Kyma is a software language and dedicated hardware unit designed for generating sound and music in realtime. It was created in 1989 by Carla Scaletti and Kurt Hebel building on research they conducted at the Computer-based Education Research Laboratory of the University of Illinois in the late 80s.
The Kyma sound design language and its custom built hardware, was one of the earliest commercially available examples of a graphical signal flow language for real time digital audio signal processing.
Symbolic Sound, the small company of three employees they formed to develop, manufacture and market Kyma, is based in Champaign, Illinois.
As of 2013, the Kyma environment continues to develop and evolve with regular updates from Kurt and Carla and a small but dedicated community of users. It now runs on several generations of custom designed DSP hardware units. The latest hardware, the “Pacarana”, is a state-of-the-art parallel processing architecture dedicated to high quality computation of digital sound in realtime. Kyma can run across multiple Pacarana units, allowing for the possibility of creating a supercomputer for sound.
Kyma is being used in sound design for music, education, film, dance, speech and hearing research, computer games and many more fields of professional performance, artistic and academic research.
Some notable users of the Kyma system; Ben Burtt (sound designer of Wall-E, Star Wars) John-Paul Jones (Composer, formerly of Led Zeppelin) Bruno Liberda (Composer) Cristian Vogel (Composer, producer) Brian Transeau (Composer, producer) Steve Everett (Professor of Music, MARC Emory University).