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Smooth Streaming

This March, Erik Taubeneck, MA mathematics ’10, was awarded Best Paper in the Natural Sciences by a Graduate Student at the 20th annual Robin Rafferty Mathias research conference. He received the award for his work dealing with streaming audio files.

Taubeneck has spent the past year on this project, which also serves as his MA thesis. At last year’s conference, he received an honorable mention for his preliminary research. “This year I was hoping to do the best I could, so it’s very exciting to the get recognition for the work I’ve been doing for over a year,” he says.

His research aims to mitigate a common problem for the modern music listener: variation in the quality of streaming music depending on signal strength, exemplified best when dealing with cellular phones. His theory asserts that, by breaking down the raw audio files into multiple smaller files and streaming them separately, the quality of the MP3 will be able to adjust to the signal strength without the music needing to stop.

His original idea was inspired by mathematics professor Stephen Casey, who has worked with George Mason University’s David Walnut on research dealing with sampling signals at incommensurate rates. “I wouldn’t have been able to do this without him. My research relies heavily on his,” he says. “He helped me a lot with the mathematics and I did a lot of the implementation.”

For Taubeneck, this work represented the culmination of his educational experiences at AU, where he also received a BS in economics and statistics in 2008. “A lot of the research relates to all of the classes I’ve taken here getting my masters and my undergraduate,” he says. After graduation, he plans to pursue a career analyzing data for web companies, “working with those structures and that data to see how we can make something meaningful out of it.”

The paper will be published on the College of Arts and Sciences Web page this summer, and Taubeneck has applied for a copyright for his theory. Taubeneck plans to continue developing his idea, with the ultimate hope of marketing it to various companies.