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Time Flies; Technology Evolves

Photo of Dr. Saha and her husband wearing blue volunteer t-shirts

A Letter from Dr. Ashirbani Saha 

Dr. Saha is the first holder of the BRIGHT Run Breast Cancer Learning Health System Chair, a permanent research position established by the BRIGHT Run in partnership with McMaster University. 

Hello BRIGHT Run Family, 

Time flies. We know this. 

However, there are times when we feel this more intensely. I felt it strongly last month, mostly due to the loss of one of my favourite singers, Lata Mangeshkar (Obituary: Lata Mangeshkar, ‘nightingale of Bollywood’ dies at 92), also referred to as ‘Nightingale.’  

I grew up listening to her voice and thus many of her songs bring back a lot of memories from my childhood. She sang in 36 Indian languages and her career lasted more than half a century! 

I must admit that mere data about her won’t express the love and respect people have for her. I was reading more about her work and in one of the pieces I read, the writer talked about Nightingale’s adaptation to the evolving music technology related to sound recording and reproduction. 

Today, we produce digital files of audio recordings. This is tremendous progress in terms of quality and usability considering that recording used to be mechanical, then electrical, followed by magnetic and now digital. 

The digital recording and reproducing passed through a number of phases before generating digital audio files. I listened to music from audio cassettes, then came CDs, and now Youtube and apps like Spotify, to mention a few.  

However, my expectations from music have not changed although the mode of delivery changed for sure. Time is flying but it is leaving a lot of marks on the pages of history… 

I am happy that technology now allows us to search music through music search apps like Shazam, which generates a fingerprint from a specific visual representation of an audio signal, called spectrogram, and a smart way to match these fingerprints in very short time.  

Remember, time flies and technology evolves. In keeping with the latest AI revolution, Google performs music search through deep neural networks now. (Google’s Next Generation Music Recognition)  

In keeping with the time and technological evolution, I am also using deep neural networks in our research! I will try to share more when time comes. 

Stay safe and warm, 

Ashirbani