"Symphony of eigenvalues: a protoptype
for sonification in system dynamics".

David Pfeiffer
University of Minnesota
Department of Learning and Cognition


Sonification is the use of nonspeech audio to convey information and can enhance system dynamics’ analysis of relationships between structure and behavior. Today’s desktop computing power allows users of software such as MAX and MSP to create a variety of sounds whose parameters are determined by the mappings of imported data. The prototype discussed used pitch, timbre and amplitude to describe the values and first and second order differences, respectively, of the state variables. A two-parameter model of Hares and Lynx demonstrated the sonic effects, while another two-parameter model of Alcohol and Cells featured the addition of sonified eigenvalues, illustrating the combined fields’ potential to provide an early warning detection to changes in feedback loop dominance. The prototype’s ability to express 10 parameters of interest with just 4 sounds should appeal to business, education, and the arts.