Information for Students
The foundation courses Basics of Information Technology, Signals and Systems, and Digital Signal Processing and the courses Communications Engineering and Stochastic Signals provide a solid preparation for a successful completion of the coursework in the two majors Communications Technology and Communications Acoustics. Algorithms and digital signal processing play an important role in many areas of man-machine communication in particular in connection with virtual environments, acoustic scene analysis and quality assessment.
The main course of study devotes special attention to topics such as Speech Communication and Auditory Acoustics. A set of wide ranging subjects is covered, dealing with physical and physiological principles, algorithms of signal processing as well as statistical procedures.
Additionally, the Institute of Communications Acoustics offers student research projects, Bachelor theses, Master theses and Diploma theses, which allow students to pursue special topics in the area in more depth and with an appropriate scientific rigor.
The training provided by the Institute lays the foundation for a variety of career opportunities in the areas of information technology and technical acoustics. Possible fields of employment for engineers with knowledge in speech and auditory signal processing and in acoustics are (amongst others):
- Communications engineering, mobile communications (GSM, UTMS),
and digital broadcasting
- Hearing aids and hearing instruments
- Audio technology for professional and non-professional applications
- Speech signal transmission (telecommunications/Voice-over-IP)
- Quality measurement and assessment
- Biomedical engineering
- Speech technology (Spoken dialog systems)
- Virtual environments and telepresence
- Audiology and medical technology
- Automotive technology
- Noise control
- Machine acoustics
- Musical instrument design and production
- Room and architectural acoustics
- Vibration technology
Access to the physical aspects of acoustical phenomena is somewhat simplified for students of electrical engineering because the mathematical models of electromagnetic oscillation processes are very similar to the ones for acoustical and mechanical oscillation processes. Simple acoustical and mechanical systems can be treated as electrical networks by using electroacoustical and electromechanical analogies. In this way, not only electroacoustical components (such as microphones, loudspeakers, headphones) but also non-technical systems such as the human speech-production system or the human ear can be modeled more easily. The precision of the network analogies, however, is often limited and frequently not sufficient for sophisticated technical applications which require a very accurate modeling of the underlying physical processes. This can be achieved by more general numerical procedures like the Finite-Element-Method. Mastering such methods offers access to a variety of diverse fields of activity in which general physical-technical systems have to be simulated (e.g. vibration technology, electroacoustics, automotive acoustics).
Electrical engineers are oftentimes unaccustomed to the special research methods of psychoacoustics, i.e. the study of human behavior during the perception and generation of acoustic signals. These methods are partly rooted in psychology and sociology. It is important to keep in mind that with most IT systems it is people who act as information sources and/or information sinks. In dealing with the delivery, perception and processing of this information it is therefore indispensible to consider human idiosyncrasies, especially in the configuration of man-machine interfaces for example.