Past News

Past news

POTION: Perceptual optimization of time-frequency audio representations and coding

Principal investigators: Thibaud Necciari, Piotr Majdak
Co-applicants: Bernhard Laback, Peter Balazs
Collaborators: Olivier Derrien, Richard Kronland-Martinet, Sølvi Ystad (Laboratoire de Mécanique et d'Acoustique, CNRS, France).

Tentative start of the Austrian project part: 1st March 2014

Project goals: The fundamental research in POTION aims at developing new methods for the representation and interpretation of audio signals. More specifically, we propose the development of an efficient, perfectly invertible, possibly non-redundant, and perceptually optimized time-frequency representation, i.e., which displays only the audible components of sound signals. To our knowledge, such a representation is not available. The originality of POTION lies in the consideration of the mathematical theory of time-frequency representations and its application to signal processing, and psychoacoustical data on auditory time-frequency masking. The technical objective of POTION is to develop a new perceptual audio codec based on the combination of new results on non-stationary time-frequency transforms and on time-frequency masking. This codec will constitute the “end-product” of the project. While current audio codecs are mainly based on a frequency approach, the codec created in POTION will consider a joint time-frequency approach. It is therefore expected to produce higher compression ratios than current codecs at the same perceived audio quality.

Der Artikel "Gaussion closure technique applied to the hysteretic Bouc model with non-zero mean white noise excitation" von Holger Waubke und Christian Kasess wurde im renommierten Journal of Sound and Vibration veröffentlicht.


BE-SyMPHONic: French-Austrian joint project granted by ANR and FWF

Principal investigators: Basilio Calderone, Wolfgang U. Dressler
Co-applicants: Hélène Giraudo, Sylvia Moosmüller

Start of the project: 13th January 2014

Executive Summary of the proposal


Language sounds are realized in several different ways. Every language exploits no more than a sub-set of the sounds that the vocal tract can produce, as well as a reduced number of their possible combinations. The restrictions and the phonemic combinations allowed in the language define a branch of phonology so-called phonotactics. 

Phonotactics refers to the sequential arrangement of phonemic segments in morphemes, syllables, and words (Harris 1955) and underlies a wide range of phonological issues, from acceptability judgments (pseudowords like <poiture> in French or <Traus> in German are phonotactically plausible) to syllable processes (the syllabic structure in a given language is based on the phonotactic permission in that language) and the nature and length of possible consonant clusters (that may be seen as intrinsically marked structures with respect to the basic CV template). Exploring the psycho-computational representation of the phonotactics in French and German is the aim of this research project. 

In particular, our research will focus on the interplay between phonotactics and word structure in French and German, and investigate in particular the behavioural and computational representations of phonotactic vs. morphonotactic clusters. 

As a matter of fact, the basic hypothesis underlying this research project is that there exist different cognitive and computational representations for the same consonant cluster according to its phonotactic setting. In particular, the occurrence of a cluster across a morpheme boundary (morphonotactic cluster) is considered as particularly interesting, for the following reasons. 

Our research will focus on the interplay between phonotactics and morphology and investigate the behavioural and computational representations of consonant clusters according to whether they are: a) exclusively phonotactic clusters, i.e. the consonant cluster occurs only without morpheme boundaries (e.g. Stein in German); b) exclusively morphonotactic clusters, i.e. the consonant cluster occurs only beyond morpheme boundaries (e.g. lach+st), c) both are true with one of the two being more or less dominant (e.g. dominant lob+st vs. Obst[1]. Thus we test the existence of different ‘cognitive and computational representations’ and processes for the same and for similar consonant clusters according to their appurtenance to a) or b) or c). 

The central hypothesis which we test is that speakers not only reactively exploit the potential boundary signaling function of clusters that result from morphological operations, but take active measures to maintain or even enhance this functionality, for example by treating morphologically produced clusters differently than morpheme internal clusters in production or language acquisition. We call this hypothesis, the ‘Strong Morphonotactic Hypothesis’ (henceforth: SMH) (Dressler & Dziubalska-Koɫaczyk 2006, Dressler, Dziubalska-Koɫaczyk & Pestal 2010). 

In particular, we suppose that sequences of phonemes exhibiting morpheme boundaries (the ‘morphonotactic clusters’) should provide the speakers with functional evidence about the morphological operation occurred in that sequence; such evidence should be absent in the case of a sequence of phonemes without morpheme boundaries (the ‘phonotactic clusters’).

