Published: 09 December 2014

Machine listening expert joins CVSSP

Professor Mark Plumbley, soon to join Surrey’s Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing (CVSSP), has been named an IEEE Fellow.

Formerly Director of the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary University of London, Professor Plumbley will join CVSSP within the Department of Electronic Engineering at the University of Surrey in January 2015.

The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) has named him a 2015 Fellow in recognition of his contributions to latent variable analysis – the analysis and separation of mixtures of signals to find their hidden (latent) variables – placing him in an elite group of engineers whose work has created real impact in their field. The world’s leading professional association for advancing technology for humanity, with 400,000 members in 160 countries, the IEEE bestows the honour of Fellow on less than 0.1 per cent of its members annually.

Professor Plumbley’s research focuses on the analysis and processing of audio and music using a wide range of signal processing techniques, including independent component analysis (ICA) and sparse representation.

He has led numerous high profile research projects including a £1.4 million EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) Leadership Fellowship and two £1 million EPSRC Platform Grants. He has also been instrumental in building sustainable software for audio and music research through the EPSRC-funded SoundSoftware project, which included ‘bootcamps’ to train researchers in the principles of reproducible research.

Professor Plumbley’s expertise in machine listening – technology that makes sense of sounds – will further strengthen CVSSP’s knowledge in this field. He aims to broaden the areas where the technology is used, exploring new directions such as security, assisted living and environmental monitoring. Among the projects he will be leading at Surrey are a new EPSRC project on ‘Musical Audio Repurposing using Source Separation’, and two valuable EU Training Network projects.

He will also nurture the next generation of signal processing engineers, teaching modules on audio and digital signal processing as well as contributing to a module on ‘Mediacasting’.

Professor Plumbley said, “I was attracted to Surrey by both its research and teaching reputation, and by the possibilities for new contributions I could make. The world-leading CVSSP is an ideal fit to my future research plans in ‘machine listening’, building computer algorithms to make sense of sounds, including both sound and vision (so-called ‘audiovisual’) signals.”

He is keen to explore opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration at Surrey, and looks forward to working with the Institute of Sound Recording (IoSR).

He added, “There are also opportunities to collaborate with the University’s Digital World Research Centre and the Surrey Business School in the increasingly important Digital Economy area, examining how digital technology changes the way people and businesses do things.”


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