Pianist and engineer (operations research), Elaine Chew gave the premiere of a new work for piano by Rodney Waschka called A Simple Gift for Elaine. At the request of Dr. Chew, Waschka composed the piano piece based on the Shaker tune, "Simple Gifts" by Joseph Brackett.
Waschka used a genetic algorithm that he designed and coded to help him compose the new piece using the Brackett tune as part of the initial population.
Prof. Chew, who teaches at the University of Southern California, presented the premiere performance at North Carolina State University on March 24, 2008 as part of the Arts NOW Series. On May 12, 2008, she performed A Simple Gift for Elaine at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). A review of that concert by Larry Hardesty appears in the September/October 2008 issue of Technology Review magazine. Read the review here.