Hence our idea is to investigate the psycho-computational mechanisms underlying the phonotactic-morphonotactic distinction by approaching the problem from two angles simultaneously: (a) psycholinguistic experimental study of language acquisition and production and (b) language computational modelling. 

We aim therefore at providing, on one hand, the psycholinguistic and behavioural support to the hypothesis that morphologically produced clusters are treated differently than morpheme internal clusters in French and German; on the other, we will focus on the distributional and statistical properties of the language in order to verify whether such difference in clusters’ treatment can be inductively modelled by appealing to distributional regularities of the language. 

The competences of the two research teams overlap and complement each other. The French team will lead in modelling, computational simulation and psycholinguistic experiments, the Austrian team in first language acquisition, phonetic production and microdiachronic change. These synergies are expected to enrich each group in innovative ways.

[1] An equivalent example for French language is given by a) prise (/priz/ ‘grip’, exclusively phonotactic cluster), b) affiche+ rai (/afiʃʁɛ/ ‘I (will) post’, exclusively morphonotactic cluster) and c) navigue+ rai (/naviɡʁɛ/ ‘I (will) sail’) vs. engrais (/ãɡʁɛ/ ‘fertilizer’), the both conditions are true with morphonotactic condition as dominant.




UNIVERSUM-Redakteurin Marlene Erhart widmet sich in ihrem Artikel dem Institut für Schallforschung und seinem breiten Forschungsfeld. Sie erhiet für diesen äußerst lesenswerten Artikel der Sommerausgabe des Universums Magazins den Förderpreis des heurigen Staatspreises für Wissenschaftpublizistik. Wir freuen uns und gratulieren ihr.


In June this year the conference Strobl16 took place again in Strobl at the Wolfgangsee. The international scientific conference was held there the 7th time, initiated by SAMPTA03. It was organized by the University of Vienna, the University of California and for the first time also by the Acoustics Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Science.

The choice of the invited plenary speakers, internationally renowned experts in the area of time-frequency analysis, was again important for the success of the conference. It promoted the communication with promising young scientists, and by design allowed taking enough time for discussion.

The Acoustics Research Institute is looking forward to co-organize the next conference in the year of 2018.

Numerical Harmonic Analysis Group


for the project „Objective Measures in Speech Production and Realistic Sound Perception“ by the New Frontiers Research Infrastructure Programme (NFRI) 2015 of the ÖAW. 

Unter dem Motto „Lärm ist unerhört“ öffnete am 27.4.2016 das Institut für Schallforschung der ÖAW anlässlich des "19. Internationalen Tags gegen Lärm" seine Türen. In Kooperation mit dem Institut für Verkehrswissenschaften der TU Wien sowie dem Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft, Umwelt und Wasserwirtschaft und dem Umweltbundesamt veranstaltete das Institut einen abwechslungsreichen und informativen Aktionstag zum Thema Lärm und Hören.

In zahlreichen Stationen wurde das Thema Lärm – seine Ausbreitung, Entstehung, Wahrnehmung und Reduktion – präsentiert. Die Gefährdung durch fremde Einflüsse wie Verkehrslärm oder selbstproduzierte Geräuschkulissen durch Sprache und Musik wurden ebenso thematisiert wie auch die Problematik halliger Räume und mögliche Verbesserungen. Spezielle Stationen erläuterten die Auswirkungen von Beeinträchtigungen des Gehörs, die subjektiven Bewertungen von Lärmreduktionsmaßnahmen sowie die Funktionsweise passiver oder aktiver Lärmschutzelemente.

Durch den Besuch mehrerer Schulklassen konnte auch dem jüngeren Publikum das Thema anhand von computerunterstützten Simulationen, Hörbeispielen und Animationen anschaulich näher gebracht werden.



In der Web Reihe "Institute und Forschung" der ÖAW wird über das Projekt LARS und seinem Leiter Christian Kasess berichtet. Lesen hier nach wie der bildlich gesprochene Spagat gelingen soll, die Rumpelstreifen auf Österreichs Straßen derart zu verändern, dass die warnende Wirkung für den Fahrer durch Vibrationen beibehalten wird, sich jedoch Anrainer nicht über den Lärm dabei ärgern.

Am 30.Juli kamen 14 SchülerInnen im Rahmen ihres Talente-Praktikums am Institut für Mathematik der Universität Wien für einen Vormittag ans Institut für Schallforschung.

Mit Präsentationen und einer Führung durch das Labor wurde den Jugendlichen das Forschungsgebiet der Mathematik am Institut für Schallforschung näher gebracht.