Category: Research

The Berkeley Revolution

"The Berkeley Revolution" is a digital history website that dramatizes, through curated archives of primary documents from the time, the story of Berkeley's political and cultural transformation in the late-60s and 1970s. It was created primarily by Cal undergraduates, with the supervision of Professor Scott Saul, through an honors seminar in American Studies. Six research projects, with 300 primary source documents attached to them, were launched with the first iteration of the class in 2017; more projects will be launched with future iterations of the class.

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The Book of the Dead in 3D. Visualizing the ancient Egyptian magic for the dead

During this year (AY 2017-2018), we have continued to build 3D visualizations of ancient Egyptian coffins and to progress in disseminating 3D models of previously unpublished ancient Egyptian coffins kept in the storage rooms of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology (PAHMA) at UC Berkeley. We are also continuing the textual and iconographic analysis of the 3D models by creating interactive annotations on the models themselves.

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Human-Machine Interactive Composition Using Machine Learning

We will develop a software program that interacts with human musicians to automatically co-author music in real time using machine learning. Our real-time interactive system contributes to and draws from already existing branches of study in music composition and computer science. From computer science, the system applies techniques from Music Information Retrieval (MIR) and Machine Learning to analyze and generate musical content. Within the domain of music composition, our piece aims to develop an interactive digital framework for gesture-based music improvisation.

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MayaLab: Sharing Maya archaeology within and outside the research community

This project will develop a web portal for MayaLab, an international collaborative environment for exploration of the archaeology of the Classic Maya city-state network that developed in Central America between AD 250 and 800, one of the most significant examples of a literate ancient society in the world.

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Creating Immersive, Interactive Environments for Engaging with Ancient Egyptian Coffins

Since 2015 and thanks to funding from two earlier collaborative research grants, I have been building 3D models of selected ancient Egyptian coffins from the Egyptian collection housed at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology. This category of artefacts is central for the study and understanding of the ancient Egyptian funerary religion, literature and iconography. Coffins were elite items for protecting a mummy and enabling the deceased’s soul to travel in the netherworld and therefore they were richly decorated inside and outside by scribes and artists of the time.

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Images of Eternity in 3D. The visualization of ancient Egyptian coffins through photogrammetry

Expanding on work accomplished through an earlier collaborative research grant, this project aims to build a new digital platform for an in-depth study of the ancient Egyptian funerary culture and its media. The main outcome will be a digital platform that allows to display a coffin in 3D and where users will be able to pan, rotate, and zoom in on the coffin, clicking on areas of text to highlight them and view an annotated translation together with other metadata (transcription of the hieroglyphic text, bibliography, textual variants, museological data, provenance, etc.)

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Developing a Modified Version of the Lacuna Collaborative Annotation Platform

This grant will support our third year of an ongoing collaborative research program with Stanford’s Poetic Media Lab, who designed Lacuna (www.lacunastories.com), an online annotation platform designed to facilitate collaborative research and teaching. In our modification of the platform, we have adjusted it to support qualitative and collaborative inquiry for researchers looking to develop language and practices for the study of the Contemporary, including contemporary art, literature, and culture. 

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Automatic Authorship Attribution in the Hebrew Bible and Other Literary Texts

The Hebrew Bible is a composite text written by many authors and compiled over hundreds of years. With much of the academic analysis of the Bible dedicated towards discerning nested authorship, scholars closely examine word choice and style to infer distinct components. Despite centuries of advancement in understanding authorial layers within the Bible, attribution for many verses is still heavily debated. The principal aim of our research project is to develop a set of machine learning algorithms to contribute to the analysis of biblical authorship.

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