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Putting Systems Management To Music

Nothing gets attention like the sound of a baby crying.

Building on the idea that people are naturally attuned to sound, the Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning has created software that translates network and server activity into music. And, their IT department operators can interpret the music to detect problems in the system.

"Like with the babysitter monitor, you know when the baby's not happy," project leader and Telecommunications Technology Program Coordinator William Farkas said during an interview Wednesday. "The very appearance of violins tells you we're getting locked by spam now."

Research Fellow Hong Tae Jeon sent an e-mail this week saying that the Institute, in the suburbs of Toronto, just completed a two year research project on Information Music, or iSIC, in which "art imitates the network." Now, the concept is in action at the Institute.

Last Friday, IT department operators began listening to what sounds like classical music but is actually a precise audio model of system metrics. They are trained to recognize instruments, chords, tempo and other musical elements of music as a translation of e-mail activity from 15 servers over three subnets. Every aspect of the music correlates to information.

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