I propose an investigation into the development of new systems for the sonification of complex data sets. The explosive spread of sensor networks in the last decade, measuring ever more aspects of our physical environment, along with storage technologies for warehousing their output, has resulted in a torrent of data that challenges human abilities to make sense of it all. Sonification, as an alternative to graphical forms of data visualization, has long been available, but has not really reached its full potential to provide immersive presentations of data that can support intuitive discovery of patterns buried in the complexity of such huge data sets.
Truly effective sonification of complex data requires the creation of navigable sonic spaces which leverage the active nature of human perception, and support our innate ability to parse complex acoustic scenes by moving through them and re-focusing our attention as needed. Meaningful sonic representation of data requires a blend of scientific, technical and artistic understanding, employing techniques from the realms of data analysis, computer science and musical composition. In my work at IMeRA, I will develop a practical toolset for the creation of immersive data sonifications, and work with other scientists and fellows to develop mappings of use to their respective fields.