Scalable Room Acoustic Modelling (SCReAM)

Conduct research into the future of room acoustic modelling for applications in immersive media, computer games, architectural acoustics and consumer electronics.

Start date
20 September 2021
Duration
36 months
Application deadline
Funding information

Full tuition fees and stipend at the UKRI rate, currently £15,609 for 2021/22.

Funding for this project is available to citizens of all countries worldwide..

About

The project

We spend most of our lives indoors. Within enclosed spaces, sound is reflected numerous times, leading to reverberation. We are accustomed to perceiving reverberation-we unconsciously use it to navigate the space, and, when absent, we notice. Similarly, our electronic devices, such as laptops, TVs or smart home devices, are exposed to reverberation and need to take into account its presence. Being able to predict, synthesise, and control reverberation is therefore important. This is done using room acoustic models. 

Existing room acoustic models suffer from two main limitations. First, they were originally developed from very different starting points and for very different purposes, which has led to a highly fragmented research field where advancements in one area do not translate to advancements in other areas, slowing down research. Second, each model has a specific accuracy and a specific computational complexity, with some very accurate models taking several days to run (physical models), while others run in real-time but with low accuracy and only aim to create a pleasing reverberant sound (perceptual models). Thus, there is no single model that allows to scale continuously from one extreme to the other. 

This project will overcome both limitations by defining novel, unifying room acoustic models that combine appealing properties of all main types of models and that can scale on demand from a lightweight perceptual model to a full-scale physical model. Such SCalable Room Acoustic Models (SCReAM) will bring benefits in many applications, ranging from consumer electronics and communications, to computer games, immersive media, and architectural acoustics. The models will be able to adapt in real time, enabling end-users to get the best possible auditory experience allowed by the available computing resources. Audio software developers will not need to update their development chains once more powerful machines become available, thus reducing costs. Electronic equipment, such as hands-free devices, smart loudspeakers, and sound reinforcement systems, will be able to build a more flexible internal representation of room acoustics, allowing them to reduce unwanted echoes, to remove acoustic feedback, and/or to improve the tonal balance of reproduced sound.

Audio Research at Surrey

The Institute of Sound Recording (IoSR) is a leading centre for research in psychoacoustic engineering, with world-class facilities and significant funding from research councils and industry. Our work combines elements of acoustics, digital signal processing, psychoacoustics (theoretical and experimental), psychology, sound synthesis, software engineering, statistical analysis and user-interface design, with an understanding of the aesthetics of sound and music.

Our world-class facilities include industry-specification sound-recording studios and edit suites, and an ITU-R BS.1116 standard critical listening room equipped with a 22.2-channel reproduction system.

The IoSR is also home to the Tonmeister degree in Music and Sound Recording, which produced a stream of highly successful graduates, including three Oscar winners, seven Grammy winners, and twelve BAFTA winners.

Studentship

The project is sponsored by EPSRC and the University of Surrey’s Doctoral College, and funding is provided for 36 months full-time study commencing in September 2021 or shortly thereafter.

The University of Surrey is committed to recruiting and supporting talented doctoral researchers to underpin its ambitious research strategy. You will be joining our world-class, research-led University at an exciting time. Through the Doctoral College we offer an outstanding research environment with a supportive community that connects supervisors, doctoral researchers, and research support staff across all three of the university’s faculties. You will have access to invaluable training throughout your doctorate and we will support you to achieve your personal career aspirations. The University of Surrey values diversity and is committed to providing an inclusive environment for staff, students and visitors.

Related links
Scream project EPSRC Supervisor : Enzo De Sena IoSR Research

Eligibility criteria

Candidates will have a strong interest in audio and demonstrate a high level of academic achievement in relevant subject areas and a clear aptitude for research. We will need to be happy that the candidate has the necessary background subject knowledge and the necessary research skills to begin the doctoral training.

Candidates will ideally have a Masters in a relevant discipline and will definitely have a 1st or 2:1 Bachelors degree (or equivalent). Candidates should be will be able to demonstrate excellent mathematical, analytical and computer programming skills. Advantage will be given to applicants with experience in one or more of: mathematics, programming, acoustics, psychoacoustics, signal processing, statistical analysis. Furthermore, cnadidates will have excellent research skills evidenced by a significant Bachelors/Masters research project, involving experimental research, appropriate use of the literature and/or computer-based simulations, and a formal dissertation-style report.

The ideal candidate will be enthusiastic and happy to work in a team including colleagues from the industry at Electronic Arts, Sonos, and others.

IELTS requirements: IELTS 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with no sub-test of less than 6. 

UK, EU or overseas students are welcome to apply. 

How to apply

Applications should be made online via the Sound Recording PhD programme page. Please mark clearly on your application that you wish to apply for the “SCReAM Project” position.

The deadline to apply for this position is Friday 11th of June 2021. Please notice that the deadline/s stated on the website refer to general admission to our programme and should therefore be ignored.

Interviews will be carried out shortly thereafter.

Please use your research statement to explain how your skills meet the person specification outlined above. Once you have successfully submitted an application form, please contact Dr Enzo De Sena so that we can review your application in a timely manner.

Informal enquiries are welcome and should be made to Dr Enzo De Sena.


Application deadline

Contact details

Enzo De Sena
07 BC 03
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 686505
E-mail: e.desena@surrey.ac.uk
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