The NESS Project: Large Scale Physical Modeling Sound Synthesis

Date: 14 May 2015
Time: 18:30

Location: Reid Concert Hall, Edinburgh
Bristo Square

Lecture by Stefan Bilbao and Colleagues from the Acoustics and Audio Group at Edinburgh University

The NESS project, funded by the European Research Council, is running jointly between the Acoustics and Audio Group and the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre at the University of Edinburgh between 2012 and 2017. It is concerned with physical modelling sound synthesis on a large scale, using classical time stepping methods for what ultimately become very large problems in simulation. Particular systems under study include brass instruments, percussion instruments, and stringed instruments such as violins and guitars; another important area is the modelling of 3D spaces, for purposes of both room reverberation modelling, and in order to embed such instruments in a fully spatialized virtual environment. The goals of here are multifold: to increase synthetic sound quality, to offer simplified user control, and to allow flexible new instrument design exploration while retaining sound output with an acoustic character. In spirit, such an approach is analogous to similar developments in computer graphics, but in more technical regards, however, it presents distinct challenges. One centres around adapting numerical designs to the constraints of human audio perception, in order to avoid audible artefacts; another major challenge, due to relatively high audio sample rates, is that of computational cost, particularly for systems in 3D, and in this regard, fast implementations in multicore and on GPU are under development. Sound examples and video demonstrations will be presented.

Stefan Bilbao (B.A., Physics, Harvard, 1992, MSc., PhD., Electrical Engineering, Stanford, 1996 and 2001, respectively) is currently a Reader in the Acoustics and Audio Group at the University of Edinburgh. His main research interest is in the development of numerical methods for physical modeling sound synthesis. ​

Other presenters include: Charlotte Desvages, Paul Graham, Alan Gray, Brian Hamilton, Reg Harrison, Kostas Kavoussanakis, James Perry and Alberto Torin.