Neural-Network Audio Synthesizer

Warthman Associates has developed three hardware and two software products during the course of its history. The most recent hardware products are two audio synthesizers, called Box #1 and Box #2, based on an Intel neural-network chip. The chip was developed by Mark Holler's group at Intel. Warthman Associates wrote technical documentation about this chip for Intel (see the 80170NX Electrically Trainable Neural Network Data Sheet and the 80170NX Neural Network Solutions Brochure). Forrest Warthman (Warthman Associates), Mark Holler (Intel), and Mark Thorson (Warthman Associates) developed the first neural-network audio synthesizer in their spare time. The synthesizer is described in a February, 1993, Dr. Dobbs Journal article written by Forrest, Mark, and Mark. Later, Mark Holler and Forrest developed a second synthesizer.

The photo below, taken at Warthman Associates' office in 1992, shows our Box #1 synthesizer during a demonstration. The people in the photo, left to right, are Mark Holler (Intel), Fred Waldhauer (AT&T Bell Labs), John Cage (Merce Cunningham Dance Company), and Forrest Warthman.

Box #1 had its world premier concert at the old Paris Opera House, November, 1992, in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company's world premier of Enter, with choreography by Merce Cunningham and music by David Tudor, the dance company's musical director. The program cover for that performance is shown below.

The two photos below show Forrest with David Tudor (top), Mark Holler with David (bottom), and our Box #1 synthesizer. We were in the orchestra pit for rehearsal at the City Center Theater, New York, 1993. Our synthesizer is on the right side of the bottom photo, with the red-plugged cables.

David used Box #1 to record a 1994 CD, Neural Synthesis Numbers 6-9, available from Lovely Music. Forrest's cover art for the CD is shown below. See also the text of his introduction to the CD.

The photo below shows Box #2, our second neural-network synthesizer, during development at Forrest's office in Palo Alto. The box uses multiple analog neural-network chips developed by Mark's group at Intel (and visible on the left side of the chassis). Control is exercised through an analog control panel (bottom-right corner of photo), patch-cable connectors on the rear of the chassis, and a real-time weight-setting program running on a host computer.


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