Using High-Performance Computers to Enable Collaborative and Interactive Composition with DISSCO

Sever Tipei, Alan B. Craig, Paul F. Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Composers do not usually collaborate with other composers but, for the last half century, open works were created that invite performers to implement details left undetermined or even decide the order in which various sections of the composition are to be played. Chance operations were also used in the writing of musical pieces and, in music generated with the assistance of computers, controlled randomness found its place. This article proposes a platform designed to encourage collaborative and interactive composition on high-performance computers with DISSCO (Digital Instrument for Sound Synthesis and Composition). DISSCO incorporates random procedures as well as deterministic means of defining the components of a piece. It runs efficiently on the Comet supercomputer of the San Diego Supercomputing Center and uses the Jupyter notebook environment to integrate the end-to-end processes with a user. These tools, the implementation platform, and the collaboration management are discussed in detail. Comments regarding aesthetic implications of the partnership between one or more humans and computer—considered a bona fide collaborator—are also provided. Possible future developments are supplied at the end.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number24
JournalMultimodal Technologies and Interaction
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Algorithmic composition
  • Collaborative composition
  • Digital sound synthesis
  • High-performance computing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications


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