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Dr John Hawkins

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Posted on 2007/08/31 22:51:21 (August 2007).

[Sunday 26th August]
Spent most of the daytime indoors today - I hacked away industriously on the computer trying to get support for geo-tagging into Cheese, although by the end of the day it still seemed like a lot more work was required.

The main event of the day was in the evening, when, in a rare fit of being cultural, we decided to head over to the Royal Albert Hall and attend the proms.

I can't say I recognised the piece we listened to, and have to admit to being somewhat concerned at the prospect of being stuck in a concert hall and having to remain quiet and sit still for a couple of hours... but I muddled through. A drunk bloke (no, not me) started shouting near the start, and caused a bit of a scene, which was quite entertaining - the composer even stopped and turned around to look and see what was going on. It turns out this chap was later on given a better seat "to stop him disturbing anyone" - what a topsy turvy system, where you're rewarded for being a nuisance.

It occurred to me in the latter half (following a couple of much needed glasses of wine) that an orchestra was a lot like mapreduce, a rather impressive bit of infrastructure for large scale data processing used by Google. Orchestras have a controller (the conductor) and multiple redundancy (each of the workers, sorry, musicians, is duplicated - if any of them stop playing you generally don't notice), and they all need to contribute to produce the end result. It may have just been the wine, or the desperation to find some element of classical music I could actually relate to, but I found this analogy particularly pleasing at the time.

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