Big Numbers

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Up until recently, Algorythm Radio was able to pump out 18 quintillion tracks per genre. That’s a bit lame, right..? I don’t like to think I am choking my app’s creative abilities with such a restrictively small number of possibilities. No, I need a much bigger number if my app is to really show it’s full creative potential. So I have upgraded it from 18 quintillion possibilities, to anywhere up to 219937 possibilities. I know what you’re thinking, that might be an impressive number if it actually meant anything to you. For those who might have reached for a calculator, I can tell you that no, the answer isn’t infinity, your calculator just doesn’t have the stomach for a calculation like that. I guess I’ll just print the number in a format you can understand if you’re going to twist my arm like this:

43154247973881626480552355163379198390539350432267115051652505414033306801376580911304513629318584665545269938257648835317902217334584413909528269154609168019007875343741396296801920114486480902661414318443276980300066728104984095451588176077132969843762134621790396391341285205627619600513106646376648615994236675486537480241964350295935168662363909047948347692313978301377820785712419054474332844529183172973242310888265081321626469451077707812282829444775022680488057820028764659399164766265200900561495800344054353690389862894061792872011120833614808447482913547328367277879565648307846909116945866230169702401260240187028746650033445774570315431292996025187780790119375902863171084149642473378986267503308961374905766340905289572290016038000571630875191373979555047468154333253474991046248132504516341796551470575481459200859472614836213875557116864445789750886277996487304308450484223420629266518556024339339190844368921018424844677042727664601852914925277280922697538426770257333928954401205465895610347658855386633902546289962132643282425748035786233580608154696546932563833327670769899439774888526687278527451002963059146963875715425735534475979734463100678367393327402149930968778296741391514599602374213629898720611431410402147238998090962818915890645693934483330994169632295877995848993366747014871763494805549996163051541225403465297007721146231355704081493098663065733677191172853987095748167816256084212823380168625334586431254034670806135273543270714478876861861983320777280644806691125713197262581763151313596429547763576367837019349835178462144294960757190918054625114143666384189433852576452289347652454631535740468786228945885654608562058042468987372436921445092315377698407168198376538237748614196207041548106379365123192817999006621766467167113471632715481795877005382694393400403061700457691135349187874888923429349340145170571716181125795888889277495426977149914549623916394014822985025331651511431278802009056808456506818877266609831636883884905621822262933986548645669080672191704740408891349835685662428063231198520436826329415290752972798343429446509992206368781367154091702655772727391329424277529349082600585884766523150957417077831910016168475685658673192860882070179760307269849987354836042371734660257694347235506301744118874141292438958141549100609752216882230887611431996472330842380137110927449483557815037586849644585749917772869926744218369621137675101083278543794081749094091043084096774144708436324279476892056200427227961638669149805489831121244676399931955371484012886360748706479568669048574782855217054740113945929622177502575565811067452201448981991968635965361551681273982740760138899638820318776303668762730157584640042798880691862640268612686180883874939573818125022279689930267446255773959542469831637863000171279227151406034129902181570659650532600775823677398182129087394449859182749999007223592423334567850671186568839186747704960016277540625331440619019129983789914712515365200336057993508601678807687568562377857095255541304902927192220184172502357124449911870210642694565061384919373474324503966267799038402386781686809962015879090586549423504699190743519551043722544515740967829084336025938225780730880273855261551972044075620326780624448803490998232161231687794715613405793249545509528052518010123087258778974115817048245588971438596754408081313438375502988726739523375296641615501406091607983229239827240614783252892479716519936989519187808681221191641747710902480633491091704827441228281186632445907145787138351234842261380074621914004818152386666043133344875067903582838283562688083236575482068479639546383819532174522502682372441363275765875609119783653298312066708217149316773564340379289724393986744139891855416612295739356668612658271234696438377122838998040199739078061443675415671078463404673702403777653478173367084844734702056866636158138003692253382209909466469591930161626097920508742175670306505139542860750806159835357541032147095084278461056701367739794932024202998707731017692582046210702212514120429322530431789616267047776115123597935404147084870985465426502772057300900333847905334250604119503030001704002887892941404603345869926367501355094942750552591581639980523190679610784993580896683299297681262442314008657033421868094551740506448829039207316711307695131892296593509018623094810557519560305240787163809219164433754514863301000915916985856242176563624771328981678548246297376249530251360363412768366456175077031977457534912806433176539995994343308118470147158712816149394421276614228262909950055746981053206610001560295784656616193252269412026831159508949671513845195883217147982748879261851417819979034417285598607727220866677680426090308754823803345446566305619241308374452754668143015487710877728011086004325892262259413968285283497045571062757701421761565262725153407407625405149931989494459106414660534305378576709862520049864880961144869258603473714363659194013962706366851389299692869491805172556818508298824954954815796063169517658741420159798754273428026723452481263569157307213153739781041627653715078598504154797287663122946711348158529418816432825044466692781137474494898385064375787507376496345148625306383391555145690087891955315994462944493235248817599907119135755933382121706191477185054936632211157222920331148502487563303118018805685073569841580518118710778653953571296014372940865270407021924383167290323231567912289419486240594039074452321678019381871219092155460768444573578559513613304242206151356457513937270939009707237827101245853837678338161023397586854894230696091540249987907453461311923963852950754758058205625956600817743007191746812655955021747670922460866747744520875607859062334750627098328593480067789456169602494392813763495657599847485773553990957557313200809040830036446492219409934096948730547494301216165686750735749555882340303989874672975455060957736921559195480815514035915707129930057027117286252843197413312307617886797506784260195436760305990340708481464607278955495487742140753570621217198252192978869786916734625618430175454903864111585429504569920905636741539030968041472

Now that’s a number to write home about! This will ensure that every melody, rhythm and instrument generator is as flexible as possible. Ok, so I know what you’re wondering now… how many different snare sounds can there really be? Yes, you got me, there aren’t likely to be that many snare drum sounds that sound unique to your ear. For every different snare that you hear, there will be billions possible that sound exactly the same, but have ever so slightly different parameters. So is this upgrade a waste of time? Not at all! If you take into account every possible melody, rhythm and timbre available for use, the number of musical possibilities is incredible! This is a number that I wouldn’t hastily try to calculate, however the YouTube Channel vsauce has made some headway, so if you’re interested, check out the video here:

I said earlier that I’ve upgraded it to be anything up to that big number above. I don’t think I actually need that big a number, and there are some minor technical downsides to using such a large number of possibilities as well. What I need to do is find a good balance between usefulness, impressiveness, and over–the–topness. I want the number to be big — it makes variety a certainty, it gives the user a large universe of music to explore, it shows how endless the possibilities really are… — but it also looks nice on your screen when dubstep track 189468390020954724589335642495 is playing. It would be a shame if I made the seed numbers (the seed is the way each potential track is stored) so big that it didn’t fit on your screen, or started to look ugly.

Please feel free to give me your views on this. Do you care how many stupidillions of tracks are available? Do you care if the seed number can be shown on the screen? Should I go mental with this, or should I keep it scaled back? Or do you think I’m just a mega–nerd who needs to stop creaming over numbers? I’d accept that opinion too 😉

P.S. The Kickstarter campaign is just around the corner now, it’s only a matter of weeks… keep an eye out!

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