The Arts and the Algorithm: An Amalgamation

Algorithmic Arts Workshop

Jan. 11-12, 2022, 1:00-4:30pm (EST), via Zoom

Cosponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and hosted by the College of Charleston.

What & Why

This two-day workshop, as part of an envisioned series, assembled a diverse group of Algorithmic Arts (AlgoArts) educators and practitioners to explore, discuss, and propagate successes in broadening public participation in computing in the arts. Workshop attendees focused on:

  • identify promising strategies for integrating the arts with computer science education, by fostering a robust dialogue among educators, practitioners, and researchers working in this shared space; and
  • create a community of experts who can develop recommendations for curricular guidelines and pedagogical practices, public policy and funder actions, and for research to advance this growing field of inter- and trans-disciplinary practice.

Algorithms have existed for at least 2,000 years (e.g., Euclid’s algorithm).  In music and art, algorithms appear as early as Guido d’Arezzo (ca. 1000 A.D.), and in compositions of Bach, Mozart, John Cage, and Iannis Xenakis, as well as in the visual works of MC Escher, Vera Molnár, and Ernest Edmonds, among others.  Building on this historical momentum, the workshop will examine the potential for bringing greater amalgamation or synthesis of (a) the creativity and design of the arts, with (b) the mathematical rigor and formality of computer science, technology, and engineering.


The workshop was held on Jan. 11 and 12, 2022, via Zoom, lasting three-and-a-half hours on each day. It included:

  • two keynote speakers — one from Computer Science & Engineering, and one from the Arts;
  • eight prominent AlgoArts practitioners and educators who discussed their work and observations;
  • a community town-hall meeting, where audience members raised important points about the synthesis of the arts and algorithms, and
  • a panel featuring NSF and NEA staff, with program directors from these two federal agencies interacting with the other participants and offering a broad perspective on the future of funding and public policy in the field of Algorithmic Arts.

Funded in part by NSF (#2139786 – Computing in the Arts – The Algorithm is the Medium) with cosponsorship from the NEA.