Generating Good Dictionaries

April 30, 2010 Problems 0 Comments

Glide has come under a lot of fire recently for lack of both creativity and coherence. After extensive testing tonight, I came to the conclusion that randomly-generated dictionaries have very little uniqueness. In a series of many renders using specific dictionaries, I was unable to distinguish between compositions that used different dictionaries. However, upon constructing a custom dictionary, the difference immediately became apparent. There can be only one conclusion: the dictionary generator needs a lot of improvement.

But how does one create good dictionaries? That's really the matter at hand. The generator used by Glide was never meant to be the final version - in fact, as I recall, it was simply put there as a placeholder, but I ended up relying on it anyway to make dictionaries.

This problem is really just another manifestation of the "big" problem in algorithmic composition: how can we create data that is both original and coherent? A balance struck in the dictionary-creation process will be a balance struck during runtime and, by extension, a balance struck in composition.

Here are a few ideas for adequate dictionary generation:

  • L-systems with random production rules
  • Fractal cutting spaces
  • Random permutations of a base dictionary (wait...do I smell recursion?)
  • Root entropy

I hope to test each of these methods in the coming weeks in order to build a successful dictionary-synthesis tool for use with Glide.