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Indiana University Department of Music became the School of Music March 21, 1921.

Supercomputing in a music school via Jetstream

Jetstream’s virtual interface finds a new home at the IU Jacobs School of Music hosting statistical analysis applications aimed to inform both music education researchers and policy makers.

The Visualizing Statistical Concept Applications dashboard, hosted on Jetstream, links to applications covering introductory statistical concepts like data correlation and ANOVA (ANalysis Of VAriance) steps, designed with arts and humanities disciplines in mind. 

The apps’ developer, Peter Miksza is a professor at the Jacobs school and teaches courses using the resources. He says the translation of statistical concepts to images is a good reference for his students. “These graduate students are musicians who are coming back for a graduate degree and are just kind of getting their feet wet with what empirical research might look like,” said Miksza.  “And for a lot of these musicians, who may have taught for a number of years— the last time they took a math course could be 10 or 20 years ago. So formulas and computations are really foreign to them but pictures and manipulating things and being able to see how statistical progressions change, that’s very useful.”

Peter Miksza, Associate Professor of Music (Music Education)

Jetstream is easy and accessible for sure, but the technical support has been great. Being able to work with Scott Michael and the Research Technologies team, as well as those who answer the help email, has made this much easier running my own server. I have just enough skills to make the right file transfers. And with Jetstream, that’s all I need.

Peter Miksza

Miksza says he sees the applications as a learning bridge, “The idea is to get students thinking about the data they have, and then envisioning what kinds of procedures they might have to apply to that data,” he said. 

Jetstream’s accessible virtual interface has also made hosting data applications related to music education policy feasible. “There's a good amount of data about music education that the federal Department of Education gathers,” explained Miksza. “But it’s usually stored on a website where you need permissions to download or, if it is publicly available, it’s just raw data,” he said.
Seeing an opportunity to combine his statistical analysis abilities translating data into easily readable graphs, Miksza began hosting these resources on Jetstream for advocates and educators to use at conferences and in research.

IU Jacobs School of Music, east studio building

Aggregating information specific to music education is important, says Miksza, because it is not a priority in the greater field of educational advocacy and research. “Even when you can access tables and graphs about music education they’re usually about broader topics like arts and performance,” said Miksza, whose own research applies statistical analysis to performance psychology and musical skill acquisition. “Teachers, parents, and administrators don’t have time to complete secondary data analysis, or analyses of existing data, so I created this site so that people can surf through the items that the Department of Education gathered and see the data in bar graphs or percentages,” he said. 

Overall, he says, Jetstream provides a new space for researchers beginning their journey with computational modeling, as well as providing a destination for easy to read graphs about the state of music education across the US— without impacting his budget. “I think it can’t be overstated that my dean, or the technologists at the Jacobs School are not burdened by extra costs of renting server space or hiring additional staff,” he said.

IU Jacobs School of Music, Simon Music Library and Recital Hall

But for Miksza, Research Technologies’ user support was what made everything come together. “Jetstream is easy and accessible for sure, but the technical support has been great. Being able to work with Scott Michael and the Research Technologies team, as well as those who answer the help email, has made this much easier running my own server” he continued. “I have just enough skills to make the right file transfers, and with Jetstream, that’s all I need.”

Contact Jetstream if you think your research or academic work could benefit from the resources provided by Jetstream.