Engineering in harmony


How does an ensemble play music together while apart? This was the query facing Frederick Ajisafe and the remainder of the MIT Wind Ensemble (MITWE) firstly of the Covid-19 pandemic. One method was to individually record tracks that were later mixed together to sound like a full ensemble.

“It was a wierd experience,” says Ajisafe, who plays the tuba and is pursuing a double major in aerospace engineering and music. “It wasn’t as cohesive as playing together in person, but the outcomes are something to be happy with.”

Now that the group is capable of rehearse in person once more, Ajisafe has a renewed appreciation for the community he has found inside MITWE.

“So far as the togetherness of the ensemble, the intangible and social connections that all of us have, I feel like we’re back in that sense,” he says. “The most important difference is that I’m a senior. The last time we were together without masks, I used to be a freshman looking as much as people, but now persons are looking as much as me.”

An completed musician, Ajisafe has been playing the tuba since middle school.

“In middle school, I heard loads of things like ‘music makes you smarter,’ so I said, ‘okay, I would like to be smarter,’ so I joined the band program,” says Ajisafe. “Something about my lip shape and my lung capability was really good for the tuba.”

It was greater than only a physical affinity for the instrument that kept Ajisafe playing; he also loved the social aspect of playing in an ensemble. Last yr, he was accepted as an Emerson Scholar in tuba performance, receiving subsidized private lessons with renowned skilled tuba player Ken Amis.

Ajisafe has also taken a wide range of classes in MIT’s Music and Theater Arts section that cover a wide selection of topics, from traditional theory to composition.

One in all his favorite classes is 21M.361 (Electronic Music Composition), which teaches find out how to sample and manipulate sounds in several software. A few of the sounds Ajisafe sampled throughout the course of the category include snapping, clapping, playing a scale on his tuba, and slamming an object on the bottom. Then, those sounds were fit to a rating Ajisafe created for a previous task. He described the method as intellectually satisfying, in addition to pushing the envelope in how he understands music.

“Most individuals probably wouldn’t call it music, but it surely has musical elements,” says Ajisafe. “It gives you a latest perspective on the world.”

From spelling bees to natural language processing

Ajisafe grew up in Orlando, Florida, and had a wide selection of interests growing up.

“Whatever they were teaching in class, I used to be enthusiastic about,” he says. “I used to be at all times excited by words and things like that, but I used to be also excited by science and math.”

Growing up near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, it’s easy to see how Ajisafe cultivated an interest in aerospace.

“Aerospace engineering is essentially the most exciting field inside engineering at once,” says Ajisafe. “And you possibly can see it with the entire stuff happening in Florida. Seeing all of the rocket launches inspired me to select aerospace engineering and once I got into it, it confirmed that increasingly.”

But there was also a childhood participation within the local spelling bee that tickled his interest in words. Now, he’s working on a project, through MIT’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, that mixes linguistics, natural language processing, and aircraft design requirements.

One in all the challenges of writing design requirements for aircraft is ambiguity, especially when the necessities are written in traditional, natural language form. More engineers are turning to model-based systems engineering standards, which is newer and more formalized. Ajisafe is tackling the issue of translating the unique requirements into the newer form, specifically, putting together representative training data for a machine learning algorithm.

“I’m determining the more granular level to label these varieties of sentences to work out if we could use a more automatic system using parts of speech,” Ajisafe explains. “For instance, perhaps you possibly can devise a pattern that labels a noun at the start of a sentence because the entity necessary to systems engineers, like ‘the parachute shall deploy presently’ — the parachute is the entity.”

As a substitute of converting every detail of the sentence to a system model, his team has determined that it’s effective to deal with labeling and extracting certain key elements.

The project combines many alternative skills that Ajisafe has picked up throughout his MIT profession, all coming together in harmony to tackle a singular problem.

“I at all times need to see the following thing beyond”

Next yr, Ajisafe plans to pursue his master’s degree through the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

“Ultimately, I would love to be working with the technical problems related to space exploration and getting humanity to the celebs,” says Ajisafe. “I don’t know exactly where I slot in that, but hopefully I can have a positive impact.”

And after all, prefer it’s been throughout his life, he desires to proceed doing music, whether or not it’s playing tuba or trying other outlets.

“For humanity to survive, it is sweet and perhaps even needed to search out other places besides Earth,” Ajisafe says almost about his profession aspirations. But, it connects to how he approaches his personal life as well: “I at all times need to walk out somewhere I’ve never been before and be in a spot that I’m completely unfamiliar with. I at all times need to see the following thing beyond.”


What are your thoughts on this topic?
Let us know in the comments below.


0 0 votes
Article Rating
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Share this article

Recent posts

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x