield the title “Irish Rover.” The template “you’re so (adjective)” might yield “You’re So Vain.” And the template “(-ing form verb) with a (common noun)” might yield “Walking With a Zombie.”

“Writing lyrics that succinctly tell a story, express emotion or create an image in the listener’s mind is challenging,” Settles said in a university press release.

Student creates children’s game for $100K challenge

A Ph.D. student in Carnegie Mellon’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Derek Lomas, won Marvell Technology Group’s $100K Challenge, which encouraged the creation of educational applications for tablet computers. “Marvell’s goal is to launch a revolution in the delivery of education, and these prize-winning apps have the potential to do just that,” said Tom Hayes, vice president of corporate marketing at Marvell Semiconductor, Inc, in a university press release.

Lomas took home the $50,000 grand prize for his game called Battleship Numberline. Lomas’ game is a multi-touch educational game that encourages math skills.
“Improving your ability to estimate along a number line correlates with math performance all the way up to sixth grade,” Lomas said. “Marvell is doing great things for the future of education by seeding a development community for educational apps.”

Lomas is also a founder of PlayPower, an organization that offers educational eight-bit games to children in developing countries. While this technology has become obsolete within the United States, inexpensive computers with eight-bit processors are accessible to children in other parts of the world. PlayPower has received support from Carnegie Mellon’s Project Olympus.