AES Section Meeting Reports

Portugal - July 26, 2016

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The Portuguese Section of the Audio Engineering Society (PSAES) held its 18th meeting on July 26 2016 at the University of Coimbra. It was a special meeting in that it had a specific purpose in mind: to review the history of the PSAES during the last 16 years of its existence, and to think on creative and sustained ways to consolidate the PSAES, namely by motivating more members, students being at the forefront of PSAES concerns, and by rethinking the PSAES activities, meeting formats, and communication strategies. It was attended by 10 members as the photo taken at the entrance of the ECE Dept. of the University of Coimbra illustrates.

A program of 'briefs' was prepared to motivate the discussion. Aníbal Ferreira addressed a look back and a look forward into the PSAES. Information was given on all 17 meetings that took place since its creation in 2001. All meetings were formally organized on the basis of an open program of communications and a meeting restricted to AES members. Some of these meetings included special invited communications, student contests and even visits to audio-related organizations and facilities such as the Portuguese Public Radio and Television stations. However, not all of the meetings had an output report, except for a photo, as the one dated from 2014 in this 'news from the section' documents. A discussion was motivated on the reasons why the PSAES activity has been sustained (maybe surprisingly) with at least one meeting per year, and on what new initiatives should be taken so that the activity may continue for the next 10 years. One of the key ideas was long thought of and was reinforced during an AES Sections Meeting attended by two PSAES members during the 140th AES Convention in Paris and which also included a personal conversation with Liz Teutsch, the AES VP for the Southern Region in Europe: to stimulate student interest and engage them in AES-related activities. The message we brought from Paris was: «don't wait for things to happen, make them happen». An initiative on this is already underway at the University of Porto headed by Aníbal Ferreira and Diamantino Freitas, a long-standing AES Member who has also volunteered to organize the next PSAES meeting in Porto by February 2017, and to continue this discussion.

Fernando Perdigão, our diligent and kind host at the University of Coimbra, gave a perspective on recent audio and speech-related activities at the EEC Dept. of the University of Coimbra. The objectives and main outcomes of several projects were presented that addressed audio quality control in media streams, the automatic assessment of the reading ability of children, speech synthesis and speech search using phonetic recognizers.

Nuno Fonseca, the most active PSAES member in recent AES events and successful entrepreneur in immersive sound design, has addressed the suitability of framing iOS programming in academic teaching and projects. Several pros and cons have been addressed, and defended that this makes perfect sense for example in music technologies-oriented university programs, as long as some introductory programming templates are readily available to students so that the learning curve becomes feasible in the time span of a semester.

Salviano Soares has addressed the potential of the Arduino platform in teaching and creating real-time audio signal processing algorithms. Important special features and advantages were highlighted including open source code, convenient Matlab and Raspberry interfaces. Several illustrative realizations were shown that represent convincing evidence on the suitability of the platform for learning, teaching, development and research, which also means ability to foster student interest and enthusiasm.

A final wrap-up discussion has concluded that possible ideas shaping and consolidating the PSAES activities include the motivation of students on the basis of project ideas combining audio, video and artistic realization, project ideas that involve companies, organizations and cultural entities (for example the famous ´Casa da Musica' -Music House, in Porto, Portugal) and that give public visibility, and project ideas that create conditions for very relevant scientific events to be hosted in Portugal such as DAFx in 2018, and hopefully AES audio forensics in 2019.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society