A Day in the Life: Winning Abbey Road's Hackathon

Four MIP-Frontiers fellows won the Abbey Road's Hackathon with the Rapple - virtual rap-battle opponent.

Posted by Alejandro Delgado on November 27, 2018 · 1 min read

On November 10th this year, Abbey Road Studios held its first hackathon in Studio 1, birthplace of iconic soundtracks like ‘The Lord of The Rings’ and ‘Star Wars’. There, about 100 participants were set to create the next revolutionary tool for music production in 24 hours. Or, at least, some amusing prototypes.

MIP-Frontiers fellows Kilian, Giorgia, Ondřej (Télécom) and Alejandro (Roli) joined Tim Kirby (QMUL) and Diego Di Carlo (Univ Rennes) to work on the rudest, wittiest, and most destructive AI rap battle opponent: Rapple. For that, we got a chatbot code, speech-to-text and text-to-speech software, and a beat alignment algorithm to allow Rapple deliver punchlines with ‘flow’.

In the end, we came up with a working prototype by 3 am, and things got experimental from then on. What if we get a vocoder for Rapple?, Tim proposed, who actually went back home to get his. Is there a sweet spot to get the rudest punchlines?… All in all, we spent the rest of the night seasoning Rapple and getting people around to have a laugh with it.

After an engaging round of presentations for all projects (Kilian nailed it battling with Rapple in ours), the winners were announced next afternoon and Team Rapple came first! We got the main prize, handed by Microsoft, for the best use of AI. And so, after a pair of interviews and some celebration pints, we all went back to work on our Ph.D. projects. So long, Abbey Road Studios!