Bill Buxton: Computer Music: The State of the Science of the Art - an Historical Perspective

Bill Buxton is Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, Redmond, USA.

More often than not, the arts are considered food for the soul rather than key contributors to science or our larger economic well being.  However, the history of the tech sector in Canada suggests something quite different.  We argue that some of Canada's most important core competencies (human-computer interaction, new media, and computer animation) are the direct result of the active involvement of the fine arts. We will centre our argument around some too-little known examples from the National Research Council of Canada (especially the Music Machine of Ken Pulfer), and tie those in to other cultural components that help weave this work into the larger fabric of which it was a part, including the National Film Board, the Canada Council for the Arts, SRI in Menlo Park, Lincoln Lab at MIT, Xerox PARC, and work at the University of Toronto, among others. And like all good history, this is as much about the history of the future as it is of the past.

About Bill Buxton:
Bill Buxton, Principal Scientist at Microsoft Research, has a 30 year involvement in research and the design of technologies for creative endeavour, including music, film and industrial design.   He was a researcher at Xerox PARC, a professor at the University of Toronto, and Chief Scientist of Alias Research and SGI Inc.  He has been a lecturer at the Ontario College of Art and Design, and was principal of his own design and consulting firm, Buxton Design, in Toronto.

More information on Buxton and his work can be found at: